10 Questions with ... Will Calder
February 4, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Facebook: djwillcalder / Twitter: @djwillcalder
1: What were the steps in your journey that brought you to Power 96 in Miami?
My dad was a musician, so I grew up around music. He was hoping that I'd follow in his footsteps and play the piano or saxophone or something, but that never did it for me.
It was when I turned on the radio and found B96 Chicago in the early '90s that made me go, "Holy Fraggle Rock, I want to do this!" The jocks, the presentation, the music, the classic mix shows, the style and the vibe all just spoke to me. It would keep me up all night with my Walkman rigged to the antenna on top of the house just so I could get a decent signal. I probably didn't do as good as I should have in school because I would stay up all night too much listening to B96. This is important because Power 96 and B96 shared similar lanes throughout the years. I believe that has helped me to understand the musical history of Miami and Power 96.
Also, that little Internet station I ran for five years, iPartyRadio.com, is really what shifted my career from production to programming. Dom Theodore, formerly of Clear Channel and most recently CBS, specifically cited my passion and execution on iPartyRadio as one of the main reasons he hired me with an interest of honing my programming potential.
Of course, we can't forget my time as a Teen Superstar Junior High School Social DJ, High School Mixtape Entrepreneur, Roller Rink DJ, my days at WKIE/WKIF/WDEK, WXSS and WMYX.
2: Power 96 is a heritage Rhythmic station; how does the sound of today's dance music fit into that mix?
Dance music has always been important to Power 96 -- it's been a part of the recipe since day 1. Of course, the amount of dance music really is dictated by the ever-changing music cycle and supply & demand. But, even during the height of the crunk era, there was always a few dance songs that really broke through and made a difference. Now more than ever, that 24-year-old Ccuban female who lives in Hialeah is telling us she loves stuff like "Animals" by Martin Garrix and Calvin Harris' "Thinking About You," so we give it to her!
3: You've risen from the rank of mix show DJ to programmer, how much leeway do you give your mixers to break new music on their shows?
There's a time and a place for everything. While mixing on the radio is VERY different from mixing in the club, it's also very SIMILAR. The day, the time and location all have an impact on how you would program your set in the club -- it's no different for radio. Our weekday noon mix show is much more playlist-controlled than Cato K's Saturday Night Club Sessions show. Our team totally gets that and truly thinks about where their listeners are and what they are doing while they're on the tables. We also have bi-weekly discussions of what's working in the streets, both in Hialeah and South Beach. If they feel strongly about a record, we all listen to it together and decide whether and where it belongs.
4: Social media is an unstoppable machine right now. What's your strategy for dealing with social media and how important is it for the station to be visible on that medium?
It's extremely important for us, more and more we see our audience shifting from calling and texting to tweeting and hash tagging. It's quickly becoming the way Millennials communicate with the world. It's also a place where people can express how much they love or dislike something and it's our job to show them that we've heard them. Our jocks make sure that the conversation stays alive by monitoring and reposting Tweets, Instagrams, Vines, Pins and Facebook posts. We also try to make sure that anything we post has compelling content that our audience cares about, maybe pulling on some emotional strings along the way.
5: There's a big push from labels about their records being "THE" record of the various festivals around the country, how much weight does that hold for you when making a decision on going on a record for Power 96?
Now more than ever, it's easy to find the stories on "the" records that really make the noise. Look no further than social media and Shazam to start. An example: Martin Garrix "Animals" has been floating around in the club and festival scene for the better part of 2013. Late Q3, I started to notice a trend as "Animals" was being used all over the world on Instagram and Vine -- there's two examples that I specifically recall: The "Despicable Me" Animals video and Vine Famous Jerome Jarre used it in one of his "when the beat drops" vines where people fell to the ground on beat in middle of a busy Manhattan intersection. These videos, along with the fact that club/mix show jocks were playing "Animals" mashed up with various pop-vocals, had me thinking there might be something with the record beyond mix show. Based on that gut feeling alone, I put "Animals" in callout and it came back Top 5 -- the rest is history. More recently we've been similar trends with "Turn Down for What" and "Boy Oh Boy." "The" records will find you if you know where to look.
6: What's the best kept secret of Miami life?
For me, Mary Brickell Village is where it's at -- it's got a little of that Battery Park City / Lower Manhattan / FiDi vibe and those are the areas I miss most in NYC. Plus, it's within walking distance of downtown Miami where I live. Don't get me wrong, I love my South Beach, but sometimes I just don't feel like sitting in the traffic to get on and off the beach.
Oh, and of course -- my apartment's balcony has a PERFECT view of the Ultra Music Festival Stage. I'm in the planning phases of my Ultra VIP parties now. I'm considering charging admission. ;)
7: If you had to choose between being a mixer, on-air talent, doing production or in programming, what would you choose and why?
You know, I love being in programming these days, it's definitely the direction I've been taking my career for the past five years or so. But I'm still doing all of the above being the midday guy that has a mix show and the Imaging Dir. The foundation of my career has been the ability to multi-task, I'm not sure I could have it any other way.
8: I'm hungry and on Collins Avenue, where should I go to eat?
If you're on 14th and Collins, head west 1 block and get a sandwich at Le Sandwicherie. It's a tiny like sandwich shop, but the food is killer. Quick, clean and delicious -- and you can walk it right back to the beach.
9: What have been some of the best on-air promotions that you've been involved in?
About a year ago, some crazy thief stole the "6" from our logo and we became Power 9_ for almost a month! Management offered a $10,000 reward for the return of our "6" and people all over South FLA began the search. Yes, it's a play on the Fugitive game, but instead of the cash being stolen, it's was a part of our logo. As one of my first major projects with Power 96, myself and bossman Pio had to really think out all the little details before the 6 was stolen. Everything had to seamlessly change: on-air, on-site and online. Everything from the logos on the building to the URL of our website to the business cards we carried all had been changed to really add to the validity of the promotion. After the 6 was stolen and everything was changed, the one thing that stood out to me was how dialed in and passionate the audience was about the promotion. They got it instantly and were playing along. We even had Opie and Anthony trash us on their show, which was hilarious. It got people talking and we all had fun.
A close second would be when I was at 923Now during Nick Cannon's Balloon Dog stunt -- I'll never forget the blowing up of 100s of helium balloons at 3:30 in the morning to taking calls from animal rights activists from all over the world for days after the event.
10: Who plays Will Calder on the big screen?
Barney Rubble or Seth McFarlane (depends on who you ask.)
What city has the best pizza?
While I've found some great pizza here in Miami, I miss my Harry's Italian back in FiDi Manhattan. That is where it's at!