10 Questions with ... Mark Michaels
February 10, 2014
1. Give us a brief history/synopsis....where you were born, schools, & current family
I grew up in Italy before we moved to Nebraska when I was 10 ... went to college in Arkansas, moved back to Omaha to work in Radio, and 7 years ago landed back in Arkansas. For the last 14 years I've been honored to be married to my incredible wife Tiffany, we have 3 biological kids (Kyra, Keagan, and Cayden), and soon hope to bring home our sweet Ruth, who we are adopting from Ghana.
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?
While in college one of my best friends was a broadcasting major and we would go hang out with him during his Sunday night show... once I realized I didn't want to be an architect I decide to take the intro to radio class... and I was hooked. I loved it so much, and people were willing to pay me to do it so I figured it couldn't get much better than that!
3. What's the most successful on-air bit/break you've ever been part of?
I have a really horrible memory so it's hard to remember back, but most recently, we had a great time on Valentines helping guys who couldn't get creative beyond red-roses for Valentine's Day... and since my partner used to work for a flower shop, we let the guys call in, describe their spouse, and Keri helped them get a little more creative in choosing flowers. Seems like a simple idea but we had a lot of fun, and even a few touching moments.
4. With the advent of "instant everything".....what do you do to show prep? How do you prepare?
My mind is constantly in show-prep mode. We look at a lot of the same sources most people do, but the best stuff always comes from our own life experiences and what God does in our own hearts. It's just a matter of finding the most unique and relatable angle on the subject.
5. What would you categorize as your greatest personal challenge in radio? What are you doing to overcome that?
I wear a few hats around here, including on-air, PD, teaching in the broadcasting department, and a little consulting/coaching on the side... it's really a matter of making sure I'm focused on the strategic stuff that will give us the greatest impact. In order to stay inspired I have to find a way to unplug from the madness and think/dream.
6. Who are 3 people that you look to as mentors/leaders? What is it about them that grabs & keeps your attention?
I'm amazed at the kind of people God has brought into my life to stretch me... most recently Jon Hull, Alan Mason, and Chuck Finney have all been generous mentors. Jon is one of the best coaches I've had, Alan and Chuck are both so strategic when it comes to challenging me as a PD. All 3 of incredible humble, and I love that about them.
7. What do you believe is the single greatest factor in building audience share/cume? Why do you believe it's that important?
In a landscape of a million options, I passionately believe that it's about creating compelling content and nurturing a relationship with your listeners and community that leave them feeling like there is a void if you are not part of their lives. If we find a way to do that more often than not, people will talk, and the cume will grow.
8. Most successful station promotion ever?
One of my favorite traditions around here is "Pay it Forward". Each year with partner with a local bank chain to give listeners $100 checks to make a difference in another life or in our community. Each Monday we hand out more cash, and Friday get to hear the stories of how they made a positive difference!
9. How do you combat the iPod/satellite/online option listeners have today? What are the steps to compete?
I think it ultimately comes down to your ability to develop and create custom content that they can't find anywhere else... that means jocks that bond, imaging that connects, promotions that impact, etc.
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?
There is no way I'd still be doing this (and would not have ruined some great radio stations) without having some great leaders/mentors who have shaped me and supported me along the way. Everybody needs someone like that in their life, and each of us have to fight the temptation to settle with any success... each new day we have the gift of serving our listeners even better than before.
1. Most embarrassing moment on air?
My memory sucks so thankfully I've somehow forgotten all of them.
2. Favorite cereal, favorite cartoon character and favorite fast food choice?
Can't beat Captain Crunch, Elmer Fudd, and Chick-Fil-A
3. You've got one last live break on air....and then the radio will go silent. What do you say, and why?
"This is a test..." :) . Seriously, because my relationship with Jesus has changed my life, I would find a way to paint the picture of how good He is and the beauty of redemption.