10 Questions with ... Bryan "B-Dub" Washington
November 9, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
B-Dub grew up in Creswell, Oregon...just 10 miles south of Eugene. After working in radio all over the country, he returned home to Oregon in May 2010 and has been a key part of the station since then. He's newly married, and he and his wife Chelsea enjoy the sports, music, and natural beauty that Portland has to offer. B-Dub's energy is unmatched in Portland, and you can tell that each and every weekday 3p-7p on KUPL (The Bull)/Portland.
B-Dub also plays a major part in the Bull's success as APD and MD for the station. He's also host of the nationally syndicated "Buckwild Saturday Night," which airs on The Bull Saturday Evenings from 7p to midnight.
1. Hey B-Dub, congrats on going national with "Buckwild Saturday Night." Let's start with the show's name - how did you come up with it?
When Rich O'Brien, Scott Mahalick and I sat down and started brainstorming this show at CRS last year, we wanted to have something that defined a good time, defined craziness, and sounded like a party. Buckwild Saturday Night does that perfectly.
2. Tell us about the show - what will listeners hear when they tune in?
They're going to hear an up-tempo high energy party on the radio...and we won't have to shove it down their throats that it is. If you have to constantly tell someone that "it's a party" or what not...then it's probably not. The show is very interactive, and listener driven, both on social media and on the phones. I'm basically their neighbor, I just happen to be on the radio. They'll also hear their favorite country stars "checking in" from wherever they are that night. It's also localized for each of our affiliates. My goal is to be a part of each and every affiliate as much as I can, and we're able to do that with today's technology.
3. What is it about Saturday night that allows for a looser atmosphere, crazier music and an "anything goes" attitude?
It's just a fun time to be on the radio. You often get a lot of cume sampling on the weekends, so why not crank up the energy on Saturday Nights and have some fun? I wouldn't say the music is "crazier"...we're playing the hits, just keeping it more mid and up-tempo...and occasionally we dip the tune spoon in the ballad salad.
4. You're the host of BuckWild but we hear other voices too - tell us about your crew on the show.
It's not really a set "crew" yet but more listeners and friends coming in and hanging out to provide some additional energy, texture, and color to the show. As we identify the right folks, you'll hear more of a consistent ensemble cast.
5. How do you balance a party, youth oriented show with family friendly content?
I think back to one of my first airchecks at KUPL with Scott Mahalick...and he mentioned what we call "The Shrek Factor" when it comes to "blue humor". That movie is great for all ages, there are tons of innuendos that adults appreciate, and the kids can laugh at too, without picking up on. That's what we strive for. Tiptoe up to the line, but not cross it, you know? Saturday Nights are a melting pot of listeners, so you have to be able to relate to and emotionally touch everyone.
6. Of course, you have a day job too, handling APD/Afternoon responsibilities for KUPL (The Bull)/Portland. The Bull is also an up-tempo, high energy radio station. Did this serve as inspiration for the concept of 'Buckwild?"
To a point, yes...mainly what we did was took a look at what was missing from the format. There are plenty of countdown shows, we have several quality evening shows that are there, overnights are locked up. So...what's happening on Saturday Nights? The answer was...not much. Some inspiration also came from the high quality shows on the pop side with this concept...not pre-packaged cookie cutter show that you can tell is pre-recorded, but a truly LIVE show where you can instantly react to what's happening at that moment. John Garabedian did just that with Open House Party back in the day, and Romeo has done it with SaturdayNightOnline. The model works when executed right. Coincidentally, Rich O'Brien from Superadio, produced OHP for years, and co-created SaturdayNightOnline...so we had a great blueprint in place from Day 1.
7. How different is your mindset from doing your local, afternoon show on "The Bull" to nationally syndicated Saturday nights with "Buckwild?" Do you have to amp yourself up for the weekend show?
I wouldn't say it's different at all...coming from the Top 40 format a few years ago, I'm naturally high energy to begin with, so it's a great fit. We ran the show locally for six months before we launched nationally, and the philosophy is still the same...have fun, and do great radio.
8. What are your first-year expectations for clearing stations on this show? Will we see 50 or more affiliates this time next year? More?
I'd love to be at 50+ affiliates in a year. My job is simple, do the best show possible, and give stations a reason to put this on. We have great facilities at Alpha Media to do just that, and I'm always reachable for our affiliates. When combined with great leadership from Larry Wilson, Bob Proffitt, Scott Mahalick, Milt McConnell our Portland Market Manager, and great partners at Superadio in Jack Bryant and Rich O'Brien...it makes my job pretty easy.
9. Country as a format has been evolving into a real 18-34 product in recent years. Can we continue to grow listening levels in that age cell - or, even sustain what we have now? Aren't they supposed to be the fickle ones?
When you give people what they want to hear, then that isn't an issue. We act like this started a couple years ago, but that growth among 18-34 has been happening since Taylor Swift debuted. As long as the hits keep coming, the format will continue to grow.
10. What artists just now starting do you think can help grow the interest among younger Country fans? Who do you see as the next generation of stars?
There are too many to name, but I think a few standouts are Sam Hunt, Dustin Lynch, Thomas Rhett, and Brett Eldredge.
I'm in Portland for 36 hours and crave a great, local beer - where are we going for that?
We're going to Bridgeport Brewing.
What song should Country radio be playing a lot of right now, that they aren't?
Whichever one _____________ from _______________ records tells you you're not playing enough of...how's that for a safe answer?
Most embarrassing moment on the air.
When I was doing nights at WXSS in Milwaukee, I plugged in a Microwave for an on-air bit where I was going to blow up eggs in it. I heard a beeping as I finished my talk break. Suddenly, everything shut down. I had plugged it into the same power strip that the board, on-air computer, and everything else was plugged into. Took the station off-air for an hour and a half. Thank God it wasn't PPM back then. Chris Tarr, the engineer at Entercom Milwaukee, still talks about it to this day.