10 Questions with ... Ernest Beck
May 13, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Born in Michigan, there all of a week or so. Toddler years on a little island halfway between Alaska & Siberia. After that, less interesting, but most of it in the Northwest including Montana, Idaho, and Washington. A couple years in Southern California mitigated all that cold weather tolerance.
1. What made you catch the bug for radio?
Hard to say when I caught the 'bug.' I never intended to get into radio. Got suckered into it, then just never really left; I've grown to love it.
2. What's the best on-air bit you've ever been a part of?
Not on-air all that often. Much prefer the behind the scenes stuff. On the scale of introvert to extrovert, I'm about as introverted as the scale allows for. Seems like every year around prom, there's that story about the duct tape prom dress. Duct tape does fix everything. Had one lady call and talk about how a relative of hers is a bush pilot up in Alaska and they used a bunch of duct tape to get a loose wing stabilized enough to be able to fly back to civilization. Can't say I recommend that. Everyone seemed to have a duct tape story though.
3. With the advent of "instant everything".....what do you do to show prep? How do you prepare?
It's rough. I have about 10 students that report to me as interns. I swear they get younger every year. Attention spans are soooo short. Thankfully, they aren't the demographic (yet). Still, trying to be on top of everything is pretty much impossible. Making sure to at least hit the major buzz topics is the goal. Songs seem to take longer to become familiar. Makes selecting the right songs that much more important. Can't let a dud be on the air for a long time before getting credible info that it's a dud. At the same time, realizing we can't be all things for all people. So many options out there.
4. What would you say is your greatest challenge?
Tough one. Relates to my introvertedness. Opening up while on-air. Keep pushing myself. Jury's still out if it's working or not.
5. Who are 3 people that you look to as mentors/leaders? What is it about them that grabs & keeps your attention?
Jon Hull, Alan Mason, Chris Gilbreth. Jon is our consultant, but I don't really view him as that. More of a mentor. He is just so easy to work with, even if he's giving you tough things to do or consider; it never feels condescending. Really look up to him. Not to get creepy or anything, but I've admired Alan from afar for quite a while. His knowledge and advice always seems to be spot on in the presentations I've seen. Chris is the guy that really taught me a lot of the basics. He's a radio guy through and through, and I still have a lot to learn.
6. What do you believe is the single greatest factor in building audience share/cume? Why do you believe it's that important?
The product. If you don't have a solid product, you're hosed. What determines if you have a solid product? I wish I could define it concisely. I'd be able to get a sweet consulting gig.
7. What's your most successful promotion to date?
Has to be one of our on-going promotions. We do the Drive Thru Difference quarterly and now it seems like every time someone buys someone else coffee, we're getting some love. I love how much it has caught on with our listeners. It's not a unique promotion by any means, but it really engages people at a deeper level than it seems from first glance.
8. How do you combat the iPod/satellite/online option listeners have today? What are the steps to compete?
So many options. From what I've seen and experienced, ease of accessibility will be key. I'm lazy. People are lazy. The easier it is to get to your product, the better. At the same time, I still believe in the social/community aspect of radio. That's something that is missing in a lot of these alternatives, though some are getting better at it, and that's a little scary.
9. 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?
Ego has no place. Squash it. Axe murderize it. Be willing and able to set aside preconceived notions. Have access to people smarter than you to bounce stuff off of. Know the mission/vision of your organization. Live it. Take some chances.
10. Most Embarrassing moment on air???
I can't talk about that. (Ed. Note....apparently the statute of limitations has not expired?)
1. Favorite cereal, favorite cartoon, favorite fast food?
Oatmeal with dried fruit. Snoopy. Non-seafood Sushi.
2. You've got one last live break on air....and then the radio will go silent. What do you say, and why?
"Uh, what's this button do?"