10 Questions with ... Matt Bradley
May 18, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
When I turned 16, they handed me my license and I drove straight to my favorite radio station wanting to know how to get started. Out of school, I landed my first job running the board for the local Don Imus affiliate here in Tulsa. I've been with Cox for 14 years and have been PD of KWEN for a few months.
1) Matt, thanks so much for taking time out to talk with us! What made you first want to get into radio? Did you always know it was something you wanted to do or did it just kind of happen?
When I was 12 I fell in love with radio. It was the night jocks on the Hot AC station that captured my imagination. People like Jan Dean, Duncan Peyton, Carly Rush and Chuck Stevens. Then, I started stalking local morning shows like Carlson and McKenzie. I would show up at their remotes and just sit and watch. It's so cool that I have got to work with a lot of my radio heroes. I also get to apologize to them for sitting and staring at them as a kid. Haha!
2) Not too long ago you were promoted from APD to PD. Have your duties changed a lot with the new title? How do you manage your PD tasks now as well as being on-air?
I was APD for KWEN for 6 years. My PD, Karla Cantrell, prepared me to become a Program Director. I was not too sure how prepared I was until I was in the chair; but so far, everything that has been thrown at me has been stuff I can handle.
Being an on-air PD is a struggle at times. It forces you to focus on what's really important and I feel I'm on the ground with my team. It keeps my head in the game.
3) Speaking of programming, how do you make your decisions of what goes on the air? Do you do test spins, have music meetings, drive around and listen to the song in your car, etc?
I try hard to listen to everything that comes in. When I do listen, I make a note of how I feel about a song. That list of songs is updated every week and my adds come from the top of that list. I also realize I am not my target audience, so I test spin songs with some of the girls on my staff and get opinions. Having a Music Director who is in the middle of my target audience is also a great source of what gets played.
4) I just mentioned test spins. I know you recently spun Jerrod Niemann's "Donkey,"- A very talked about song right now- and received a lot of great phone calls on it from your listeners. What do you think made this song have such success with your audience?
With "Donkey" and every other song we add, we play it and look for the reaction. You have to take your personal feelings on a song out of play. If it's a hit, the audience will let you know. If it's not a hit, the audience will really let you know!
5) We've asked a few others, so we'd like your opinion too; What do you think it's going to take to "break" a new female in this format?
That is a tough one. I look at Miranda and Carrie and I see two stars with strong local ties to my market. We (as a format) are very hard on female Country artists. I'm not sure if it's us as programmers or something else. Someone like Cassadee Pope or Kacey Musgraves has a tough road ahead even though they are very talented. Ultimately it's up to the audience to decide, and right now, Country is very much dominated by male artists.
6) You were born in raised in Tulsa and now you're getting to be on-air and program a radio station in your hometown market. What's that been like for you?
I am very blessed at not having been moved around the country, but at the same time, I have probably missed out on a lot. The hardest part is when an artist comes to town, my whole family has my phone number so they all call wanting tickets! Sometimes I have to hide!
7) Have you noticed any recent trends in the Tulsa market? Does your audience lean more traditional or are they open to songs that "push the envelope" in this format?
The audience craves new music. They really want to hear the next big thing and they want to know all there is to know about the artists. There are so many artists from Oklahoma and my audience gives those artists huge props. Just put a crown on Blake Shelton. That guy can do no wrong. He's proud to be from Oklahoma and my audience has his back.
I have data that shows they love Florida-Georgia Line, Cole Swindell and Chase Rice. Yes, they love to push the envelope but they also fire back to traditional with Chris Young, George Strait and Garth Brooks.
8) You're currently in a competitive market. What are some things that you think stations need to do to ensure they "come out on top?"
You have to be your audience. Do events where your audience is already going. Don't try to drag them to events they would never be at. Be real, and be proud of where you are.
9) What is the first thing you look for when a new artist is being brought by for a radio tour or show in your market that makes you want to invest in them and their music?
Every artist is different. Sometimes you can see that they are going to be huge. I enjoy talking with them and learning a little bit about how they got to where they are. Sometimes you can just tell that an artist is headed to greatness. When you do, grab on and ride with them!
10) You're surrounded by Country music all day long. When you get in your car after work, what do you listen to? What kind of music did you grow up on?
I grew up on oldies and a mixture of other things. My tastes are all over the place. Every payday I buy two or three new albums. In my car I usually make CD's that have all sorts of music on them. The one in my car right now has songs from Rod Stewart, Van Halen, Genesis, Elvis, Beatles, Bill Withers and lots of album cuts from Country artists.
1) We all know you love Star Wars. What is your favorite Star Wars movie and why is it better than the others?
Return Of The Jedi! I was 8 when my parents took me to see it. I remember the playground conversations from friends who saw it before me. They described what Darth Vader looked like under the helmet and then seeing it for the first time was crazy! I have Star Wars props all over my office. Proud to be a geek!