10 Questions with ... Brian Phillips
March 17, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 1995-98: Z100/New York - Promotions
- 2000-01: Soundbreak.com/LA -"digital jock"
- 2003-07: WHTG/Monmouth-Ocean, NJ - PM drive; MD/APD; AM drive
- 2008-11: WRXP/New York - Nights, MD; PM drive
- 2012: WRXP/New York (2.0) - On-Air
- 2013: WIQI/Chicago - On-Air
- 2014-present: WKQX/Chicago - AM drive
1. How did you get the morning gig at WKQX about a year ago?
The process began in 2012 when Jim Richards hired me for Merlin Media's version of WRXP while I was doing promo for Megaforce Records in New York. Shortly after the WRXP sale and during the temporary havoc of Hurricane Sandy, Jim lured me to Chicago's dry and illuminated terrain with an on-air position on the '90s leaning Hot AC, WIQI. Cumulus acquired the Merlin stations in January 2014, the Alternative format returned to 101.1 and Jim paired me with Q87.7's Lou Lombardo for mornings on the new 101WKQX.
2. How would you describe your role as morning show co-host?
I'm the one in front of the audio board, pushing the buttons and bookending the on-air conversations. Lou and I review social media, trending local and national stories, find the relatable angle, point out the absurdity then play the next song or element. We're not reinventing the medium, but rather crafting it for PPM and our audience's sensibilities.
3. What is your favorite part of the morning show?
Those moments of listener feedback in any form (social media, text or phone call) never get old. Plus, Lou and I both respect the art of ending a break on the George Costanza high note.
4. What is it like working for PJ Kling?
PJ is a smart, detail-oriented, well versed on almost any subject, grammar police captain who keeps an open mind (and door) for creative input from the entire staff. He reinforces the need to always communicate with the audience on and off air in an authentic way and to have fun. But PJ's hipster, lumberjack beard is another story. If it makes the competitive beard and mustache global circuits, we may never see him again.
5. What is a typical workday like for you?
4AM alarm sounds, one snooze I take the train, two or more and I'm in an Uber getting to Merchandise Mart just before 5AM. Coffee, show prep, show, more coffee then after an 11AM staff meeting, I'm home debating whether to take a nap, watch the Steve Harvey show or binge watch something on Netflix. Going to shows during the week is not impossible, but requires some advanced sleep scheduling. Friday, I do expect a proper Guinness pour...or five, bartender.
6. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _________
Coffee, warm socks, Uber, Words with Friends and power naps.
7. Who is your favorite show/personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
I've been a longtime Kevin & Bean fan; Boomer & Carton (on TV) for my New York sports fix, WFUV/New York and their Alternate Side station are my top streaming music choices. For years Nik Carter (Boston, New York, now VH1 diva) had been my all-time favorite rock jock....until I met him, what a jerk!
8. What do you like best about living in Chicago?
Chicago is a great city with incredible and accessible everything: people, food, culture, passionate sports fans and bacon aficionados. I like the Central time zone and living a few blocks from Wrigley Field.
9. What do you miss most about living in New Jersey?
New York (and for 10 years New Jersey) will always be home base. I'm home quite often so my close friends and family in the NY area probably haven't noticed I now live 720 miles away. So, I miss the indifference and the front of the line privileges at Cake Boss in Hoboken.
10. What are you most passionate about?
Music, funny things, spicy things, reading books with paper pages and maintaining my "cool Uncle Brian" status.
How many games will the Mets win in 2015?
Let's think .500 and hope they "under promise and over deliver." My Mets road jersey and I will hit a few Midwest road games this season.
First record ever purchased?
I lived next to a record store owner growing up in Marine Park, Brooklyn and he would pay me in cash and/or records to carry product to and from his car. So, child labor bought me those Beatles 45s and Frankie Smith's "Double Dutch Bus."
Favorite band of all-time?
Tough question, how about bands that begin with the letter B? "Who are The Beatles, Beastie Boys, and Black Keys?