10 Questions with ... Troy Hanson
July 9, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Started as an intern/promo kid in my hometown at KQRS until my first on-air gig in Duluth, MN. That started 23 years of various Programming positions from on-air, MD & PD at KQDS/Duluth, WKQZ/Saginaw, WLZR/Milwaukee, KAZR/Des Moines, WRIF/Detroit, WZTA & WBGG/Miami, and WBUZ
1. Congrats on your recent contract extension at Cromwell Radio Group! Tell us about your role as OM of the cluster?
Thank you, always feels good to be wanted. The OM role is really made possible because of a really strong group of department heads that are really good at what they do. My role is to give them as much support, guidance, brainstorming, and a good dose of stay out of their way and let them do the job we hired them to do. In taking on that position several years ago, it introduced me to new formats, a different way of looking at the ins & outs of programming, the digital sphere, and a growth opportunity to go beyond just being a music guy as we have Urban Gospel & Sports in our cluster portfolio.
2. How do manage to squeeze in a midday shift on The Buzz too?
Admittedly it's becoming more and more tricky. Many impromptu meetings get held in the studio. With so much business getting done during that key timeframe I'm either in voice track mode in some hours to be a part of some meetings, or I am missing some meetings to be on the air. It's something we have discussed addressing when the time and budget are right, but both have to right for that to happen. I try to be live as much as possible during the midday but sometimes it just isn't possible. This is why it is so great to have such a strong Music Director in Zigz who is incredibly wired in on executing the day-to-day operations of The Buzz.
3. What do you love most about working for the company?
Really love working for a true original, a great broadcaster - Bayard "Bud" Walters. I've had more fun working in radio in the last 5 1/2 years here in Nashville then at any other point in my career. That is attributed to the style and manner in which Bud lets us operate. In turn, our Market Manager Tincy Crouse understands we are not in the insurance or funeral business, we are in the entertainment and advertising business - so let's keep it light and have some fun while we are working on hitting budget goals, accomplishing our clients focus needs, and fulfilling listener expectations with a strong experience in whatever way they are using our brands and platforms. It isn't always roses, we have our challenges and frustrations just like every other station, company or industry, but we are given unique opportunities to make great things happen for many - daily.
4. What led to The Buzz returning to Alternative?
I'm unable to comment on how the station executed it presentation before my time here, but I can on where we are at today. The state of rock music as a whole is what led to The Buzz grabbing a larger share of what the industry calls Alternative Rock. We in the music business tend to get hung up on terms or labels to help us identify something. I don't know what that term means myself; we just want to play rock music that allows a broad spectrum of listeners to cume the station. A good portion of that happens to becoming from the chart known as Alternative as evident by how much the CHR world is dipping into selected tracks by the likes of Imagine Dragons, Mumford, Muse, etc. We are careful to watch the pop quotient of this rock music so we can stay at the heart, the center of the station, which is still guitar-based in its very nature. I do think Active Rock made a misstep in the last 18-24 months getting caught up in a sound/image that began to pigeon hole many stations from being able to swing their pendulum to where rock music has been going with listeners for their respective taste changes. One need only look at Soundscan or Pollstar ticket sales to see where people are putting the bulk of their dollars - it's not with the polarizing.
5. How would you describe the music and imaging on The Buzz?
Imaging wise we took the RAWK/Metal Horns sound off The Buzz while bringing a bit more filtered, quick/punchy beat mix short form into play. We still have the great Malcolm Ryker as our voice guy and he's been accessible during this evolution the station has gone through over the course of the last year. The music better compliments this imaging as the music is more hit driven and palatable as opposed to the in your face Five Finger Death Punch sound. There is a place for that sound by the way, but the return on investment is a smaller pie than we were willing to accept.
6. Why does The Buzz use "Nashville's Rock Station" as its positioning statement?
We use Nashville's Rock Station as our position because that's what we are; we play rock music in this market for this market. We didn't change formats on WBUZ, we've evolved our sound to be a more cume friendly, mass appeal station by playing big hit rock records. We still play songs by bands we played a year ago - Seether, Three Days Grace, Shinedown, etc. - we just don't need to play 8 or 9 songs by those bands anymore, when we can play the best one, two, or three by said bands, while adding key rock titles by bands like Muse, The Black Keys, Imagine Dragons, etc. We are actually playing more bands and more genres of music than we did when we called ourselves Everything That Rocks, more inch deep mile wide. The key again is playing big songs of each genre to infuse a solid blend of rock. Essence management is still there in this day and age, but the way in which today's rock listeners consumes music is certainly with a wider lens then at any point in the history of oh my god is he still talking.....
7. What has been the biggest change at The Buzz since you started at the station in 2007?
That would be the adoption of Digital as a thought process and the tools that match it. Be it stronger, more content driven websites, streaming, exclusive video footage, Apps - all stuff we didn't have in 2007. That and translators, translators, translators.
8. What do you like best about living in Nashville?
Nashville is such a great place to live. The quality of life and the people living in it were everything I was looking for in marrying a market that had strong occupational opportunities, decent weather and music music. This is such a great town to be in if you are a fan of the music business. The biggest misconception about Nashville is that it is just a country town - so not true, country music business certainly gets done in this town, but music in general is what really gets done in this town.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _________?
10. What would surprise people most about you?
I'm rather shy. I know that sounds kinda silly coming from someone who is perceived to have a big personality, can be occasionally humorous, and attempts to show leadership whenever possible. However, when I'm in a room full of people I don't know, I tend to clam up.
What are your hobbies?
Hobbies include cooking, surfing, skydiving, and comedy - primarily stand up.
Last non-industry job?
Prep Cook at Oak Marsh Country Club in Oakdale, MN.
First record ever purchased?
Disco Mickey Mouse on vinyl. Side note, I remember trying to buy Twisted Sister's Stay Hungry on cassette during a shopping trip with my bible thumping Mom at the Signal Hills Shopping Mall in West Saint Paul, MN - she was horrified by the cover and wouldn't have it.
Bon Jovi & Cinderella at the Met Center in Bloomington, MN
Favorite band of all-time?
That's a tough one, my '80s were formed by Van Halen (both versions), the '90s were about Lenny Kravitz for me, as we moved to the 2000s I became obsessed with Radiohead AND The White Stripes. So I will settle it by saying The Doors.