10 Questions with ... Steve Stewart
August 26, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started in 1988 at a small station in Southern Rhode Island (WBLQ) which had the transmitter on Block Island. I then did Top 40 in Providence(WWKX), New Haven (WKCI) and mornings in Cape Cod (WRZE) before making the move to Country in 2000 at WPKX in Springfield, MA. Then moved to Myrtle Beach with WGTR as OM/Mornings for the cluster-then went back North to Grand Rapids at WTNR as OM/Mornings again. I finally, ended up here with Clear Channel St Louis and am presently Program Diretor/morning host on KLOU(Oldies) and Program Director of KSD (Country)
1) You have been in St. Louis, programming KSD and KLOU for almost a year now. How has St. Louis been treating you so far? Do you ever miss the Michigan weather?
It's been a blast living and working in St Louis so far. We got here just before the Cardinals won the World Series and being able to be a part of that was pretty special. The locals tell me that this winter was pretty mild and it's normally a lot worse...I can't imagine it being like it was in Michigan though!
2) What are you excited about for the stations this year- any great promotions coming up?
Our biggest promotion of the year is the Official Bull Float Trip and this year it is our 10th anniversary! Already announced for this year are Montgomery Gentry, Craig Morgan and Hunter Hayes with more on the way. Its from August 23-26th and we expect record numbers of attendees this year. Its basically thousands of people floating on rafts down a river, having a blast and then partying at our nightly concerts and passing out at a few thousand campsites!
3) What made you think radio was a good fit for you and how did you get your start?
Ironically my parents are the ones that got me into radio...sort of. Growing up in Southern Rhode Island 66 WNBC would come in pretty good from New York City. My parents loved the station and as a kid I was obsessed with Imus, Soupy Sales and Howard Stern. It was the first time I really paid attention to a radio station and how the on air guys entertained. Those guys and that station were larger then life to me. So as it turns out, that group of guys inspired me to walk into my local station. When I was 16 I interned at a little station in Southern Rhode Island putting together local sports reports for the morning show. Here's how it pretty much went: "can I intern...clean up the studios...anything?" Before you knew it I was at the local basketball games recording reports.
4) What would be your best advice for people trying to get their start in radio today?
Be patient. We see so many people give up because the competition is intense and there are fewer radio jobs then ever. Get help from the people that you know will be brutally honest with you, work on getting better and keep going after the job that will get you in the door. It can be a very long road and you have to be prepared for that.
5) Speaking of advice, what's the best piece of advice someone gave you over the years and who are several people you count among your mentors inside or outside of the business.
I was told once that it doesn't matter the market size...the good and the bad of this industry are universal no matter where you are. That was from my friend and one of my mentors RJ McKay who is in Philadelphia now. One of my other close mentors is Mike O'Malley from Albright & O'Malley. I have learned more from him then pretty much anyone else I know. Then of course there is always my parents and Nana who I call weekly looking for some sort of life guidance.
6) What's more fun for you, being on the air or programming?
They are really equal. I love working both creatively and strategically. For the past several years I kind of wondered that question myself and I finally concluded if I can do both I will. There are some great PD/Morning hosts in the industry that I think do both for a lot of those same reasons.
7) You have interviewed so many artists over the years. Tell us some of your favorite moments, in any format.
One of my favorite interviews, it probably wasn't his, was with comedian Ron White. He had missed the interview with us and we somehow got his tour bus driver on the phone. We then had him bring the phone, live, to Ron's hotel room so he could still make the interview. Well, lets just say that Ron White first thing in the morning is quite the interview!
8) By now, can you tell almost immediately after hearing a new record whether it will be a hit? Or if not, what are your biggest factors when deciding whether to give a new artist a shot?
I don't have that good of an ear...I wish I did! We really spend a lot of time looking at the sound of the record and how it matches The Bull. We always ask the question "is this the sound our listeners expect to hear from us." Another big factor is the reaction from any female I can find--my wife, a sales person and of course any female listener.
9) What's your philosophy on how to handle all the online and social media demands that there are now? How do you manage it all?
We have to be everywhere all of the time. Our listeners are also our competition so we need to make sure we are competing with them for their time. We come at it from a team approach. Every on air talent has a major online presence and is held accountable for building our social media fan base. We meet every week to talk about what works and what doesn't work. Sometimes the things you don't expect to work REALLY take off, IE, The Mason and Remy show aired an interview with model/actress Brooklyn Decker. It was a mess and very awkward for Brooklyn because Remy kept thinking she was Kate Upton. Well, this went viral and was talked about on multiple TV shows and the interview was posted 1000's of times by bloggers etc. That "mess" gave us more hits then anything we have EVER done.
10) If you weren't in radio- what would your dream job be?
I took a few days to think about this question. I have been in this pretty much my whole life so I really have no clue what else I would dream of doing. I guess if winning the lottery were a job that would be my dream job!
1) What do you and the family like to do when you are not working?
We have a four year old girl, Caroline, so everything pretty much revolves around kids movies, Friday night pizza and just relaxing. I am proud to say that she is a big baseball fan so we head out to the park as much as possible...you know, for her of course :)
2) What's your favorite show on TV right now?
GAME OF THRONES!!! HBO has the best show on any channel on the planet. It's really the only show I make a weekly appointment for.
3) What new music are you listening to right now that you love, either Country or non-Country?
Eric Church-Chief has blown out a few of my speakers so far, a band out of New York called The Gaslight Anthem (kind of a retro punk sound) and a guy out of England named Ed Sheeran. I actually found him when I was searching Youtube for videos from the show the A-Team and came across his single of the same name. Btw, it has NOTHING to do with the show, hahaha.