10 Questions with ... Spam
July 19, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WHFS/Washington, 1998-2005
- WHFS/Baltimore, 2005-2010
- WWMX/Baltimore, 2005-2014
- HFS at 97.5/Baltimore, 2011-2014
- WIYY/Baltimore, 2014-2015
- WSFS/Miami, 2015 until the end of Western civilization
1. How did you become interested in radio?
Pick one: (a) As a kid, I would use two cassette players to play my music so I could overlap songs like they did on the radio, and I would bother family members for interviews using any available kitchen utensil as a microphone ... or (b) as a freshman at the University Of Colorado, I spotted a flyer recruiting volunteers for the campus radio station, and got so passionately involved in it that I failed out of college.
2. What led you to 104.3 The Shark in Miami?
Many people had heard me say that if Miami ever finally got an Alternative station, I'd race to be a part of it. It was one of those things like "if I ever get to visit the moon" that I never figured would actually happen. After giving the legendary HFS a great final run in Baltimore, I took some quality time off, then helped out my buddies "across the street" at 98 Rock until I got a phone call from John O'Connell, who asked me if I was interested in being a part of his new Alternative station in Miami. I've never relocated so fast in my entire life.
3. After working at CBS for so many years, what do you like most working for Entercom?
Having spent my entire professional career working for such a mighty company with such mighty stations, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I knew Entercom was incredibly supportive of this music format (the other Alternative stations in this company are a testament to that), but it was awesome to discover how supportive they also are of their people.
4. What's it like working for John O'Connell?
John is the hardest-working and most creative person I've ever worked for, and he expects me (and depends on me) to keep that same pace, which is a fantastic challenge I'm enjoying. He's a guy who puts people and relationships first. He truly believes in everyone on his staff, he listens to what they have to say, and he trusts them to do their job well. You know you can always be honest with him, you know he always he has your back, and you know he always has the best plan.
5. Give us the 411 on South Florida's Alternative 104.3 The Shark.
It's been said for a long time that there is no passion for the Alternative format in Miami, and we're having a great time destroying that theory, by using the oldest trick in the book: playing proven hit music. We're not aggressive about breaking new music, but once we know a song is going to be a hit, we move on it. In addition, because this market was without the format for over a decade, our listeners are eager to hear all the music they've missed during those years. The result is a great-sounding, crowd-pleasing station that has attracted the most passionate audience I've ever witnessed. It's also the most diverse audience I've dealt with, in terms of ethnic background, age, and gender. Finding the right balance of music for this market has really paid off for us. And to top it off, our on-air staff is a bunch of loveable, goofy, music-loving dorks.
6. How would you describe yourself as a music director?
I grew up as a P1 listener of the format, and I'm still one. As I'm scheduling the music, in my head I hear how it's all going to sound, and in my head I see what our listeners are doing while they are playing our station. Knowing the lifestyle of your audience is critically important if you want to program a station that they'll really connect with, so I live that lifestyle to the fullest: going to shows all the time, getting to know all the places where our listeners like to go and live their lives, and constantly talking to them--not only about music, but also about their lives and what moves them...really getting to know them.
7. Tell us about On The Horizon With Spam.
It really is a reboot of "Fresh Baked" from HFS. It's a new music show that is both accessible and adventurous, and our listeners know that we're doing it because we truly want to know how they feel about these songs. It's catching on fast, and the enthusiasm and feedback from our listeners is what makes it so fun to do.
8. What do you like best about living in Miami?
Endless summer. The beaches. The Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Mexican food. (Yes, there really is incredible and authentic Mexican food here!) The nightlife. Knowing that there's always something exciting going on somewhere. South Florida can be a crazy place, but I wouldn't want it any other way.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _________?
At the risk of sounding cliché...music. It's why I do what I do, and it's why I can't imagine ever doing anything else.
10. What would surprise people most about you?
Exactly how dumb my tattoo is.
We hear you like bacon. What's the story, Spam?
What, I need a reason? You've tasted it, haven't you?
How did you get the name Spam?
When I was 16, I was introduced to a girl at my high school who was known as Moose...so named because she was the size of a defensive lineman. (I had heard that she once threw her mom six feet across the room during an argument.) She was also a certified genius, fluent in seven languages. Needless to say, I was somewhat intimidated, so when she said, "And who are you?", before I could stammer out my name, she said "I'm just going to call you Spam." My friends loved it. (Then, shortly afterward, the word became known as a name for junk email. Great.)
What are your hobbies?
Going to live shows of any size, exploring new foods in new places, and general tomfoolery.
Last non-industry job?
At a bank. I was a teller, and I also worked in the bookkeeping department. Needless to say, it wasn't really my thing.
First record ever purchased?
Two 7" singles in 1981: "Pac-Man Fever" by Buckner & Garcia, and the Doctor Who theme song. I was such a nerd.
The Jacksons, on their Victory Tour, at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado, on September 8, 1984. Ironically, I won my tickets from a radio station.
Favorite band of all-time?
The Foo Fighters. (Sorry, Fall Out Boy, but it is Dave Grohl who will save rock and roll.)