10 Questions with ... Elliott Wood
November 4, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Started in radio in 1989. Now, back at the station level after 15 years working in radio research.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
I started with a Radio class in college, and joined the station. I was hooked.
2. After working in research for 15 years, what led you to The Buzz earlier this year?
I had reached my saturation point with the travel. I was traveling more and I really wanted to travel less. It was very appealing to start having 1 station to focus on rather than so many.
3. How would you describe yourself as a programmer?
There is not one job at a radio station I won't do, and I try to sample everything - even take pictures at remotes. The goal is to stay immersed and always be evolving and learning. I try to think less about the output function of this job (programming) and focus on the input of the job. It is more about being a student of music, research science, and social behavior. I learn a lot from my team, and I try to figure out what motivates them. It is more about focusing on the listening - and not necessarily just listening to music; there are listeners, staff, and others who have great insight that can be applied to the mechanics of the trade. It is about being open and trying new things, sifting through the hype and data to make of all that accumulated information become output that connects with people.
4. Since you have a research background, how do you utilize all the new music research tools that available today to evaluate new music?
I love looking at them all. Each has a function, but none are the absolute answer; all interesting though. I still like the traditional methods like callout and music tests for day-to-day decisions. I like to look at individual songs and how they behave in different methodology. I have three monitors set up on my desk looking at as much as I can, like some freaky wall-street guy. I think the IT guys here avoid me and are really scared that I still have room to add a 4th.
5. What do you love most about programming The Buzz?
Holy cow, It is the Buzz! Everything is great. The Rod Ryan morning show, Theresa in middays, AD, and Karah. Plus the music is ever evolving, and there is always new stuff coming up. We have a social team that has given up sleeping in favor of tweeting, and a promotion team that is very close to the street. Everyone here is humble and approachable.
6. What makes the station unique?
We don't live in the alternative universe, there are many styles, colors, shades, and tints to the music we play. We have plenty of the harder active stuff, yet at the same time there is Pop-Alternative, Indie, Beards & Banjos and Punk. We are surfing many musical waves at any given time.
7. Tell us about Buzzfest 32 and why it was successful?
I believe that it sold it out because just like the station, we don't live in one style of music. We had a lot of contrasts: Big Data, Chevelle, Milky Chance, P.O.D, Cage the Elephant, and Papa Roach. As the rookie here, I really spent time looking at what historically has sold well in town and what hasn't. These radio festivals are about bringing people together so there needs to be a lot of reasons and different styles to attract different all types of people. Some people come for music discovery, and others want to see their favorites. I listened to a lot of the experts here, and really weighed what made sense for us. Houston is a great music town, and there is a big appetite for new stuff, but we still want to see the past favorites and local superstars.
In research, I would see it all the time that certain bands have bigger appeal in different places. A couple of the bigger touring acts on the bill couldn't believe that I put Evans Blue playing later in the day, thus higher on the bill. But Evans Blue delivers in Houston big time. Once other bands saw how the crowd reacted, they totally got it. And of course, The secret sauce: leading up to Buzzfest our on-air super-stars selling it, promoting it, and pushing it.
8. What do you like best about living in Houston?
I will never have to shovel snow.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _________?
Coffee; three monitors on my desk; the station on at all times; seeing my family; playing at least 3 chords on the guitar; checking news feeds; talking to the team; looking at Nexgen.
10. What would surprise people most about you?
Gray is not my natural hair color.
What are your hobbies?
More than anything... Scuba diving.
Last non-industry job?
Teaching at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh
First record ever purchased?
The Defranco Family / Abracadabra
Rush / Moving Pictures
Favorite band of all-time?
It evolves: '80s it was Ozzy; '90s it was Rage Against the Machine; 2000 belongs to the Foo Fighters; 2010's Cage the Elephant.