10 Questions with ... Gary Nolan
September 19, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started in 1974 in a little town in Southern Maryland as a jock. My first PD job was in 1985 at WGBB on Long Island. In 1986, I became the second PD in the history of WLTW. In 1992 I became the PD of CBS's WLTE in Minneapolis for 12 years, then PD for KRWM/Seattle for three years. I started at KOSI/Denver in 2008, also doing PM Drive. (I've left out the low-lights! But I've only been fired three times which is not bad for a 30 year career!)
1) What Got You Interested In Radio?
I always loved Pop Music. I couldn't sing, so I thought it would be fun to introduce the music on the radio.
2) What makes your station or market unique? How does this compare to other markets or stations you have worked at?
KOSI has dynamic personalities! A lot of AC stations don't have the strong talent KOSI has. Murphy & Denise host a fun, and very active morning show. Jackie Selby is the perfect mid-day host. The afternoon guy (me) is kind of lame, and at night we brought back Rashke who is an amazing talent who was with KOSI for nine years.
3) What is it about your station that you feel really makes it cut through?
The station is very broad. That gives us a mass appeal. Our listeners will accept music from the Eagles to Lady Gaga!
4) How do you position the station musically?
We play the most popular songs for today's 35-54 year old female. Today's women are very much in tune to today's artists, such as Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, etc
5) What are some of the challenges you face as a programmer in today's radio environment?
It used to be you would only have to pay attention to what came out of the speakers. We are now brand managers managing all of our digital platforms.
6) Is Arbitron's Personal People Meter (PPM) currently available in your market, or in a neighboring market? What are your thoughts on this new ratings technology?
The people meter promised to take the wild swings out of ratings, but it does just the opposite. However, it is a better way to see how panelists react to changes, rather than waiting three or four months to see it in the diaries. Even after two years in Denver, we're still learning.
7) How are you using social media to market your radio station?
Social media is another way to engage your listeners, and we use it to help our branding.
8) How is the relationship between programmer and record label changing? For better or worse?
Very good, we get a lot of support from the labels. The downside is that now there is now a lot of paperwork required to make anything happen.
9) How much leeway do you give your jocks to talk between records?
They are all veterans, so they know what's important and how to position the station. They are free to change liners and live promos as long as they get the main message across.
10) What approach do you take after a soft book?
Focus on the positive things, and realize there are things that sometimes you can't control.
1) What has been your station's biggest accomplishment?
Hiring me. :)
2) Who do you consider your radio mentors?
Long-time radio guy Phil Redo. Phil was the first PD of WLTW/New York, and long-time GM of WLIT/Chicago.
3) What is the most rewarding promotion or activity your station has ever been involved with to benefit the community or a charity?
Every year we do our Ronald McDonald Radiothon... so emotional.
4) Besides your own, what format would you like to program and why?
Sports. But only in New York. I could talk about the Yankees all day!
5) What was the biggest gaffe you've made on air? (dead air ... forget a mic was still on ... etc.)
I pre-recorded a year end show for WFTQ in Worcester in the 80's, and I missed an edit point that said, "Oh F@#$!... Let's do a pick up from here." I ran to the studio and put the phones on hold!