10 Questions with ... Jeff Young
July 10, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Started at KXFM in Santa Maria, CA, playing what passed for Triple A rock then. Jumped to Top 40 at KRIZ in Phoenix a couple of years later, then on to Detroit and L.A. before getting into programming. PD at a few stations then to morning drive for a few years at rock and pop stations from Houston to New York. Finally landed at Westwood One in the mid-90's, since acquired by Dial-Global. Worked 70's, Groovin' Oldies, and Hot AC formats before settling at Hot Country a few years ago.
1) Hi Jeff-currently you are doing mornings on the Hot Country format at Dial Global as a solo player, after working many years with partners. What do you prefer?
Solo. Teams and ensembles sound great if the chemistry is right, but test tubes do explode. That's usually because management throws talent together without knowing whether they'll actually be able to co-exist in a small room for several hours a day without killing each other. Pros make it work anyway, but it can be miserable. I've had three bad and only one good team experience.
2) You are in the studio from 2:30 to 9:30! First of all what time do you go to bed and then wake up?
Show prep never ends. I'm usually still online researching and fine-tuning until about 9pm, then up at 1:30a. I keep saying "I'm going to bed at 7:30 no matter what. Ok, maybe 8." Never happens. Sundays are for sleeping.
3) Give us a snapshot of that time in the studio-how many hours of that are you on the air and then the rest is production time?
I'm on-air for 4 hours, and then interviews and promos, etc. afterwards.
4) How many markets are you in and how do the local stations customize and localize your show?
Dial-Global Hot Country is probably on about 100 stations, but in some markets they have their own morning talent. I don't know the exact number. I'm apparently on in enough places to justify my paycheck. As long as that keeps coming and my key fits in the back door at 2:30 every morning, I'm good!
As far as the way the affiliates weave DG talent into the local scene, we all cut liners and weather, etc., to keep it sounding local and timely.
5) You have been with the network since 1994-what kinds of changes have you seen?
Liners were still being mailed to affiliates when I came on board. It's all digital now, with nary a roll of recording tape, CD, cart, razor blade, or grease pencil in sight. Come to think of it, we even had to go outside back then to grab copies of USA Today from in front of the door. I recall fighting off the occasional Stegosaurus to get to the paper.
6) Before joining the network, you worked many formats at local radio stations. Do you prefer being at a network, and why?
I love network radio because I used to have to actually move to a town if I wanted to work there. Now I'm everywhere at once. I do miss meeting locals at hardware store and car dealer remotes, though, and telling them "sorry, I'm all out of t-shirts." I actually meet more listeners on Facebook than I ever did in person anyway, and learn a lot more about them. It's amazing what people reveal online - without being asked!
7) You've done a lot of formats-why do you love Country?
Country today is what Top 40 was when I was growing up. There's a great deal of variety in the music. When I punch up a pop station, it's hard to tell the difference between many of the artists. What amazes me is the number of young people we have listening. Aside from the cliché drinking songs that seem to hang on, there are plenty of love and lovin' life songs, too, with superb writing from the likes of Sara Buxton, Chris DuBois, Taylor Swift, etc. And unlike some pop songs, you rarely think you're hearing a munchkin sing.
8) Do you interview many artists on your show, and do you do them 'live' or 'recorded' and again, do you have a preference?
A ton of 'em. Country superstars are available and love to talk. Ronnie Dunn was on recently. I said to him "thanks for being on the show - we both know you don't need the PR and you'll get played no matter what", and he responded "I DON'T know that. You're talking to the most afraid guy in show biz right now." Most are very down to earth and grateful for their fans and their success. I never go live in case one of them feels the need to say a bad word that day. It's rare, but it happens.
9) Do you talk to a lot of air personalities at the local level who want to work for the network? What do you recommend they do?
As far as the application process, nothing out of the ordinary. Send demos to whomever you want to work for. Once you're on the network, you have to have a "big picture" mentality, keeping in mind that some listeners will be in the middle of their daily routine, while others may be starting or ending their day. You don't want to give away the ending of a TV show that hasn't aired in some places yet. No specific weather references allowed. You can't always be sure that an affiliate is carrying your next hour, so you can never tease anything in that hour. I don't do a four hour show; I do four one hour shows.
10) How do you interact with your all-star PD Johnny Paul? We imagine he yells a lot.
Boy have I worked for the "yellers!" John Paul is not one of those. He's proof that nice guys don't finish last.
It's interesting because he is in Denver and some of us are in L.A. He listens to us on any number of affiliates that stream the format. He'll drop a note with a suggestion whenever he feels the need, does an aircheck review every few weeks, and keeps us up to date with daily memos. We have jock meetings via Skype when the need arises and he visits L.A. every so often.
1) You are a real 'radio guy!' Are there hobbies that you have outside of radio?
Photography and 3 Card Poker.
2) What are some of your favorite new Country artists right now?
Jason Aldean, Eric Church, and Ashton Shepard come to mind. Many others. Reba's not new, but just keeps getting better.
3) If you are getting up at the crazy time of like 1am what time do you eat breakfast?
About 12 hours later. Too busy to eat, but still getting fat. Haven't figured that one out yet.