10 Questions with ... Mike Prendergast
April 22, 2013
1. Brief history/synopsis....where you were born & raised, schools, & current family
Born in Houston, lived in Dallas/Fort Worth since grade school. Met my wife in high school (even have the prom picture with her and my mullet to prove it). Graduated UT Arlington with a Broadcast Management Degree in '96. Teresa and I have been married nearly 16 years and have two beautiful girls, Katelyn 11 and Kristen 9.
2. What was it that made you "catch the bug" for radio? When did you realize that it was what you wanted to do for a living?
It still makes me chuckle a little when I'm asked this. I wasn't the kid who stayed up late introducing songs on my transistor radio. I actually went to Texas A&M to study Meteorology but missed my fiancé so much I moved back to DFW. UT Arlington didn't have a meteorology degree, so I needed a new major. I ended up taking a radio class as an elective on the suggestion of a friend and fell in love with it. I still have a passion for weather. Follow my twitter account every spring and you can follow along with my storm chasing exploits ;) @MPrendergastTX
3. What's the most successful on-air bit/break you've ever been part of?
How something fun....a bit I thought would be great..... but turned into a classic disaster. I was at KVIL and had the idea for a Six Flags promotion called "Six Flags in Six Days". We would fly several winners to different Six Flags theme parks all around the country, six of them in six days ending with Six Flags here in town. It sounded great, but the problem was doing a theme park six days in a row. They would fly out super early in the morning, drop bags off at the hotel then go to the park ALL day... They would then go back to the hotel, go to sleep and do it again the next morning. We had it setup where one of our morning show team (Lt. Dan) would go with them and do call-ins each day. Before day 4 we had people leaving, refusing to leave their rooms, etc and Lt. Dan was miserable. Ha, I can honestly say we never did that promotion again and Lt. Dan has never forgiven me...
4. With the advent of "instant everything".....what do you do to show prep? How do you prepare?
I'll follow artists on twitter as you can get a ton of current artist content by doing this, check local websites for events and generally have an idea of what's top of mind in your community.
5. What would you categorize as your greatest personal challenge in radio? What are you doing to overcome that?
I have stuttered since I was a kid. It's something that I've had to cope with as a kid in school and as I've gotten older. Being on the radio is a challenge to me but it's also a place that I normally do not stutter. It's really amazing how that works, but just proves that God will take what you think is your biggest weakness or where you feel most broken and can do amazing things and truly glorify Himself through it.
6. Who are 3 people that you look to as mentors/leaders? What is it about them that grabs & keeps your attention?
- Chuck Finney - was willing to take me under his wings and mold me and teach me while he was with KLTY. I learned so much under his guidance, not only in radio but in life in general.
- Paul Ramsey - my former Sunday School teacher for many years. He died of cancer several years ago but taught me more in my faith and how to be a better husband and dad than anyone.
- Teresa (my wife) - she is an amazing wife, mother, teacher and friend. She's my partner in this world and I could not think of anyone else to go through this crazy life with.
7. What do you believe is the single greatest factor in building audience share/cume? Why do you believe it's that important?
Puppies. Ok, honestly I don't think you can narrow it down to just one thing. It's many things done correctly and concurrently. You have to have the right music for your audience, have the right jocks who will relate to your audience, the right content when content is needed and it all has to be delivered in a very concise and well planned manner. It's a PPM world. Your listener will jump ship quickly. What are you doing to keep her tuned in? What is your competition doing better than you?
8. Most successful station promotion ever?
We just celebrated our 10th year of Christmas Wish and it has grown every year. Every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas we ask listeners to send in their Christmas Wishes for themselves or others who are going without this Christmas. We end up with tens of thousands of submissions from all over the metroplex. Our morning show broadcasts live at a different location each morning. Listeners can come out, meet Frank & Starlene and look through our Christmas Wishes and choose one to adopt. We also adopt one each day as a station and have many clients and friends of the station that do the same. We have granted tens of thousands of wishes and raised over $4 million dollars locally the last ten years including more than $500,000 this past year.
9. How do you combat the iPod/satellite/online option listeners have today? What are the steps to compete?
Be Live and Local. Something neither of them can provide. Serve your listeners better and serve the community. It's like following a friend on Facebook compared to spending time with that friend. You can get basic info about them on Facebook, see photos of their kids, etc, but unless you spend some quality face to face time with them, your relationship is going to grow distant. You still know what they're doing but you're not plugged in with them. We have a large focus on being live and local right here in DFW and are more than just a jukebox to our listeners. And we get out in the community and meet our listeners face to face. It goes back to any competition you have. What are they doing and how can you do it better? Don't track if you can be live. When listeners call in, ask them how they're enjoying the beautiful sunshine today or if they're headed to the State Fair of Texas this year, etc. Things that are local and loved by your community.
10. Radio 101....in 101 words or less, how would you guide/instruct/advise a radio programmer/air talent who wants to get better at their craft?
Keep learning, keep evolving. You are never as great as you can become. See what others are doing well and do it better.
1. Most embarrassing moment on air?
I had been in radio for all of about 3 months and had a shift running the board for an evening show. I was stacking up my carts (remember those?) for my next hour's commercials when I accidentally knocked them over on to the board. They deselected the button for the on-air monitors (unbeknownst to me) and all went quiet in the studio. I thought we were off the air so I immediately fired the next cart. Nothing. Fired the next one. Still nothing. Fired a third cart. Nothing. After about 10 - 15 seconds of this, I realized it was the monitor and that I was now playing a song and 3 commercials on air at once.
2. Favorite cereal, favorite cartoon character and favorite fast food choice?
Lucky Charms, Homer Simpson, Chipotle (does that count as fast food?)
3. You've got one last live break on air....and then the radio will go silent. What do you say, and why?
"Let's open our Bibles to Revelation and see what it says about the rapt...."