10 Questions with ... Denise Pagano
August 12, 2013
1. Brief history/synopsis....where you were born & raised, schools, & current family
Born & raised in the Village of Worth, which is a small south suburb of Chicago. Went to Alan B. Shepard HS in Palos Heights, IL and College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL. I've been married for 21+ years to my high school sweetheart and we have 3 boys (actually men!) that are 21,20 and 19.
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?
The bug bit me twice actually! The first time I can remember getting "bit" was going to the Bozo Circus Show (all you Chicagoans know what I'm talking about!) in the early 1970's and I was more interested in the cameras and how the show was being put together than Bozo and Cookie the Clown!
The second time, ironically, was here at WMBI in Chicago in the 1980's when our family friend Ron Hutchcraft did his live show for teenagers called "Saturday Night Alive". My dad would take me down to see the show, and I wanted to stay in the control room and could have cared less what Ron was doing (sorry Ron. Besides that, my dad said its all your fault I chose this as a profession! LOL!) I realized when I was a freshman in HS that I wanted to do this, either radio or television of some sort, and took a radio/TV course at my high school my junior/senior year. I still keep in touch with my teacher and his wife to this day!
3. What's the most successful on-air bit/break you've ever been part of?
When I worked at Rockford's Country Q98.5 FM, we did a bit about the order that you clean yourself in the shower and what it meant. I said that I brush my teeth in the shower, and can you believe that the topic wound up lasting most of the week! Who knew!
4. With the advent of "instant everything".....what do you do to show prep? How do you prepare?
Show prep....you live it! It happens all around you. After all, people do interesting things all day! You just have to learn to be aware of your surroundings a little more. (it doesn't hurt to be a news junkie as well!)
5. What would you categorize as your greatest personal challenge in radio? What are you doing to overcome that?
Overcoming the perception that Christian radio IS radio! I couldn't' believe that mainstream radio treats CCM personalities so differently....it was nuts! Its all the same people...a craft is a craft. We just hold ourselves to the One True God as our boss! But as far as our craft and our talent....I believe that many mainstream stations pass up some great personalities because they are hung up that CCM radio isn't "real radio" (if I had a dime for everytime I was told that phrase I'd be rich!)
6. Who are 3 people that you look to as mentors/leaders? What is it about them that grabs & keeps your attention?
There are 3 people who I admire greatly in this business.
Chuck Finney. What a smart guy who knows how to keep up with the times. I'm grateful to call him friend and mentor!
Johnny Stone...this man knows how to relate to the listener and keep them engaged the entire morning show! The way he can hold me to either a news story or listening to a "Thankful Thursday" piece...again so glad I can call him friend.
And last but certainly not least in my book, Valerie Geller. This woman literally saved my career! I wouldn't be in radio anymore if it weren't for her influence in my life. She spoke truth to me in one of her Creating Powerful Radio seminars, and God put our paths together by chance after that seminar many years ago in Nashville, TN and I have never been the same since. If you have never had a chance to listen to her live or sit in her seminar...get to it! What an amazing mentor I have in her!!
7. What do you believe is the single greatest factor in building audience share/cume? Why do you believe it's that important?
"Do you get where I'm at?" I believe that is the #1 question our audience asks us as a station every day. In the decisions we are making as far as the music we air, to the stories we tell everytime we open that mic.
8. Most embarrassing moment on air?
When I first went to Q98.5 in Rockford, ILto do mornings, I had just finished voice tracking middays for the cross town CCM station that ALSO had a Q in it. The entire morning show, I kept screwing up the call letters! It was awful! I never lived it down the entire time I was there! Ugh.
9. How do you combat the iPod/satellite/online option listeners have today? What are the steps to compete?
Why do we have to compete? Moody Radio's Praise & Worship Channel is only available online or as an ap. We cross promote with Moody Radio Network from the stations across the country to all of our internet channels. It's a win/win situation.
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?
You never stop learning. That's always been my motto. The minute you decide you have learned enough...time to change careers. Find people you look up to in radio, be it an on air personality, promotions director, PD, whatever and ask questions! Most people I have talked to in my life are thrilled to talk about their experience! What has worked in their careers, what hasn't, what they would do over again if they had the chance, etc... Also, I firmly believe in getting to seminars as often as you can. You learn something new every single time. You say how can that be? Some of these seminars are awful....well, then you know what NOT to do then don't you! Everyone has a different perspective when it comes to radio programming or even being an air talent. The key is to take all the knowledge and then make it your own. Be yourself but the best version of yourself! The other things I would say is be a mentor to someone. Not only does it change someone elses life, you get so much more out of it than you would ever imagine!
1. Favorite cereal, favorite cartoon character and favorite fast food choice?
Capt'n Crunch Peanut Butter! Yummo!!! Who cares if it tears up the roof of your mouth! Cartoon charater....has to be Scooby Doo. And fast food....I've given it up.
2. You've got one last live break on air....and then the radio will go silent. What do you say, and why?
I would make sure I gave my testimony. Even if it was a mainstream station! Jesus is the reason I do what I do! He's my best friend, Savior, and Father. After all, eternity is what matters, not this crazy life...