10 Questions with ... B.J. Kinard
November 19, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Here's the last 17+ years. 1996: Athens, GA at WPUP. It's where I met Chris Williams. I couldn't think of a better place to start my career. Before we got bought out, it was an amazing place to work. It's the benchmark for how I want my station culture to be. Then Augusta to WRXR for 2 months...really, they flipped format 2 months after I got there and we were all let go. Next up, Lexington, KY at WXZZ for a handful of years as MD and then PD. Savannah/Hilton Head WFXH for about 4 years as PD and Assistant Operations manager for our 6 station cluster. I left there and went to Atlanta to work with Chris Williams again at 105.3 The Buzz. I was the Promotions Manager. I did some contract work after that and then became the PD for 99X. It was online only when I took over and then we were able to put it on a translator and get back out there to the masses. My wife got a job offer to come here and since she had moved and moved and moved for me, I moved for her. Best decision we ever made. I'm PD of 2 great stations and talent coach for our cluster.
1. I can't believe it has been over three years since you left 99X in Atlanta for family reasons to relocate to Myrtle Beach. What led you to WKZQ?
They called me as soon as it was announced that I was leaving and heading here. They didn't know if I want to do radio here, but if I did, they wanted to be the first that I talked to. The rest is history.
2. What do you love most about your job?
The freedom. It's just Mase and I making the decisions we think are best for the station and the audience. I don't have someone looking over my shoulder at every turn. That also means, we have to be pretty spot on because I don't get to say, so and so told me to do it. We also have fun here every day.
3. What was the biggest change you've made to WKZQ since taking over as PD?
The station was Active leaning when I got here. We moved it to a straight forward Alternative. That was a good day for Mase too. Not that he doesn't love Volbeat...but he doesn't love Volbeat. The station has great balance too. We aren't too far to the right on weirder Alt or too far left with more Active. I also added in a healthy dose of gold to age the station up.
4. Tell us about relaunching the station's website?
It's still not where I want it, that's about to change too. We are going to revamp them in a month or so. When we relaunched the site, we had ease in mind. I wanted it easy for listeners to access the info they wanted. We got close with what's up now, but will be right on with the new relaunch. Thanks to Facebook and other sites, I think your site has to be front-page heavy with your info. Everyone is used to scrolling down these days. They click too, but if you can get more stories in front of them without them having to go to another spot, they'll spend more time with the site.
5. How do you manage your time programming WKZQ and Star 92.1?
You have to surround yourself with people that can help you get the job done. Mase is my right hand for KZQ and is great. He schedules the music and handles imaging. He also handles the bulk of talking to labels. That leaves me to focus on the rest of the station and my midday air shift. I have Bill Catcher to be my right hand for Star. I make all the music choices with our consultant, Mark St. John, and Bill schedules. He's super meticulous, so nothing gets by him and that's a huge help too. The labels never seemed too focused on Star, so I don't have to juggle the calls, since they don't really come in.
6. Describe your weekly music meeting with Mase. What is the process?
We chat tunes about every day. "Hey, have you heard..." type of stuff. When we sit down to do adds, we pull up Mediabase and just see what's shakin' on the chart. We'll click on songs far down the list if we haven't heard it. We look and see which songs are a fit and what aren't. Mase and I are a great fit for each other too. He's more the indie guy and I'm more the mass appeal guy. That makes for a great music marriage.
7. Tell us about the sound of WKZQ and what works and what doesn't work?
If it sounds like it should start on a Pop station, we don't play it. That doesn't mean that we don't play records that cross over to pop. If it has the sound out of the gate, we usually aren't there for that record. We don't play Lorde. I loved that song from the first time I heard it and thought I couldn't wait to play it...on Star. She sings about Cristal, gold teeth and Maybachs...what's alternative about that? We banged Said the Whale "I Love You." We both thought it had a great fun feel that we could own. It was a great requester for us too. We played "Safe And Sound" from Capital Cities for a minute but never really thought it belonged. It felt too poppy. We had already stopped playing it when it went #1. It's in power right now on Star. Don't get me wrong, we play hits, but we want to have our own identity too. Tame Impala was a song Mase brought to the meeting really early. It had a super cool feel to it. I didn't think it would go very far on the chart, but we thought we should play it so we did. I'm glad the chart proved me wrong. There should be more things like it on there.
8. What makes WKZQ unique? How does it compare to the other Alternative stations you've worked at?
We have fun here. We take that fun and put it into everything we do on the air...from breaks to imaging to promotions to titles of contests and shows. If we aren't enjoying what we do, the listeners won't enjoy it either. This shouldn't seem ground breaking, everyone should do this, but I hear so many stations (no matter the format) that are just going through the motions. I've worked for corporate stations too where you don't have as much freedom. It is kind of a bummer when you are on a conference call and you hear corporate tell a PD that you are adding a record and the PD replies, "I've haven't heard it, but I'm sure it's fine." That being said, one of the best experiences of my radio career was working at Clear Channel with Chris Williams and the amazing crew at 105.3 The Buzz in Atlanta. We had a blast at that station every day and it showed too. That station went on to take a bigger signal and became Project 96-1.
9. What do you like best about living in Myrtle Beach?
It's waaaaaay less stressful than living in Atlanta. Not just work, but way of life too. My kids have a great place to grow up. They get the ocean, all the fun touristy things (we have 14 million tourists a year) and the laid back vibe of a smaller city. Not that everyone here knows everyone, but....
10. You love music and classic cars. Give us a brief history of your car collection and what music has been coming out of your speakers lately in your Jeep Wrangler?
They are two of my favorite things. I've owned a lot of cars over the years. I've loved classic cars since I was a little kid. Maybe I got it from my dad. We always talked about getting a classic mustang and fixing it up. We never did, but when I had the means, I bought a 1964 1/2 Mustang (yes, there is a difference between that and a 65. Google it). I fixed it up and had it for a number of years, before I traded it in and paid up for my favorite car in the world...a 500hp Shelby Cobra...not a mustang...Google it too. If you want to go stupid fast and come close to dying, that's a great car for you. That car was amazing, but being involved with my kids here as much as I am here, I wasn't able to drive it much. It's a two seater and zero trunk space. So, I was livin' at the beach with a convertible sitting in the garage, so I decide to sell it for something I can use. I bought a 4 door Jeep Wrangler. I lifted it and put some 18's with 34 inch tires (I'm in South Carolina, you have to do it). I love it. I do have a 4 car garage, so it's always tempting to fill it with more cars : )
Tell us about how you became so passionate about Martial Arts and your Karate Kids?
When I was a kid I wanted to take karate, but for whatever reason, never could until I was about 12 or 13. I did it all the way through high school and loved it. Once I got out, I dabbled in other forms off and on over the years. My daughter took karate when we were in the ATL, but nothing too serious. When we got here, I found a great school and teacher. I asked the kids if they wanted to do this with me and they said yes. I'm not a parent who makes the kid do a sport because I loved it, but I am glad they wanted to do it.
My daughter is 10 and about to test for her black belt in a couple of months and my son is 6 and has a couple of more belts before his pee wee black belt. I help teach my son's intermediate class and my daughter's advance class 2 nights a week and do my adult class 2 other nights a week.
We also do Gracie Jiu Jitsu. I've really enjoyed learning that. My stand up fighting has always been pretty good, but now to have a great ground game too, it's fun. It's great having the kids involved so I can have some parent time outside of the house and it's something that's just for us. The amazing byproduct of this is I have confident kids with a great work ethic and discipline and when my daughter is ready to date...I won't have to worry as much. Will it be too much if I'm sharpening swords when the boy comes over to pick her up?