10 Questions with ... Miles Anzaldo "Miles The DJ"
June 21, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Radio programmer and host, club DJ. Spent 12 years at Live 105/San Francisco, leaving as their Assistant Music Director, midday host, and Programming/Production Assistant. Hired by Go 96.3/Minneapolis last year.
1. After a dozen years working at Live 105 what was your biggest take away working at such an iconic station?
I learned everything in San Francisco. When you start somewhere at 18 years old and leave before your 30th birthday, it's tough to pinpoint ONE takeaway. But I guess if I had to choose one, it would be to be ready for change at any moment. The audience changes, their interests evolve; new trends come and go, co-workers leave, etc... Having a platform in markets like the Bay Area and the Twin Cities is an enormous responsibly. You'll never survive if you don't have your ear to the street. You need to know your audience and you need a strong team who values success. Look at my Golden State Warriors -- Steph Curry and Klay Thompson where non-factors in Game 1 of the NBA finals. But their bench outscored Cleveland 45-10. Their motto is "Strength in Numbers" which I believe it's an attitude you need -- not only in basketball, but in radio to win. I learned that from Michael Martin. We had our greatest success at LIVE 105 when we had a deep lineup. I love sports metaphors.
2. What led you to Go 96.3 a year ago?
Admittedly, I hit my ceiling at LIVE 105. We parted ways and although it was tough for a while, it was necessary to recharge my batteries. I needed a change. I spent some time in Los Angeles at Slacker Radio and even filled in a few times at KLOS. After a few months, I started to miss alternative radio. Ultimately, it's my passion. So when I found out there was an opening in Minneapolis, I reached out to CEO Joe Pohlad, GM Sam Elliot Gagliardi, and PD Chris Rahn. Being a part of an innovative brand, seeing shows at First Ave and living in Prince's hometown was something very intriguing.
After a few conversations I flew out and fell in love with the market. To me, Minneapolis has a music scene and art culture reminiscent of San Francisco's. After a quick try out, I was hired to be Go 96.3's night host.
3. Congrats on your recent promotion. Tell us about your new role as APD and your responsibilities at Go 96.3.
Thank you. It just goes to show the opportunity Joe, Sam, and Chris game me. In one year, I went from being our night host to landing MD, APD, and afternoons. These responsibilities motivate me every day and I don't take it for granted. What we are doing at Go Radio is truly different than any other company in the industry. We have two channels: Modern Alternative at 96.3 and Modern Hip-Hop at 95.3. We have a news department, a campaign manager, and a videographer who maintains GoTV (which you must check out, if you haven't yet). We are building something independently from the ground up. At 31 years old, I'm lucky enough to still be in our target demo -- so my job is to take what I've learned from LIVE 105, couple it with Joe, Sam, and Chris' vision and guidance, and apply it to the alternative channel. It's a 24/7 job with a goal to schedule music, book concerts, host a daily five hour show, host three specialty programs, and introduce bands to an audience with a millennial sensibility. Radio is changing for the better and we are doing everything we can to stay ahead of the curve.
4. How would you describe yourself as a Music Director?
I like to think of myself as someone who understands alternative radio in 2016. It goes back to what I learned in San Francisco -- you have to adapt to change. Of course, I want to play familiar hits, but I want to surround them with new artists that could become staples in the future. The audience you see at Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Outside Lands is the same audience I'm looking to grab. I'm not naïve to all of the options listeners have, so it's important to stand out. I like the idea of playing The Head And The Heart next to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Best Coast next to The Killers, Jamie XX next to Weezer, Arcade Fire next to Twenty One Pilots, etc. Even if it's not in regular rotation at first, there's a place for the War On Drugs and K Flay. I love testing music on the radio, but it needs to be sold correctly. If you are either unfamiliar or unimpressed with a song I schedule, odds are you'll know or like the next one. Plus, it's necessary to massage your clocks and rotations whenever needed, not just once a week. It's not unlike me to change things around a few days after a music meeting. Nothing is ever in stone. We are constantly changing with the audience.
5. What are music meetings like at the station?
Chris and I typically spend an hour together every Tuesday. Sure, we look at the charts and consider what we aren't playing in rotation, but we like being aggressive, too. We don't care if you're #63 or #3 on the chart, if we think it works for this market and our audience, we'll play it. As you'd expect, we look at some data, we look at social media, listener polls, Shazam, sales, etc.... But we base some decisions on gut too. We could add Cage The Elephant and Foo Fighters one week, then throw Grace Mitchell, RAC, and Melanie Martinez in the next. Choosing between 10-15 records is never the easiest task, but having quality options on a weekly basis is never a bad thing.
6. What is the process for determining your Top Prospects that you showcase on your afternoon show at 4p?
It's my favorite part of the afternoon show. This feature was most inspired by Stryker at KROQ. A few years back I sat in during his show. We were watching the NBA Draft in the studio; he threw me on the air a few times... It was so much fun! At one point, he rolled through his "420" feature and I thought it was great. I knew I wanted to have something similar on Go Radio.
In addition to being the Twin Cities modern alternative channel, we also air Minnesota Twins games. It was important to me that this feature somehow tied into baseball. "Top Prospects" felt like a cool way to give a nod to the home team. As I mentioned earlier, we generally have about 10-15 records we'd like to showcase. To put it simply, I look at these songs and expose what I feel could be a hit one day. Every current played on Go was a "Top Prospect" at one point.
7. Give us the 411 on your First Impressions Sunday night show.
Anyone who knows me understands my passion for discovering new music. "First Impressions" gives me an opportunity share what I find. I ask my audience to let me sift through the stacks of CDs, streaming services, blogs, industry e-mails and opening bands at 7th Street Entry and Triple Rock. I'm still a fairly new personality at a new station in Minneapolis, but the market has been incredibly receptive to the show. It's starting to feel like I have a trusting relationship with Go's listeners. It's been fun to watch it built from the ground up.
8. What is your favorite part of your job?
It's not easy to choose one thing. I work in a beautiful building across the street from Target Field. I can walk to 4 blocks to see a Timberwolves game, another block to First Ave. I have a platform in an amazing market. My superiors encourage me to showcase my personality. And working with Sam is great because his skills as a motivator are unmatched. It's like having Tony Robbins or Vince Lombardi down the hall. I feel like I could climb a mountain after speaking with him.
9. What's it like working for Chris Rahn?
Chris knows how to do everything. He's always available to solve a problem, lighten the mood and make you laugh... He never complains, never looks tired (despite arriving every day at 6am) and never accepts mediocrity. Chris knows how to take initiative with the staff. He'll get ahead of an issue before it even becomes one. In a given day, he'll be at a remote making sure an ISDN line works, he'll quarterback a department head meeting, he'll lock down logics for an upcoming station event and will even schedule a few days of music if my workload gets heavy. I rarely see Chris without a smile on his face; he's never in a foul mood.
10. What has been the biggest change in your life moving from California to Minnesota?
Without question, the biggest change is not seeing every single Warriors home game at Oracle Arena. I'm still not completely used to it. I don't think the higher ups would appreciate me taking more days off for Finals games, so I would happily invest in some sort of teleporting device to fix the problem.
I have a solid group of friends and acquaintances back home who I miss dearly. Not seeing them took a while to adjust to.
Of course, you'd expect me to mention the weather. But I bought a coat and made sure my apartment was armed with a quality heater.
It's not as bad as you'd think.
What are you most passionate about?
Tie: Music and Basketball.
How are you dealing with your passion for Golden State Warriors Basketball in Minnesota Timberwolves land?
Funny you should ask, I actually touched on this very topic last year for Go 96.3's website
The number one thing I hear from Wolves fans is "I CAN'T BELIEVE WE PASSED ON STEPH CURRY FOR JONNY FLYNN." Sometimes I feel bad. I just shrug and remind them that they have a team to be excited about. I don't hide my love for the Warriors, but I look forward to watching Minnesota evolve into a playoff contender. Who knows, maybe a Warriors/Wolves round 1 next year? I'll be there, respectfully wearing royal blue and California golden yellow.
What music are you listening to when you are not in work mode?
Lots of Prince lately, as you might expect. I'm always in the mood for Arcade Fire and Radiohead. Kanye West blows my mind, Beach House, classic Pink Floyd... I recently made a playlist with decade old indie bands like Wolf Parade, Margot & The Nuclear So And So's, Joy Zipper, Mates Of State, The Stills, Earlimart, The Rosebuds, Grizzly Bear, Secret Machines and others. I find myself listening to it quite often. And quick shout out to Go 95.3's Mr. Peter Parker for inspiring me to seek out all things modern hip-hop.
How did you get the nick-name Miles The DJ?
Although I was brought in as a part-timer, LIVE 105 afternoon DJ Jared thought I was an intern. So he would bring me on his show as the character "Miles the intern." It was relatable and it stuck. In 2005, I gained full-time status (thanks, Sean Demery!) but still had "intern" in my moniker. It felt a little silly after a while, so one day I just started calling myself "Miles The DJ." Plus, the username was still available on social media. So I had that goin' for me, which is nice.