10 Questions with ... Izzy Knight
August 4, 2014
1. Brief history/synopsis
I was born in Oneonta, NY and grew up in Schoharie County which is about 40 minutes west of Albany, NY. Think lots of cows and hills. I was in public school until 7th grade and was home schooled the remaining time. I started in radio when I was 17 so I didn't go to college. Part of me regrets that. I've been married for 8 years and have two minions. Elijah who's 4 and Hannah who's 3.
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?
When I was about 7 or 8 I had a little microphone that had a FM transmitter in it and would broadcast 60's music (those were the tapes my mom listened to) to my friends down the street. I would attach more wires to it to try to get it to go further. When I was 15 I started broadcasting online and started an online radio station at 16 playing alternative rock. I walked down to the local daytime only AM station at 17 and asked for a job. The GM handed me a broom and that's how I started. My other "dream job" was to become an Aeronautical Engineer and have a few credits from RIT. Sometimes I think my wife wishes I picked the other career track. :-)
3. What's the most successful on-air bit/break you've ever been part of?
When I was at WPER/WJYJ I had an ongoing bit on shedding a few pounds. Low hanging fruit for the radio world, right? Had a gentleman who drove a lot for his job tell me that, because of that bit, it encouraged him to avoid the fast food places that he passed. God used me and a silly little bit to influence the life (really lives) of another. How cool is that?
4. With the advent of "instant everything".....what do you do to show prep? How do you prepare?
I use Microsoft OneNote to keep thoughts. It syncs with everything which is really convenient. I take pictures when something happens, or write my thoughts down, or if in the middle of the night something comes up, it goes there. I use Facebook for trending topics, Twitter, and wrote a program that grabs the most talked topics in my area.
5. What would you categorize as your greatest personal challenge in radio? What are you doing to overcome that?
Me. Removing pride. So hard to do when you're in the "spotlight." Reminding myself everyday it's about that one listener and its all about helping HER get through the day and make it through life's challanges.
6. Who are 3 people that you look to as mentors/leaders? What is it about them that grabs & keeps your attention?
Jim Arnold. Very intelligent and highly creative. He possesses the ability to see what others cannot. Radio wizard. It's a shame he's not on the radio full-time anymore.
Beth Bacall. She's awesome. Really. Super talented, very smart, and real. Always looking to help and build others up. It's very inspiring.
There are many more, but those two made the greatest impact in my life. Love them dearly!
7. What do you believe is the single greatest factor in building audience share/cume?
Connecting. Every single thing that you do needs to connect with your target. If you don't connect, why does he or she care? What keeps them from using Pandora, or Spotify, or _________ App? If there isn't a connection between you and your listener, you're sunk.
8. Most successful station promotion ever?
Every time we sent David A. Dein (Star 99.1 Music and Programming genius) out in a costume. Seriously. People just ate that up. I can't pin a single one down but the ingredients tend to be: simple, fun, impacting, and making your listener the star.
9. What's the last book you read?
Wait. You didn't tell me there was a book report! Jeee... Thanks, Mark!
I'm digging into Steven King's book "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft" again. Lot's of not safe for the little ears language, so the easily offended shouldn't read it. In a nut shell, he gives great advice on writing. He's a brilliant writer and an example on how to craft colorful and concise copy.
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?
Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine. -David Ogilvy Don't be insecure. Keep your eye on the target. Speak their language. Love what you do. Be you, because "you" can't be replaced, they'll need someone else. Don't freak out. Pick your battles. People talk - you can use that to your advantage. Careful what you say to consultants, they have other clients. Competition is good. Asking non-programming staff what they think about an on-air issue is dangerous. Remember the sales department is 85 percent confusion and 15 percent commission.
1. Most embarrassing moment on air?
The last day of my first "tour" of Spirit FM. It was Share-a-thon. Barry Armstrong and Bill Scott were on the air with me. Bill Scott, as usual, pull out some kind of wacky challenge and he asks something along the lines of "Do you think we can do this?" My response was "I'm Game". Turn the mic off and Barry is laughing at me and Bill says something along the lines of "Well that's an odd way of coming out." Apparently they heard "I'm Gay" instead of "I'm Game" on the radio in an extremely conservative area. Fun!
2. Favorite cereal, favorite cartoon character and favorite fast food choice?
Lucky charms. My son and I like the new Lego movie. 5 Guys Burgers and Fries qualify.
3. You've got one last live break on air....and then the radio will go silent. What do you say, and why?
Remember, you can get my app on Google Glass, iPhone, Commodore 64 smart watch and the new Tandy tablet. So long, and thanks for all the fish! 0 - 3 - 9 - 1 - 8 - 6 - 7 - 5 - 3 - 0 - 9
- To send listeners to the new platform and increase NTR... well, at that point, just "TR"
- Because 0.01% of my audience would get the joke, and because it's the last break, that wouldn't matter. I would also be using Family Force 5's "Love Addict" as the bed.
- Only the true radio nerds would get this and it would freak the spies out.