10 Questions with ... Charlie Maxx
October 3, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Some of the highlights include:
- WAYV (95.1)/Atlantic City - MD/Afternoon Drive
- WJRZ/Toms River, NJ - APD/MD/Afternoon Drive
- KZFM (Hot Z 95.5)/Corpus Christi, TX - PD/Morning Drive
- FMQB - Associate Editor/Adult Contemporary
- 96.5 The Point/Philadelphia - Mornings
- Mix 95.7/Philadelphia - Middays
- Mix 107.3/Washington DC,
- Smooth Jazz 105.9/Washington DC - Mornings
- Metro Networks/Washington DC-Baltimore
- Mix 106.5/Baltimore - PT-Swing
- WBEB (B101)/Philadelphia - Nights
1) What Got You Interested In Radio?
I have always loved music... and talking. Growing up in New York City, I was lucky enough to be around for the launch of Z100. That summer of 1983, I was in high school and I was completely blown away by what I heard coming out of the speakers. I wasn't entirely sure what IT was, but I knew I had to do IT. You mean there's a job that lets you play music and talk all the time?!? Sign me up!!
2) What makes your station or market unique? How does this compare to other markets or stations you have worked at?
B101 Philadelphia. What can I say. Not only is it THE radio station in Philadelphia, it has been for years. But the station is well known nationwide. Those are some hefty call letters to be able to stake a claim to. I had spent almost ten years in the Philadelphia market during my career and B101 was always the station you strived to get close to. You knew you were never going to beat it, but you wanted to bask in its glow. What makes B101 so unique in today's radio world is it is a stand alone operation. We support ourselves. There is no giant corporation that we feed into and can rely on. I think that makes everyone at B101 strive to keep up the success that has been a constant at B101 for years. It also is an institution in Philadelphia and something I am proud to be part of. We just won the Marconi Award for Major Market Station of the Year. I am very proud to be part of the team!
3) What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
Complacency. If radio doesn't figure out a way to become relevant in the lives of the younger generations than it will soon become obsolete. I see it with my kids and their friends. They do not find new music on the radio. In fact, in their reality, radio is something you listen to in the car and only in the car. Most of them get music from the internet first, TV exposure and word of mouth. Tuning into the radio is not instinctual like it was years ago. Ask anyone under 15 where they listen to music or entertainment. Radio most likely won't be in the top three. That's an issue today's industry should be thinking about.
4) How do you stay in tune with your audience?
I live my life! I have the unique opportunity of actually being in the demo I am serving. When you look at the typical AC listener profile it pretty much describes my life. I am a full-time working mother of two kids who enjoys a busy social life, but is also committed to her family and on most days is just trying to keep her head above water and all the balls in the air. Can I relate to my listeners? We attend PTA meetings together...we meet shopping at the clearance rack at Kohl's. And after we take care of everyone else, it's time for us. We spend hours online paying bills, connecting with social media, and when we finally get a minute maybe we play a game of words with our friends.
5) What is the biggest misconception about your station?
I'll admit that I fell victim to it as well. When I first started talking to Chuck about coming back to Philly, of course I tuned in to see where the station was at these days. My initial reaction was, "Wow! This station is a lot hipper than I thought it would be." Most people who haven't listened recently may be surprised to find out how "contemporary" this AC actually is. It is not the same station that it was years ago and it is much more musically active than it gets credit for, even though we have a large "at work" audience it is by no means "quiet."
6) How do you prep yourself for your radio shift?
You mean we're supposed to stop? I am constantly prepping! I see things for on air use all the time in my daily life - I eaves drop on line at the supermarket, or picking up the kids from school to hear what people are buzzing about. You would be surprised how much you can learn at the bus stop. Of course, I spend hours looking for content online, reading magazines, and newspapers. I do a phone topic every night, and you never know where inspiration will strike. Twitter is a great resource for content, especially for someone with no attention span.
7) Favorite artist you have met?
There are so many to choose from. Most recently I'd have to pick Rob Thomas! He is an amazing musician with a fantastic sense of humor. He's not bad to look at either. This is a rough job.
8) Which new artists do you expect to still be playing in five years?
Lady GaGa will be around, although I suspect she will be nothing like she is today. She evolves daily. I think Adele will also be relevant and I believe you will see more and more crossover from country artists.
9) Please describe the worst promotion you've ever been part of?
In 1989 I was at WAYV in Atlantic City and The Simpsons were the hottest thing around. The station did a "Don't Have A Cow" promotion. We actually gave away a real live cow! The day that we picked the winner the station drove the cow around Atlantic City in a truck which was reminiscent of a hayride. In the back with the cow was someone in a Bart Simpson costume, waving to people as the truck was making its way to the boardwalk. Did I mention who the only staff member tiny enough to fit in the Bart Simpson costume was? That'd be me. WORST PROMOTION EVER!
10) What advice would you give people new to the business?
Learn EVERYTHING. I mean everything about this business. Both sides: sales and on air. If you can, learn about business in general. You can never know too much and you should never stop learning. This business constantly changes. How we impact the audience changes and so does technology. Complacency is not an option.
1) What's been your biggest disappointment in Radio today?
We need to make radio compelling again.
2) How often does your airstaff front and back-sell songs?
One of the more unique features on B101 took a little getting used to. We incorporate song tags at the end of every song naming the title and artist of the song. When I first started at B101 I stepped on those tags quite a few times. Especially on the cold endings!
3) What's your favorite radio commercial?
We are running these spots for the Mussel Industry Council of New Jersey and they are so entertaining. The first time I heard it I laughed out loud and had a hard time stopping when I had to do our live return. These spots are about how mussels are an aphrodisiac and the one spot has a woman calling her neighbor asking if she can watch the kids because she and her husband need some alone time. She says, "Sure! When?" The woman says, "Now! My husband is on the way!" The spot ends with a doorbell ringing incessantly and loud banging on the door. It's very clever and relatable if you have kids...and a healthy appetite!
4) Most of us have known or even worked for a "colorful" owner/GM/air talent. Care to share a story? (The names can be changed to protect the innocent).
This was very early in my career... very early. I worked at a radio station in New England where I did a live midday show on the AM and recorded my breaks on cart for the midday show on the FM. We ran the Drake Chenault reel to reel music and cart carousels. In addition to those duties, I was also responsible for cleaning the jock bathroom. After all, that's "woman work." Yep! My PD told me, "that's woman work." The glass ceiling was floors above that place. I know what you're thinking, but yes, I did clean it!