10 Questions with ... Jason Mack
November 24, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
WYKT/Joliet, WRCX/Chicago, KXOK, WVRV, KFTK & WMLL/St. Louis, WABX/Evansville, WZRR/Birmingham, WQEN-HD2, WQEN-HD3/Birmingham & WGMZ/Gadsden.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
I grew up in a house full of music. The radio was always on WLS with the legendary Larry Lujack, John Records Landecker, etc. As I got older, I listened to "The Loop" with Steve & Garry, Brandmeier, Kevin Matthews, etc. I wanted to be on the radio ever since.
2. Birmingham hasn't had an Alternative station since WRAX signed off 10 years ago. What led to the launch of ALT 94.9?
"The X" was lightning in a bottle. People still talk about that station, and yet there was a gaping hole in the market for the music. There's some great music out there that no station was playing...So here we are.
3. How would you describe the music and imaging on the station?
The focus of the station truly is the music. It's a blend of Classic Alternative, the music "The X" brought to Birmingham years ago, the new Alternative and the added spice of the great local/regional acts that are driving the music scene in Birmingham like St. Paul & the Broken Bones and Alabama Shakes. The imaging reflects the city, the music and the lifestyle of our listeners.
4. What may surprise people about ALT 94.9?
The station has only been on the air for a couple months, so every day there's a new surprise. I love seeing tweets from listeners when they hear a song they didn't expect on the station.
5. In addition to programming ALT 94.9, tell us about your other duties at iHeartMedia/Birmingham? How many hats do you want to hear about?
I'm PD for 3 stations, do PM drive on "The Vulcan" and juggle all the other duties that come with the office.
6. How would you describe yourself as a programmer?
During one of my "on the beach" stints, I learned that most people don't listen to the radio like we do. I went a full month without ever turning on the radio, but when I finally did, I found myself listening like a listener and not like a PD. I noticed what made me change the station, or turn off the radio completely. So when I got back in the game I leaned on those lessons for creating content, promotions and imaging. There's always the science and formatics, but how I approach what's "between the songs" is different because of my time away from the biz.
7. What is your favorite part of your job?
I still love doing my show. It's my safe haven from the sales staff...NO AE's IN THE STUDIOS! Other than that, seeing people enjoy what we take for granted every day like meeting the bands. It's "work" for us, but it can be a special moment in our listeners' lives.
8. What do you like best about living in Birmingham?
The "Southern Hospitality." The people here welcomed a family of "Damn Yankees" with open arms and sweet tea. Plus we're a few hours from the beach in one direction, mountains in the other.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _________?
Caffeine. Between work and my kids, I'm moving from 5am till 11pm every day.
10. What would surprise people most about you?
My iTunes library. When I hit shuffle I can go from Motorhead to Mozart. I love it all...even a few bands most are embarrassed to admit.
What are your hobbies?
Taekwondo, hockey (yes, in Alabama), I climb mountains in Colorado every summer, run, ride...Anything to keep moving.
Last non-industry job?
Inventory Control Clerk in a warehouse.
First record ever purchased?
Van Halen "Women and Children First"
The Ramones in the College of Du Page cafeteria in Glen Ellyn, IL (May 9th 1980).
Favorite band of all-time?
Bob Marley & The Wailers