10 Questions with ... "Bentley" Tiffany Bentley
March 22, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started in radio at K-Rock in Syracuse as an intern and then as a full-time on-air personality doing nights from 6-10p and a new music show every night after that. I then pursued a career in arts journalism, working for a publication in Pennsylvania and then freelancing in NYC. I returned to radio in Buffalo, NY to do mornings for Alternative Buffalo. Now I'm the Music Director and Afternoon Drive Host at The Edge (WEDG) in Buffalo.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
Since I was old enough to know what radio was I wanted to be the person picking the songs being played. I used to record songs onto cassette tapes off the radio and make my own shows when I was 5. But it wasn't until I entered a contest to be the morning show's secretary on K-Rock in Syracuse with Fn'Kevin after undergrad, not knowing they would put me on air with him for a week. I was so disappointed at not winning and only being the runner-up based on email votes but knew right then and there I wanted to be in radio and needed it to happen. I cried when I left the station and then got such a fire in myself to be involved with music I went to Syracuse University a week later to talk about graduate degree options and training. The guy who won the contest was fired a week later.
2. After working at K-ROCK/Syracuse, what led you to become a music journalist?
K-Rock was the station that first gave me exposure to alternative music. It's how I learned about all of my favorite bands in high school. I couldn't believe I was working there next to people like Mimi Griswold, who I found out was the one picking the songs I used to obsess over, and DJs like Dave Frisina who worked in the building at that time whose voice I remember from local Classic Rock stations. But at that time I'm not really sure I knew that I could potentially have a career in radio.
I have my Master's in Arts Journalism from Syracuse University that I was earning while interning and working at K-Rock. I had a passion for music writing and felt I needed to pursue that career as well. There were also some life events going on and I was also worried about the direction people were telling me radio was headed. Needless to say I would miss it right away and soon discovered I couldn't deny that part of me.
3. Why did you decide to move from cross-town Alternative Buffalo to The Edge?
I've always wanted to be a music director. That was a goal of mine from the get-go, especially after working with Stephen Uknuis and prior to that Ty Bailey at K-Rock. I couldn't pass up the opportunity at The Edge not only for the role as music director but to be able to learn and grow with people who are very passionate about the format, who are collaborative and encourage creativity and ideas and value talent and radio in general. That type of enthusiasm is so magnetizing and Troy Hanson and James Kurdziel own it tenfold with integrity.
4. How important was it for you to become a Music Director?
I mean, if you haven't figured out my obsession by now, it just hasn't been an option for me to not achieve this goal. I know we all talk about personal sacrifice, but this has been my life goal and I've based many life decisions around it.
5. How would you describe yourself on-air?
I would describe myself as having no gimmicks. I talk about the music and different things going on related to Buffalo. I just talk to my friends. I feel a huge responsibility to convey correct information so at times I slip into a weird place where I sound like an NPR reporter.
6. Since switching stations and dayparts, what is different about moving from mornings to PM-drive?
I get to have a social life now even though there are still nights where I go to bed at 8:30p and wake up at 4:30a. Old habits are hard to break. I also get to drive to work when the roads are plowed.
7. What is your show prep routine?
I read a lot of music publications, mostly online now so I guess you would say I'm always doing prep. The idea of doing set show prep sounds so forced to me since I love the content. I like keeping informed and then I'll research breaking news before my show to keep up to date. Revolving conversations with friends and people around me at work also fuel topics.
8. What do you love most about your job?
I love that I get to be around such creative people all of the time, have discussions with different individuals who love to talk about music and life in general, politics, movies, what have you. I feel really part of a group of people who are unapologetically who they are. When you're a little odd yourself, sometimes it's hard to find people you feel you can be yourself around. Currently I'm sitting at my desk surrounded by balloons and a birthday cake.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _________?
Caffeine and running into Jim's office at least 4 times yelling something which is usually fueled by the first part of my answer
10. What would surprise people most about you?
I get super nervous being on stage and I hate attention.
What are your hobbies?
I'd like to get really creative here and talk about the things I wished I did or that I used to do. Right now I eat at Buffalo restaurants a lot and hang with people I've met since I've moved to Buffalo that are just plain awesome. I like to make sure I make time for that. And now for the cliché answers, I collect vinyl, I enjoy museums and art publications but I also watch Game of Thrones constantly and love to travel when time allows. I don't get to the beach enough. Most of all, I enjoy naps.
First record ever purchased?
First record if we're talking vinyl here it was The Vines - Highly Evolved First concert? White Zombie - No it wasn't the Backstreet Boys. I snuck out for it and was scarred for life in the best way possible.
Favorite band of all-time?
Favorite band is always the toughest to answer. I once attended a panel with David Fricke of Rolling Stone magazine and he was asked what album he couldn't live without. He straight up refused to answer it, but in a kind way. It's like asking to choose your favorite child. If I had to pick I could narrow it down to Led Zeppelin and Nirvana as far as being my timeless favorites (yes, I just called Nirvana timeless because for me they are) But I had quite the obsession with Our Lady Peace and I don't think it's ever really gone away.