10 Questions with ... Jon McDaniel
January 6, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
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1985 transferred to Nathan Hale High School from another area high school to become a part of KNHC. Being quarter-Pacific Islander, I was pretty much able to choose where I wanted to go. I graduated in '87 and continued to volunteer for a weekly air shift. When Shellie Hart jumped ship to go to Nastymix Records, she recommended me for the job.
In 1990 I became MD, which luckily I was able to learn on the fly, in my home market. I learned a lot over the first five years, made a lot of connections, and was able to use these relationships to get the station on several record label promo lists. Finally we were off the college and Alternative lists, and on to hip-hop! YES! Eventually, Dance music made a comeback and we got on to those lists.
1) You have been at KNHC for close to 30 years; what do you credit your longevity to and what, if any, changes have you seen over the years?
I'm a Seattle kid, so my family and life is here. It would take a lot to get me out of the area. My family is not here anymore. They moved to Hawaii, but how do I give up this sweet job?
Change? Just a little. In '90 I came with my own grease pencil, splicing tape and razor blade. I used to record music from turntable, or CD, to carts, but only before bulk erasing and splice finding them. We had one computer that was under lock and key; it was this machine I used to use the word processor on to do our weekly chart, then printed it up on a parchment scroll. :-) All of this stuff has been replaced by my one computer at work. We also used to have local record reps, who would call me when they cleaned out extra promo CDs from their offices. Remember, Julie Rae McLeod? Steve Walker? Stan Forman?
2) KNHC is located in a high school (Nathan Hale High); what challenges are there for you in programing the station?
Being in a high school is actually pretty cool because we get hints at trends just by watching, and listening to what's happening in the hallways (not for the faint of heart). We have to play extra squeaky clean edits of songs so as not to offend the students, parents, school administration or school board.
3) Being based in a high school, do lyrics or subject matter come into play when determining songs that can air on station?
All the time. Some songs we simply can't play because of the graphic content (sex, drugs, alcohol, etc.).
4) Twice a year KNHC holds a pledge drive to raise funds to operate the station. Can you tell us more about these drive ... as well as what the goals are and how people can help support the station more throughout the year?
Being a public radio station, we depend on twice-yearly pledge drives to help fund our operation. They happen in Spring and Fall. Ways people can help are to license their tracks for our station compilation series, a thank-you gift for our donors, when we send a request. We offer a sustaining membership option for ongoing monthly donations instead of a one-time payment. Anytime anyone who wants to pledge can go to: c895.org/donate
5) Are all the on-air jocks at the station students and what type do they get to be on the air?
All the on air jocks during the school-day are students. They go through three different levels as an announcer. 1) Board op 2) Board op with ability to read live liners on-air 3) full student announcer with four to five talk-sets per hour. We have been doing the three levels since I was a student here in '85.
6) What is a typical music meeting like? Do the students decide the music?
Music meetings consist of three local people and one from California. One of the three locals is our student MD, who has input. Other than the sound of the song, and whether it fits in with what we do, we also use the three S's when considering songs to add to our rotation: sales, streams, shazam. Mostly we shuffle songs around in the various categories we have, making sure that the category counts are the same as when we started.
7) KNHC is very aggressive when it comes to new music. Where do you or your staff go to find it?
Luckily, the most people in our music meetings, and our specialty/mix show DJs live the lifestyl, and pay attention to the scene, the blogs, music sites, etc. We discover a lot of music that way, and listen to various overseas radio stations (Capital London, BBC Radio 1, etc.) to see what's happening over there.
8) Do you use research when determining if music will move up or down in rotation?
We do! But only the research we have access to: sales, streams shazam, custom panel charts, listener reaction.
9) How do you use social media at the station? How much interaction is there with your listeners?
The station has a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus (what?) and Vine. Individual hosts, a student social media team and myself create the posts. There seems to be a good level of interaction on each platform, with Twitter, and Facebook being the most active at this time.
10) How do you utilize the mix shows and how much freedom do you give the DJs in their sets?
I send the charts to the mixers each week, and ask that they keep their ratios at about 80% current to 20% new. Unless I want to hear what a particular song sounds like, I let them pick the new songs they play.
There have been a number of great alumni at KNHC, as well as Nathan Hale High School, any of them stand out to you?
Notable Alumni: Eric Powers (iHeartMedia/Seattle), Hari Sreenivassan (anchor / Sr. Correspondent PBS @NewsHour).
You play basketball a few times a week, what's the key to defending you during a game?
Come play, and find out, Mr. Dance! I've got post moves in the paint, and a pull-up jumper for ya!