10 Questions with ... Mark Maira & Shane Allen
November 17, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Mark - I started off as an intern here at 94.1 The Zone and Stephens Media Group. Worked a couple years as a Production Assistant before being promoted to Imaging Director/Nights and then later on Production Director/Afternoons. Over the last couple of years we have worked closely with our Program Director, Alicia Tyler, to create a music intensive yet, personality-driven afternoon drive show called, The Gentlemen's Club.
Shane - In my 7 years with SMG my path has been: Intern; Promotions Team; weekend jock; afternoon traffic; Web & Graphics Designer; co-host of The Gentlemen's Club. Climbing the corporate ladder all the way to the middle.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
Mark: I've always been interested in all aspects of the entertainment industry. On a local level radio is and was a nice stepping stone into entertainment. Plus, who wants to move to those cultural Meccas like NYC and LA when you've got crippling poverty right here in Rochester!
Shane: I grew up listening to Brother Wease (local radio celebrity) in the car with my dad, and then moved on to Opie and Anthony in my tweens, and I remember thinking, that is insane that these people get paid money to talk junk/about their junk all day. I want to do that, I think I can do it better. Then I discovered beer and forgot all about that dream. But it came back to me at SUNY Oswego when I decided to join the Radio Club and became the first student ever fired from that Radio Club.
2. What is your role on The Gentlemen's Club?
Mark: I am a co-host of the show with Shane Allen. My job is to get the stories of the day to the people. They're hungry for it. Whether it's the sifting through the complicated details of the Benghazi Hearings or talking about the logistics of how a guy turned his taxidermy cat into a drone... I'm there. I also structure the show and keep it rolling through Shane's bad puns.
Shane: I have a three part role: 1) Report Traffic; 2) Translating Mark's obscure Final Fantasy references; 3) Getting fat. No one has told me to do that last one, but I am doing it anyways. Am I an overachiever? My arteries will tell you, yes.
3. The name of your show certainly grabs your attention. Tell us about the content on The Gentlemen's Club on 94.1 The Zone. Are women welcome?
Mark: I think it may be easier to talk about what we try to avoid on The Gentlemen's Club. We feel like a lot of radio aimed towards Men 18-34 revolves around talking about how hot a girl is, high fiving your frat bro, and drinking a beer out of a vase that has paintings of hot girls on it. First off as guys in that age bracket we kind of find that stereotype offensive. Second, I'm sure your sales manager doesn't want to be selling that personification of your listeners to potential clients either.
Some of the most successful programming aimed towards millennials, like The Daily Show, is filled with substance. Not that The Gentlemen's Club is in any way as politically driven as The Daily Show but we try to find comedy and relatable content in issues and topics that other shows aimed towards young males may dismiss.
As for the ladies they are welcome to listen too. We're just bad at naming things. Also I apologize for using the term "the ladies." I sound like that creepy uncle.
Shane: I think that the name of the show is purposely misleading. When you think of a two guy radio team, I think the majority of people assume we are two super bro'd out bros that are commenting on girls "creamers" and doing bits like the "babe-of-the-week." In all reality Mark and I are two comedy nerds that are more Peter Sagal than Howard Stern.
Women are absolutely welcome on the show. In fact, we get our best reviews from the ladies, and have even been called fem-MEN-ists. I am not sure, but I think what that means is that even though Mark and I are two super-hot dudes, we are approachable, and empathetic. While we don't get girls, we GET girls. You follow? Me neither.
4. What is your show prep routine each day?
Mark: Shane and I have a shared document that we are able to edit each day. We break topics up in a few categories like news stories, podcast ideas, and personal stories. I then set up which story we are going to talk about in each break and write my take and opinion on it. Shane then writes in his opinion.
We try to find a good balance between the known and the unknown. It's necessary to know where the break is going and where we stand before we get on-air. At the same time the moments of improv and true reactions is where the most memorable parts of the show live.
Shane: Usually we each fart around on the internet a few hours before the show and grab news stories or trending topics that interest us. We come together with those, talk about what terrible things are coming out of Mark's babies, as well as the terrible things coming out of my mouth to strangers, we figure out which personal stories are awful enough to make it into the show and then we are off to the races. Figuratively of course. Neither Mark nor I have run/jog/speed walked in several years. We should be sponsored by rascal scooters.
5. What is your favorite part of the show?
Mark: My favorite part of the show actually lives on The Gentlemen's Club podcast. The podcast is a little different where the main segment of each episode is usually based around an improv game. It ends up being very vaudeville where it's just entertainment for the sake of entertainment. We put these segments in the podcast because they wouldn't necessarily work on-air but it ends up being the segments that I find our comedic voices work the best.
Shane: The best part of the show for me is that I get to be myself. I get to use my real name, share my actual opinions, and do jokes I think are funny. The show is genuine which is what I think listeners actually want. It really bothers me when other shows are so phony. They hide behind nicknames, make up fake controversy, argue for the sake of arguing, and try to be outrageous just to get people talking about them. I think when you do that you are insulting the intelligence of your audience. Like they can't see that you are dumb-dumbs. We know we are dumb-dumbs, why hide it?
6. What annoys you most during the show?
Mark: You've heard it a million times in radio where everyone is wearing multiple hats... maybe a couple of ascots too. I'm grateful to be both co-host of The Gentlemen's Club and Production Director for Stephens Media Group Rochester. But when you wear multiple hats and an ascot or two you can never give either of those jobs 100 percent of your attention all of the time.
Shane: Local news websites and I think this is ubiquitous around the United States. Whenever I try to click on an article from a newspaper or news station here in Rochester it is like I have entered a maze of pop up adds, auto playing video commercials, and survey questions. It is way too much effort to get to an article about Stacy from the suburbs and her pug fashion show.
7. What makes The Gentlemen's Club unique?
Mark: I think what makes us unique is our take on topics. I know that might sound like the dumbest thing you've ever read but bear with me. For the most part any show that is topic driven that I listen to or watch takes one of two positions on a topic. Either you've got a populous opinion on something or you go the exact opposite and go against the grain with your position. I feel like both Shane and I try to find angles that are neither. A lot of the time we have more moderate positions on topics. Which at first might not be as attention grabbing as someone on the extreme end of an issue but overtime who we are to the listener is more honest and less of a caricature. Hopefully in the end making The Gentlemen's Club a more relatable show to listen to.
Shane: We hate the radio trope of male DJs having to be shock jocks that treat women like trash and do parody fart songs. Don't get me wrong, we still do a lot of fart talk, but we have a fresh young perspective on fart talk. Plus, Mark and I have done stand-up and I think that shows in the bits we do and the angles we take on stories.
8. Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
Mark - I like Adam Carolla. I don't always agree with his takes but when he talks about that mundane aspects of life and turns that into 30 minutes of relatable and funny content it can't be beat. I also like Scott Aukerman of Comedy Bang Bang! It's refreshing to hear someone use the medium in a different way.
Shane: Conan, Greg Fitzsimmons, John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, Rachel Maddow, Scott Ackerman, Jim Norton, Bill Maher, the Sklar Brothers, Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick, Ira Glass, and Rick Jeanneret. Could I make a list of whiter people? I am the worst.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _________?
Mark: Updating my Myspace Top 8.
Shane: Coffee and my cell phone. I am a well-documented "basic bitch." If it wasn't frowned upon for men to wear Yoga pants I would wear them every day. I have tried some on and it was like walking around wearing a cloud for pants. Plus my ass looked great. Guys don't trust Yoga Pants butt, it's all voodoo.
10. What may surprise people most about you?
Mark: I have a sweet baby face and look like I'm 12 so the most surprising thing is that I'm married and we have 2 kids. Even more surprising is that we had them on purpose.
Shane: That I am a lifeguard. Usually people look at me and think "chicken wing eating contest" not "trained to save my life." I still am surprised by it myself sometimes but I think it was just due to budget cuts at the pool. I don't think they could afford floatation devices so they just hired one that could walk and talk.
What are your hobbies?
Mark: Doing stand-up comedy and asking guys fixing cars "what are ya working on?"
Shane: Longboarding, playing guitar, Ice Hockey, and searching through the Netflix to find something to watch (ordered in time spent doing activity: least -> most)
Last non-industry job?
Mark: Auntie Anne's Pretzels
Shane: Operating room assistant. Not joking. It was my Vietnam. I saw things there that even American Horror Story would be like "damn that's a little too graphic for my taste."
First record ever purchased?
Mark: I think it was the first Spice Girls Album or the Bad Boys soundtrack.
Shane: Bought three at the same time: Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory, Weezer's The Green Album, and Christina Aguilera's self-titled debut album.
Mark: MXPX at Water Street Music Hall in Rochester, NY. So many chubby 13 year olds.
Shane: Aerosmith in Buffalo. My father's favorite band and the lead singer that most looks like my grandmother.
Favorite band of all-time?
Mark: Gatsby's American Dream
Shane: The White Stripes. The palest man on earth Jack White pretending to be a Black Blues singer from the 40s with a drummer who was ambiguously his wife or sister. What's not to like?