10 Questions with ... Bill Sheridan
January 20, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Started in 1980 as the overnight DJ at WKAP-AM in Allentown, then went to crosstown WAEB-AM (for $40/week more!), up to WKRZ/Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, briefly at WFAS/White Plains before our owners bought what would become WZZR/Port St. Lucie in South Florida. Back to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at WMGS, and then put WBHT-FM on the air in 1993. Up to Binghamton, NY for about four years as OM of four stations (that's where I learned to drink!), and have been at WODE (and subsequently WWYY) in the Lehigh Valley as PD since May of 1999.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
Actually listening to talk radio shows late at night on a small AM radio under the pillow when I was about 10 years old. Remember hearing Bob Lacey (of "Bob & Sheri") on WBT-AM/Charlotte late night in the early 1970s.
2. What led to WWYY flipping from Active Rock to Alternative on Halloween?
Nothing special per se about the Halloween launch, just was a solid target date. Wanted to get it on the air before the end of year so people would become familiar with it by the Spring book. Market research said there was a sizeable appetite for the format with both men and women.
3. What's the story behind the name Spin Radio?
It came from a short list of different monikers...we were looking for something catchy that we could use in different markets if the brand took off. Michelle Stevens, our corporate brand manager, came up with that one and a few others. That one stood out without question.
4. How would you describe the music and imaging on Spin Radio?
For the initial launch, music is a lot of classic alternative, mixed in with today's definition of "alternative" stuff. Don't intend on getting too hard sound-wise. Male and female imaging voices...very organic and low-key by design. No effects...totally dry. The voiceover reads were key.
5. How would you describe yourself as a programmer?
Like to analyze trends over time, not immediately overreact to any big ups or downs. Try to listen to my stations and the market competitors as a listener would. Don't like to overthink things.
6. Tell us a bit about Connoisseur Media?
They've been great. We were in dire need of a market study and music research when they took over, and they opened their checkbook. Not a lot of companies will do that in today's environment.
7. What will surprise people the most about Spin Radio?
The variety of people that are enjoying the format so far. A few times, I've been out with 99.9 The Hawk chatting with active market listeners, a lot of them say they like Spin Radio, and don't know I'm connected with it. It's a great balance between familiar alternative classics, and really good new music. Songs like "Centuries" by Fall Out Boy, and "Take Me To Church" by Hozier have a real home, and I doubt they ever would have until the latest re-definition of the term "alternative music."
8. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _________?
The internet. Nothing else even comes close.
9. What do you love the most about your job?
Using creativity, intelligence and passion to create radio that's entertaining and compelling to listen to. My opportunity to make them feel bigger-than-life through the speakers has always been exciting to me, and never taken for granted.
10. What would surprise people most about you?
Loyal to a fault, and often wish I wasn't. Seen a lot of people get very far in this industry without loyalty and/or "doing the right thing", but you can't change the way you're wired, I guess.
What are your hobbies?
Last non-industry job?
Golf course driving range attendant
First record ever purchased?
First album I ever bought was "Yellow Submarine" while on vacation in Oshawa, Ontario. It was $1.99.
Doobie Brothers at Muhlenberg College in 1978. A strange aroma permeated the gym that night. Hmmmm....
Favorite band of all-time?
Wow. Certainly don't have an all-time fave. My tastes run the gamut from Sergio Mendes and The Brasil '66 and Shirley Bassey, to Steely Dan and the Rolling Stones, to Pearl Jam and Foo Fighters. I admire the songwriters and producers the most. Love Jimmy Webb, David Foster, and Nile Rodgers!