10 Questions with ... Chris Singleton
February 18, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started in 2000 at Top 40 WYKS/Gainesville. 2001-2005 at Active Rock WRUF. 2005 Producer/Production Director for The Andy Thomas Radio Network in South Carolina. 2006-2008 at Cumulus in Blacksburg, VA, as a jock on WBRW 105.3 The Bear, and produced local talk shows on WWBU SuperTalk 101.7. 2008 at 850 WFTL, then I moved to California and spent four years on the beach, becoming a listener again.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
I grew up listening to Phil Hendrie, Randi Rhodes, and Neil Boortz, among others, when they were just local yokels in West Palm Beach, so I grew up listening to good talk and got hooked early. I remember the day when I was 13 and my Mom and I were driving through a neighborhood in the rich part of town, listening to another local show called Rick and Suds. One of them made a really funny fart joke, and then played a song called "Beer Is Good For You", and then my Mom pointed to a big brick house and said, "That's Suds' house." From that day on I knew that radio was what I wanted to do with my life, because I wanted to make fart jokes and live in a mansion. So far, the fart jokes have totally happened for me.
2. What led to KVXX flipping to Alternative a few months ago?
Huth Broadcasting purchased KCKS-FM and KEWE-AM in late 2012. At the time the stations were simulcasting Fox Sports and Giants Baseball. We tried to continue with the format, but it didn't work out, so we changed the AM to KNTF, News, Talk, and Financial, and started looking for a good format for the FM. With 18 radio stations flooding this small market, we were surprised to find any hole at all, but luckily for us, and for me (could've been a polka hole), there was a big Alternative gap in the market. So we changed the calls on KCKS to KVXX and ran with it.
3. How are you marketing the station?
We are doing as much cross-platform advertising as possible. We've teamed up with the local community paper, Chico News & Review, we have billboards up as of today (of course, they hung one upside down, morons), and we have TV spots scheduled to run in March. We are also flooding the town with as much swag as we possibly can.
4. What is the station's coverage area in Chico?
We are only 500 watts, but our stick is a few thousand feet up on a mountaintop, surrounded by hundreds of miles of the North Valley in all directions. We are able to cover from Yuba City, about 45 miles south, up to near Redding, and all the way out to the I-5 corridor to the west.
5. How does your station use social media to interact with listeners?
I turned our station's twitter feed into our live playlist. We now live-tweet the artist and song title of every song as it is played. This turned out to be one of the best things I've ever done, because I get instant feedback on the music, as far as listeners favoriting or re-tweeting different songs. It has also put my station into direct contact with the bands and their fans, because when a band out there sees our tweet that their song is playing, they will often re-tweet it to their followers. I guess the bands do still get excited that their song is playing on the radio.
6. How would you describe the music and imaging on Radio 101.7?
First and foremost, we don't brand ourselves "Alternative." Alternative listeners aren't alternative to the norm, they are the norm now. They have jobs and shop at the mall. So we don't tell them they are listening to alternative radio, they are just listening to the radio. It belongs to them now, they finally grew up, and this is the way the world sounds now.
7. What makes the station unique?
Our golds. I rely on them to keep us fresh and different. Our gold library is full of those songs that people who actually bought the album back in the '90s wanted to hear on the radio, but never did.
8. Give us a little background on Huth-Sierra Broadcasting?
Tom Huth was in radio sales in Los Angeles with my GM John Squyres, and a little over 10 years ago when Tom got tired of the corporate radio culture he moved to NorCal and bought KMYC, a regional AM in Marysville, CA. Now Tom owns close to 20 licenses up here and is always looking to grow. There are clusters here in Chico, Susanville, and Red Bluff. This is my first programming gig, but I've sat in on some corporate conference calls in the past and seen what it's like to deal with a corporate PD telling you what the people in your town like, and the 12 other local programmers on the call who constantly say "yes, sir." That's not what we do here.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _________?
Spilling some coffee on myself. Every day.
10. What would surprise people most about you?
That when I started this job the entire cluster was in boxes in the lobby of our new building, and no employees but me. I became the engineer, and I had to dive in and learn how to build a radio station, quite literally, from scratch. I soldered almost every wire, connected all of the computers, the BT switchers, the STLs, Satellite receivers, relays, the EAS, programmed all of the content, built all of the log shells, and produced all of the imaging. I am even the voice guy. That includes 2 FMs and a fully automated AM. I can be a one-man radio station creation machine if I need to, and I can learn how to do anything.
What are your hobbies?
Karaoke, Frisbee Golf, Real Golf, Indoor Soccer (keeper), Gardening, and finding new and interesting combinations of meat and potatoes.
Last non-industry job?
I owned a non-profit delivery service in San Jose, CA for three years before I started KVXX.
First record ever purchased?
I don't remember exactly the first record I got for my Sony Walkman, if I had to guess I would say something by the California Raisins. But, I do know that when I got my first Sony Discman, the first CD I bought was "Ten" by Pearl Jam, which I already had on tape.
The first concert I ever went to was Spinal Tap opening for Michael Bolton at a charity event in Ft. Lauderdale.
Favorite band of all-time?
There are some bands whose music I like better, but Slayer is my most respected band. Most bands put out one or two kick-ass albums, then get paid and get comfortable, and "evolve" into something lame, something without the drive that made them good. If you listen to Slayer's first album, and their most recent album, you will hear the same band playing the same hard ass music. They never let money or fame or comfort change the way they rock. Also, 311, Pantera, Cake, Rage, Pearl Jam, STP, Incubus, and Queens Of The Stone Age.