10 Questions with ... Sal Palazzolo
May 3, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Started as a DJ at WESS-FM (East Stroudsburg University) in 2003; Business Manager in 2004; Station Manager 2005-2008. 2006-2007 WVPO-AM (Oldies 840 and 960); 2007-2008 WAEB (B104); 2008-2010 WWYY (107 The Bone). 2010-present WODE (99.9 The Hawk) & WWYY in various capacities.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
I always had a passion for radio from the time I was a kid. I grew up constantly listening to it no matter what I was doing. Playing basketball, hanging out at home or watching TV, the radio was on. When I got into High School, I still had this "radio obsession," but I was more focused on pursuing a career in Meteorology. One day I was walking across campus to another class and I walked by the campus radio station. I turned around and walked inside on a whim, and began talking to some of the staff members. I walked out with a radio show! It was a great feeling. After a few weeks, it dawned on me..."man, this would be cool to do as a job!" I quickly went down the registrar's office and changed my major to Communications in the broadcast track.
2. How do you get the job as APD/MD at Spin Radio 107.1?
I began as a part-timer just trying to learn everything I could about the business. I was the guy who would suck up every hour I could get just to spend more time at the station. Didn't matter what I was doing. After a few years, I found out one of the stations in the cluster was looking for a full-time Administrative Assistant. I figured "why not?" It was a full-time gig at a radio station! It didn't matter I would spend countless hours answering phones or stuffing envelopes...that side of the business helps keep everything running. Over time I picked up extra duties in the Traffic/Continuity department as well as working with the websites and weekly e-blasts. I would go out of my way to help the programming side whenever they needed me. Running football games on our sister ESPN station, helping the Program Directors with tasks they didn't have enough time in the day to do, occasionally filling in on-air, whatever needed to be done, I was there. Fast-forward to October 2014. We were getting ready to launch Spin Radio. I grew up listening to the radio and "Alternative" music, so this project really piqued my interest. It was the perfect experience to see how a radio station is constructed from scratch. I became fully involved with the new station and the websites. Next thing I knew, I was learning how to use the music scheduling program and I was working the first log for Spin Radio 107.1.
3. What is your favorite part of your job?
Do I have to pick just one? That's tough! If I had to pick one thing, I'd probably go with music scheduling. I know how boring that sounds, but its part of what makes the wheels turn. A second choice would be getting out of the office and meeting new people at remotes.
4. What does everyone need to know about Spin Radio 107.1, The Valley's Alternative?
We're the new Alternative station in the Lehigh Valley, Poconos and Western New Jersey! Plus, we just put a translator on the air rebroadcasting Spin Radio in downtown Allentown at 94.7 FM...so there's never a need for anyone to be without us! We also have some of the greatest minds in the industry, on-air, and behind the scenes making everything we've done so far possible. We're working on planning a lot of cool things coming up like a festival with a few of our artists. We're growing quickly and more people are finding us and learning about Spin Radio every day. Those who discover us can't get enough of us!
5. How would you describe yourself as a Music Director?
Open-minded. I listen to as much as I can every week...there's a lot out there. Some stuff stands out more than others. It's been a fun challenge to find that perfect balance. A lot of material in the Alternative realm lately has been leaning more indie/folk rock and sometimes you'll find a diamond in the rough that's a bit of a rocker. I don't think the extra indie/folk rock has been a bad thing for the format or Spin Radio. I think it's helped us draw in some listeners who might otherwise be listening to something else. There's a lot of great music out right now that appeals to folks of all ages. Whether you're 18 or 50, I guarantee we have something you'll love.
6. What is most important to you when determining what new music to consider for Spin Radio?
Burn factor, hook, and overall flow of a record, type of sound, how it's doing on the charts...those are just a few of the things we take in to consideration. The most important thing though is probably the burn factor and hook of each record. There's a big difference between trying to be the coolest kids in the room, and trying to make the most realistic decision. Sometimes there will be a record that doesn't really have a good hook...so we'll stay away from it for a bit and see how it does.
7. What are music meetings like at the station?
Intense! Every week I'll collect a bunch of songs I think are our best candidates. Bill and I will sit down and hash out how things sound and look for each song's strength and weaknesses. After a bit we end up with a solid stack that we feel great about moving or adding for the week and another stack we put on the side to look at a week later. As much fun as you have with every song, there comes a point where the kid inside you has to become unglued from the control knobs and make some informed decisions.
8. What is it like working for Bill Sheridan?
I've learned a lot from Bill over the time I've worked for him in various capacities. We've always had a great comradery, especially since we both served as part of the upper student body of WESS at East Stroudsburg University. (Although it may have been called East Stroudsburg State College when he was there!) Bill is the type of Program Director who always encourages creativity and new ideas from the entire staff. Every day you end up learning something new. We find new ways to work smarter instead of harder on a daily basis. Although much of the time we take everything we do very seriously, there's always time for a laugh or joke or two.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _________?
10. What would surprise people most about you?
My inner weather geek. I initially had every intention of going to school to be a Meteorologist. I started college on an Earth Science track at East Stroudsburg University. One day, I was sitting in a Pre-Calculus class and thought to myself "what am I doing here?" There were all these crazy equations on the board...I couldn't even tell you what they were or what they meant. I was always pretty sharp with math, but I think if I had continued on that path, I might not enjoy weather watching so much as a hobby.
What are your hobbies?
Anything outdoors! Hiking and biking are always two favorites. I love the beach too. Of course music and radio are standard hobbies as well along with studying the weather.
Last non-industry job?
Computer repair at Staples.
First record ever purchased?
"Bringing Down the Horse" by the Wallflowers
Little River Band at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach
Favorite band of all-time?
It's hard to pick just ONE! I'm gonna have to go with Muse.