10 Questions with ... Rob Cressman
July 29, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
WFVA-A/F, WBQB, WJMA-A-F, WAVF, WMFS, WAQY/WLZX, and WFBQ/WRZX (now WOLT) /WNDE.
1. After 12 years as X103, what led to the station rebranding as Alt 103-3?
The X103 era produced colossal brand equity. The audience's expectation centered around some of the most aggressive sound profiles in the rock genre. Though the station's music recipe became much more Alternative in 2011, X103 perceptions remained aligned with Heavy Metal and Active Rock. In the current cycle, Mainstream Alternative music presents a much higher quotient of appeal to the Indianapolis audience.
2. What has been the reaction to a more mainstream Alternative station in Indy?
Feedback from the audience and the advertising community has been overwhelmingly positive.
3. What have been the biggest changes on the station's relaunch?
The Alt 103-3 playlist has undergone only the slightest modifications as a result of the rebranding project. The change was primarily in aid to successfully extinguishing the false perceptions about the radio station, as a whole. Imaging and execution have migrated from the heavier rock-leaning presentation to a more thoughtful, contemporary soundscape. Ann DeWig is among the best voice talents in America. Her signature tones and delivery give Alt 103-3 its appealing curves and distinctive aroma.
4. Explain how Alt 103.3 hits the Indianapolis lifestyle?
This is a radio station for drivers, bikers, runners, and hikers. Alt 103-3 is the soundtrack for craft brew enthusiasts and race fans, Colts disciples and Pacers partisans. It's the station in Indianapolis that explores new restaurants, evolving tech, cultural scenes, live music, film and theater - Alt 103-3 reflects the city's energy and enthusiasm for all things fun.
5. How aggressive will the station be with new music and what is important to you before stepping out on new music?
Fans told us that New Music Discovery is among the most important attributes of an ideal radio station. Alt 103-3's responsibility to carefully curate new music is bolstered by the behemoth that is iHeartRadio. Live concerts from Arctic Monkeys and Young The Giant, Album Release events with Coldplay and Linkin Park and an exclusive evening with Thirty Seconds To Mars' Jared Leto - just a few of the on-air highlights since the advent of Alt 103-3. The station's Emerging Artists Series and "Up Close" events complement the array of New Music Discovery components.
6. Why did WRZX swap call letters with WOLT in Dayton?
The WRZX calls were found to carry much of the same impact as the old logo. In searching for new call letters for Alt 103-3 we looked for close matches to the "Alt" handle. Most were unavailable. WOLT (if you make the phonetic effort) was the closest set attainable - not being used in any configuration, anywhere. So, the calls were reserved before Alt 103-3 debuted. In order to hold the call letters, they became part of the Clear Channel - Dayton group until Alt 103-3 premiered in mid-June when they became an official part of the rebranded Indianapolis station.
7. Tell us about your role as Director/Operations for Clear Channel Indianapolis and working with the legendary WFBQ (Q95)?
I am flattered to have been considered, much less chosen, to lead the Indianapolis group to higher heights. It's exciting to be part of this organization at a time of so much innovation and forward thinking. My association with the renowned WFBQ brings with it some of the most exciting challenges in my career. My predecessors include some of the smartest in the industry -- Mike Thomas, Marty Bender, Scott Jameson, Buzz Casey and many others designed the architecture of this Classic Rock success story. My team is charged with authoring the new chapters of that plan for 2014 and beyond.
Q-95 remains the flagship station for the Bob & Tom Show, now syndicated to over 130 radio stations across America. Laura Steele hosts the workday broadcast, including the "Lost Classics Lunch" from noon to 1pm. She is followed by Gunner who provides the premiere soundtrack to Indianapolis' drive home, punctuated by "Stairway to Seven" - a daily double-shot tribute to Zep featuring rarities and titles seldom heard on the radio. Jay Baker and Sixx Sense round out the evening on Q-95. These illustrators have been part of the winning tradition at Q-95 for several decades. They have been integral in building the very brand equity and audience allegiance that has guided the station's success through the years. I am fortunate to work with such a legacy squad of curators and personalities.
8. What do you like best about living in Indy?
I had never travelled to Indianapolis before visiting the market last fall. The city's enthusiasm is palpable. There's a vibrant spirit amongst an energized community that drives the Indianapolis pulse. I admire the thriving dining scene and the thoroughly devoted sports fans in Indy. Most major music tours play either downtown or (seasonally) in the state-of-the-art amphitheater in the Northern suburbs. The city and its periphery are growing -- and that growth is accompanied by a friendly, optimistic attitude that is contagious.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _________?
Lots of H20. I drink about a gallon a day.
10. What would surprise people most about you?
Bruce Hornsby once talked with me about recording a song I wrote in college. Obviously, it never worked out....but how cool would that have been, right?
What are your hobbies?
My wife and I love to travel.
Last non-industry job?
I was a travel counselor at the Fredericksburg Visitor Center in Fredericksburg, VA - May, 1986.
May, 1984 -- ZZ Top's Afterburner Tour at The Capital Centre at Landover, MD. They played four consecutive nights at The Cap Centre!