10 Questions with ... Cody Alan
March 9, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Cody Alan assumed hosting duties for Premiere Radio's nationally syndicated "After Midnite" in January of this year, while retaining his evening hosting chores for CMT Radio Live and several other TV projects associated with CMT. After radio stints in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, Alan made it to the major leagues at age 23 when he landed a gig at Cumulus Country KPLX ("99.5 The Wolf")/Dallas. Along the way, Alan has received numerous national awards. Most notably, the Academy of Country Music National Air Personality of the Year in 2011 and 2013. Alan has been honored at the Grand Ole Opry, seen on CMT, featured in "USA Today" and "GQ Magazine."
1. Thanks for taking the time for 10 Questions, Cody. Let's start with when you sleep. Or, do you? You're seemingly on the air all the time, between radio and TV duties. Do the math for us.
And we're adding a weekend show, "CMT All Access", to the mix starting March 22nd! I can sleep when I'm dead. No seriously, my day is a matrix of tasks, with very little pad time in between. That said, our radio and TV teams here at CMT are amazing at working with me to cover it all. Sheesh, I sound like Ryan Seacrest. But trust me, I don't have his hair or money!
2. You recently succeeded Blair Garner as host of After Midnite, a 20-year brand. From the outside, it appears seamless. Has it been?
Honestly, I've loved every minute of this new adventure. I was honored to receive the call to host. And then to smoothly work through the transition has actually been great fun. These are the days you dream of as a baby broadcaster, so I'm grateful every day to wake up and live this life. Our goals were to reset After MidNite with fresh energy, a new coat of paint, along with a youthful vibe, indicative of the sound of country music today. We've noticed in just the first couple months that we're speaking to a new generation of country fans late nights, some of whom don't know about the show's 20 year history, but are enjoying the new show. It's a daily rush and routine to maintain it, but our CMT team and I are truly having a blast.
3. You retained a national evening show with CMT Radio Live, meaning you are potentially on someone's station for nearly 12 hours. Do you worry about being over-exposed?
Well, if there is a listener tuned into the same station for 12 hours straight, I hope they have a personal people meter! Every day, we look at both shows separately, built to stand on their own, or in unison. While I think most programmers choose us if they need a great 7p-12m...or 12m-6am show, certainly the opportunity exists to air both. In such cases, we've gotten nothing but positive feedback. I'm personally sick of myself by the end of the day, but listeners don't seem to mind.
4. Your roots, of course are in local radio, in Dallas, Orlando and other markets. Tell us if there's any difference in approaching listeners on a national, vs. local show.
No weather reports. But aside from that, our national show's mission is the same as all my years in local radio - connect and entertain. It's a one-on-one connection with the listeners that matters most. So whether it's me talking about my kids or Luke Bryan sharing a crazy Spring Break story, our shows aim to connect and entertain, just as anyone, local or national, with good radio chops should be doing.
5. There was an outcry for local, local, local emphasis at CRS recently. How do you address that need for your affiliates and do you think nationally syndicated shows compromise that effort for stations?
We want to enhance a station's jock lineup, not take away. I'm not a fan of 24/7 syndication on stations because I think local radio is a vital piece of a great station. However, country music fans are the most interested fans in the music and the artists. Our CMT radio shows tap into that fan passion. And that's why CMT After MidNite and CMT Radio Live are a perfect fit for stations who want to own the 'we know the stars' angle. Listen, when it comes to local and national, the beauty of it is, stations can have both.
6. You also do TV, on CMT. What radio skills help you in that role and vice versa?
I brush my teeth more for TV! Certainly interview skills help and cross both platforms. Radio also teaches you to think on your feet, with no script, and that skill set has been helpful on TV. But ultimately, whether you're on radio or TV, I just try to be a good host. Like at a restaurant, I just want to be your favorite waiter. I want to get you the entrée you came for and yet enhance your overall experience with knowledge and a smile.
7. You were honored by the ACM as National Personality of the Year in 2013. What's it like to realize that your peers think you're doing such a great job?
We just try and put a great show on every night, and the fact that our peers think that is good enough to be named best in the country blows me away. I couldn't believe we won in 2010. So to get another ACM Award in 2013 felt like 'Maybe the first one wasn't a fluke!' No but seriously, it's a huge honor I'll cherish forever. It's humbling and validating.
8. We are seeing an increase in nationally syndicated day parts for Country radio. Blair Garner with Nash, Bobby Bones and Premiere, Shawn Parr on Nash nights. Cody, where is the training ground for people who aspire to do a show like this, when local day parts are being eliminated?
Hopefully, wise programmers will pick the shows, and day parts that work best for their stations to run syndication. If done correctly, there can still be room to foster young talent. I started doing radio on weekends in high school, and I'd hope great programmers would keep their radar up for great talent who deserve a shot.
9. Artists seem to feel very comfortable with you, whether on camera or on the radio. Can you share a couple secrets to gaining their trust during an interview?
Thanks so much. My style is naturally pretty friendly and warm, which I think helps artists feel at home. I think artists also know they're going to have fun when they interview with me at CMT, or a festival, or on their bus. I also prepare for interviews. I figure if you want to ask more than the surface questions, that takes preparation. Another tip is to ask the questions the fans want to know. I'm truly a fan of the artists myself which helps a ton.
10. Your background includes a programming stint at KEGA/Salt Lake City. Do you ever miss being in that role?
Well I still get some of that as Executive Producer of our radio shows. When I look back, I think my career continues to be so satisfying because I work and have worked with so many great people, and in so many different facets of our business. I'd love to program again down the road, but I'm on an awesome ride right now!
1. What's it like walking around Music City, knowing you are officially one of "Nashville's Most Beautiful People?"
Trust me I'm just another guy in the line at Chipotle, and I still have to pay extra for the guacamole, just like every other person.
2. We mentioned your mad interviewing skillz, but can you tell about one that went terribly wrong?
Don't ask Julianne Hough about Ryan Seacrest. #publicist