10 Questions with ... Matt Williams
September 8, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
A career synopsis, huh? Bear with me for a haphazard story:
I've loved the entertainment world my entire life; however, it was only after pursuing other avenues that I realized a career in it.
I moved to Nashville in 2010 to get a masters degree in business from Belmont University. I anticipated getting a job in the music industry. Shortly thereafter, I was doing design and online strategy consulting, and was subsequently introduced to Patrice, the owner of FOCUS on the 615. She brought me on as marketing director as well as on-air talent, and that's where my business and entertainment worlds collided with an epiphanic boom and quickly began this whole crazy process.
Through the blog's growing popularity and partnering with different media outlets, my career began to take shape. I expanded my on-camera horizons by signing with The Block Agency for different hosting, modeling and acting jobs (and by the way, I define myself as a model and actor extremely loosely).
Then one day Shawn Carnes came to me with this idea for a radio show, and we went for it! Now the show is growing, I still do work with FOCUS on the 615, I've been asked to host some events, and I'm even acting, which is an incredibly fun creative process. It's the epitome of throwing a bunch of stuff against the wall and seeing what sticks... no one's rich and famous, but thankfully, nothing has stopped sticking just yet!
1) Matt, you along with Shawn Carnes, created and host Nashville Underground Radio! Can you tell us a little bit about what Nashville Underground Radio is?
Living in Nashville, we know a very different city than what others may think. The goal of Nashville Underground Radio is really to bring the outside world into our community (or rather, our community out to it). This city's popularity is growing so fast, and we want to be a part of it, but with a show that's authentic. Another main goal of ours is to help emerging artists. Everyone knows this city has the best music in the world, and we want to showcase the ones we truly believe in, especially the ones with limited resources of exposure.
2) You all do a weekly show live from Nashville - can you tell us what makes your show so unique and different than other shows?
Really, it's the format. We're on the Internet so we can do and say anything we want! But also, we can broadcast whenever we want, however long we want, from anywhere. And any one of our shows can be heard at anytime anywhere in the world. So the potential is limitless. Plus other shows don't have Shawn and me... we're freaking awesome.
3) How are listeners reacting to your radio show so far?
It's funny; we had this idea and just started it to see how it would go - not a lot of planning or structure. And that first show we ended up with several hundred listeners. So we were like, "Whoa, we better step our game up pretty quickly!" And it's grown ever since, nothing but good feedback, so we're very thankful.
4) Now a little about you as a host - what brought you to wanting to host your own radio show with such a variety here in Nashville?
Shawn, really. He had the original idea and brought it to me. The hosting and coverage I do is typically live or on camera, so it's nice for people not to be able to see me for once haha. But really, it was the idea itself that sold me, regardless of the format. We really did see a great need and great opportunity.
5) You've also worked in non-profits and as an on-air talent for an entertainment blog - how have those experiences shaped you into being able to host a weekly broadcast with Nashville Underground?
More than anything, they have plugged me into the entertainment social scene. Half of the radio show is Shawn and I bantering about what we did the past week, and it's typically stuff we get invited to through those contacts.
As a host, doing on-camera interviews for the entertainment blog has been where I've lived the last couple years. That's given me all the comfort and familiarity of media and presentation, which translated easily to radio.
6) What are your thoughts and feelings toward Mainstream radio?
Oh I love it, I listen to it all the time. It's not going anywhere - nor should it - but it's quickly merging with online formats.
7) What role do you feel digital/online radio is going to play in the future of how consumers and listeners take in news, music and entertainment?
Like I said, it's all becoming one. Look at iHeartRadio, an online format that supplements terrestrial radio. A lot of radio shows even have YouTube channels now. Consumers love the a la carte style consumption afforded by streaming, and pretty much everything is available online now. It's just going to become quicker and easier.
8) Since you all do offer such a variety of topics for Nashville Underground, which artists, events and experiences do you typically try and seek for the show?
We're getting lucky that artists, venues and publicists are beginning to seek us, which is really cool. But our criteria is simply "authentic Nashville." We try to mix it up as much as possible, and truthfully we have no structure for finding content haha. We just live life in Nashville and then talk about it on the show!
9) What are you finding are challenges when hosting an online radio broadcast?
Well, we have to rely on Internet and phone connections. Typically that's not a problem, but it's proven a pain in the ass a time or two. Also, I'm used to looking into someone's face when I'm interviewing them, and I'm NOT used to having a co-host, so every once in a while people talk over one another. No biggie.
10) You all are currently focusing on Nashville right now. Any plans to expand any in the future?
1) What is your favorite part about radio?
I can go to work in my underwear, drink a beer, and say whatever I want - haha.
2) If you could be any broadcaster in the world - any form of broadcasting - who would it be and why?
(Man, I'm gonna be made fun of for this, but everyone will see it coming) Ryan Seacrest. He does everything, and everything well. I want the enterprise and brand that he has. He does a radio show, hosts TV shows, hosts red carpets, produces everything, and even does philanthropic work. That's the dream for me. I'm coming after you Seacrest!
3) What is the most interesting thing that has happened from hosting the show thus far?
The fact that people actually listen to us still blows my mind haha. We were covering the Biscuits and Jam Concert Series out at Fontanel, and I was asked to host the actual show when Storme Warren couldn't make it. I ended up doing it five times; that was fun!