10 Questions with ... Wild Bill McKubby
November 18, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
My very first radio job was in Pierre, South Dakota working for Ingstad Broadcasting at KGFX in 2000. From 2001-2004, I spent time in Middlebury, VT (WXAL) and Battle Creek, MI (WNWN), until I landed my first morning position at WBTU-FM in Ft. Wayne, IN. I've been doing Country mornings for the better part of 8 years with stops at WBYZ in Baxley, GA, WKCN in Columbus, GA and KYSM in Mankato, MN. I'm back at my favorite station, WBYZ, doing middays for the first time in a long time- and loving it!
1) Hi Bill! You are currently the midday host at WBYZ. What songs are sounding really hot on your station right now?
I would have to say "El Cerrito Place" by Kenny Chesney. Everybody loves Kenny Chesney but right now this song is burning up the phone lines more than the typical Kenny Chesney song. I believe it's going to be around for a long time. Also, everything that Jason Aldean touches these days seem to turn to gold and "Take a Little Ride" has been huge right out of the gate. It continues to be very popular. The fact he's from Georgia and is a proud Georgia Bulldog fan probably helps too. The biggest surprise for me has been Randy Houser's "How Country Feels." I think it's going to be a big number one for him, and our listeners love it.
2) Your station bio says that you have been working in country radio for 12 years. Tell us, what were you doing beforehand?
I was working at an insurance company in Minneapolis and was completely miserable. I was pursuing an MBA and hated every minute of it. I had wanted to be a radio personality ever since I was a kid listening to my Boston radio heroes, Dave Maynard and Larry Glick. I quit the insurance job, dropped my miserable classes and took the plunge! Always follow your dreams and don't take the safe route!
3) Tell us a little bit about your listeners in Baxley. What makes them special? Is there anyone in particular who stands out in your mind, and why?
Charlie Daniels said in his Open Letter To The Hollywood Crowd, "Go down to Baxley, Georgia and hold an anti-war rally and see what the folks down there think about you." South Georgia is the belt buckle of the "Bible Belt." Our Listeners love and respect our military, high school football, family, Country music, and Jesus- not necessarily in that order. What you may think as "little" sometimes matters A LOT to them.
I had a guy call me one day to ask how he could get Jerrod Neimann's "Shining On Me" because it wasn't available in stores yet. He had mentioned that it was his dad's favorite song and that his father had died the day before. He wanted to play it at his funeral. I offered to burn it to a CD and let him pick it up from the station that afternoon. A few weeks later, I received a nice card in the mail from the family, along with a $50.00 bill. It actually helped me at just at the right time. Our family was facing some unexpected medical costs and we were not sure if we were able to buy something for our four year old daughter's birthday party. We were then able to buy her a bike, which was just in time for a trike-a-thon event to raise money for St. Jude Children's Hospital. I sent him back a nice letter with Jerrod Neimann's latest CD.
4) Is Country your format of choice to work in? What about your personal music preference?
Absolutely. I love Country music and enjoy always being pleasantly surprised when new music comes out. I don't think that you're going to find another format where the listeners are more passionate about the music and artists.
5) What is your opinion on the effects that internet-based radio such as Pandora, or satellite radio such as SiriusXM will have (or is having) on traditional radio?
I attended CRS in Nashville 2 years ago and Pandora and Satellite Radio was a big topic. I feel that if local radio continues to remain compelling and listener interactive, then any of these "so-called" competing medias can never replace local radio.
6) Who is your favorite artist that you have had the opportunity to meet, and why?
Taylor Swift. When she was opening up for Brad Paisley (right before she became a mega star), I had the opportunity to take listeners, several of them being small kids, on her tour bus. She treated our listeners like pure gold. She is the real "Garth Brooks in a skirt" when it comes to going above and beyond for her fans. She doesn't act like a prima donna.
If I can evoke Charlie Daniels once again, a few weeks ago on Twitter he said "The way you treat people on your way up will determine how they treat you on your way down." A few country artists that I have met will have a rude awakening one day, but Taylor Swift is definitely not one them.
7) Did you always know that you wanted to be a radio personality? If you weren't working in broadcasting, what do you think you might be doing?
I have always wanted to be a radio personality. I have a BS in Mass Communications and I'd like to go back to school and get my Masters degree so that I can teach college classes.
8) "Wild Bill McKubby" - that HAS to be a radio name! How did you come up with that?
It's kind of a dumb story actually.I come from a long line of "Bills". I've always liked "Wild Bill," so that was easy. My father (Wild Bill Senior) is the biggest baseball freak, going back to when he was a kid listening to Red Sox games on the radio. Willie Mccovey of the San Francisco Giants was one of the players that he would follow as he was growing up. As a joke he would call me "Willy Mccovey." He would call to me, "Hey Willlly Mccoveyyyy!!" Not knowing who in the world he was talking about, I thought he was saying "Willy McKubby." It drove me nuts. So that's how I came up with the name. Pretty dumb huh?
9) What one thing would you say, has been the highlight of your career so far?
While working in Columbus, Georgia the opportunity to be a part of the community events that helped out Ft. Benning. I had the opportunity to meet many soldiers, veterans, and military moms and dads. One of the great things about Country music is their commitment to the military. They are some of the best people you will ever meet.
10) How many hours per week do you spend at WBYZ (including remotes, production, etc)? When you have free time, what do you like to do?
I'm working for a family run radio station that understands "family." I am married with a 4 year old daughter. I usually work 40 hours per week, with some weekend work, but the rest of the time I spend with my family. There are some days that I spend more time at the radio station, but I'm enjoying the time spent with family. Our family loves going to the beach and spending time in Savannah, which is not that far away from us.
1. Word on the street is that you are a great karaoke singer! What is your "go-to" song?
"No Sugar Tonight" by The Guess Who
2. What are your holiday plans for this year?
My parents live in Athens, GA and my sisters live in Atlanta. We will be spending time at Gramma's house with all of the nieces, nephews and grandkids!
3. Do you do any impressions?
Yes- Clint Eastwood, Reagan, Gilbert Gottfried and a couple others