10 Questions with ... Randi Kirshbaum
September 26, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started my career as the only woman on the air in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
- KQRS Minneapolis (1970-1975)
- WKTK Baltimore (1975-1976)
- WHFS Washington DC (1976-1978)
- WBCN Boston (1978-1983)
- WMGX Portland, ME (1982-present)
1) Congratulations! You recently won the Marconi "AC Station Of The Year!" As any radio person knows, this is one of the highest honors that can be received in this business. Please tell us how it feels to win this award, and what do you attribute to this success?
It is incredibly gratifying to be the recipient of such amazing recognition and honor from my peers. Success is not based on one thing you do to win an award. It is cumulative, and developed over time as you pay attention to the basics. It's the thousands of little things you do every day to realize your vision. It also takes a great team effort and a commitment to the community of which you are part. Oh...and you need to have fun doing it!
2) Who do you consider your radio mentors?
Back in 1970, when I was 16 years old, Shel Danielson, the PD of KQRS (known on air as Alan Stone) took a chance on a young girl, and taught me the most important radio lesson I've ever learned. That is to talk to the listener as a friend, one-to-one. It's a lesson that has served me well over the years.
At the time Shel hired me, he said, "I'll give you one airshift", but don't expect to make a career out of it. I reminded him of that when I was inducted in the Maine Association of Broadcasters' Hall of Fame in 2006!
3) What Got You Interested In Radio?
Okay, this is cliché, but I was one of those kids who went to bed with a transistor radio (I know I'm dating myself) under my pillow. I grew up in Minneapolis and LOVED to listen to WLS out of Chicago. When I met John Landecker for the first time, shortly after I started in radio, I felt like a giddy teenager. Oh wait....I was a giddy teenager.
4) What has been your station's biggest accomplishment?
Our biggest accomplishment (literally) was creating a 1062 lb. "Whoopie Pie!" (A delicious Maine confection consisting of a round chocolate cake outer shell filled with creamy goodness inside).
We set the world record, and the Maine legislature passed a bill naming the Whoopie Pie the official treat of Maine! The coverage was phenomenal, it was picked up by every major news outlet in the world and we were on TV in India, the Philippines, China, as well as less exotic places like England, France, and the U.S.
5) What do you like best about working in this format?
I love that Hot AC it is a female targeted format, and for some reason I understand women. I know what it's like to be a wife, mom, chauffeur, cleaning lady, scheduler... all while holding a full time job. Women have to be good at keeping the balls in the air, and with this format we are able to help them accomplish that, and hopefully entertain them at the same time.
6) Besides your own, what format would you like to program and why?
I would like to program a free-form community station, the type that really doesn't exist anymore (except in Blue Hill, Maine).
7) How did you get your on-air name?
I just made it up. My real name was Randi Rock and I thought Kirshbaum would be a much better radio name.
8) What's the closest you ever came to getting arrested for an on-air stunt? Or did you actually get arrested?
I never got arrested, but when I worked at WHFS in Washington DC, we were located in a high rise apartment building in Bethesda, MD. I used to sneak down to the laundry room during my show and do my laundry. One night I got locked out. When the listeners heard the end groove of the record over and over, someone called the police, who came to the station only to find me outside the door, holding my basket of laundry (at least it was clean).
9) Do you have any good stalker stories? Misty requests? "Fatal Attractions?"
I once had a guy write me weekly letters from prison telling me that he wanted to cut my hair when he got out.
10) What is the one truth that has held constant in your career?
If you treat listeners with respect and eschew the lowest common denominator theory, they will reward you with loyalty.
1) What career path would you be following had it not been for this industry?
I'm not sure? But it would definitely be something that involves being bossy and talking a lot.