10 Questions with ... Tad Lemire
October 10, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WKVT/Brattleboro, VT (87-91)
- WOKO/Burlington, VT (91-95)
- WCTK/Providence, RI (95-2006)
- WEGQ/Boston, MA (1997-1999)
- WSNE/Providence, RI (2006-2009)
- WEZN (Star 99.9)/Bridgeport, CT (2010-Present)
1) What Got You Interested In Radio?
My dad, known as "Southern VT's Duke of Rock N' Roll," began hosting a "Friday night Oldies" show in 1983. I was eleven at the time, and convinced the guy running local spots on our AM station to let me press the buttons. After years of practice with my Mr. Microphone, they let me on the air at 14!
My dad had pursued radio as a career as a young man. He eventually got out of the business before returning as a hobby in '83. It was cool for me to be successful at something he always wanted to do. When he died in early 2000, I did his final Friday night Oldies show which ended a 17 year run.
2) Who do you consider your radio mentors?
I've learned so much from too many people to mention, but two stand out: David Underhill gave me my first job and has been giving me amazing advice ever since. Rick Everett helped me learn how to do great morning radio.
3) What makes your market unique? How does this compare to other markets or stations you have worked at? And what is it about Star 99.9 that really makes it cut through?
We cover a vast territory which includes small towns, big cities, Long Island and the NY suburbs. It's great because opinions and viewpoints on phone topics vary greater than in any other area I've worked. It also means that saying "yes" to an appearance might include an hour and a half driving time. The station is unique in that Cox Media Group does radio the way it's supposed to be done. There's always a human being in the studio. What? I know...I'm just as shocked as you are.
As far as Star 99.9 goes, the music is better because it really moves. We are the fun Adult station to listen to, and we're very involved in the community.
4) How do you prep yourself for your radio shift?
I gather information all day (see above) and then hold a conference call with my co-host and producer every night at 6am to sort through it all and brainstorm ideas. I record audio off TV, and I look for viral videos, etc. etc.
5) What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
Some (not all) radio companies should have their licenses revoked for their lack of public service. You shouldn't be able to be on the air in a market you've never even visited. People aren't stupid, and they can get music anywhere. It's the stuff between the songs that matters. I would've never had the opportunities I had if overnights had been voice tracked in the late 80's and early 90's.
6) Who is the most amazing talent you've worked with?
Tommy Edison. He's been blind since birth and he runs circles around his sighted counterparts. He is my co-host, phone screener, and traffic reporter. In his spare time he does film reviews as "The Blind Film Critic" and is a laugh a minute.
7) Your thoughts on Syndication and Voice-Tracking?
There's nothing worse than having a tornado rip through your town, and tuning in the radio to hear some clown from out of town talking about how great the station's website is. I've heard it done, and it would make me long for Pandora too!
8) How do you stay in tune with your audience?
I talk to them on Facebook, on the phones, and when I'm out at events. I ask a lot of questions and observe life. Then there's the stuff everyone does like watching shows on Lifetime and reading every mommy blog and Cosmo article I can get my hands on. What? You don't do that?
9) What has been your station's biggest accomplishment?
During the recent tropical storm Irene, nearly a million of our listeners were without power. So, we joined forces with our other stations for a "trimulcast," giving out public information, helping people locate ice, and giving our listeners the opportunity to air their grievances against the local power companies. Most other radio stations in the area could only pretend to know what was going on.
10) What is the one truth that has held constant in your career?
You need to earn every listener and be willing to do any and everything asked of you. If you feel like you're above dressing up as the station mascot on 100 degree day and handing out candy to screaming kids, you'll probably find yourself having to go find a "real" job.
1) Who is your best friend in the business?
It's hard to pick just one. At the moment, it would be my PD Chris Eagan. Chris and I go back to when we both worked for Coast 93.3 in Providence. He's a talented programmer, a decent guy, and a great collaborator. Basically, It's easier to mention him in this article than it would be to deal with the wrath that would await me if I didn't.
2) What are your thoughts on the new season of American Idol?
Ryan Seacrest is a punk!
3) What career path would you be following had it not been for this industry?
I think I would be a great realtor, public speaker, and stop-action film maker... and not necessarily in that order.
4) Do you have any good stalker stories?
When I was doing nights in Providence a young lady named Dawn, who called often asked me if there was a "chance for us." When I said "no" she went crazy. Eventually I had her father on the phone asking me to come over for supper while simultaneously threatening to sue me for leading his daughter on. While I was laughing about that, she got on the phone and said "you know those secret messages you send me during the weather forecasts." I had no idea what she was talking about until I realized that whenever I said "chance of rain by dawn" she thought I was talking about her. I quickly changed it to "chance of rain by the CRACK of Dawn!"
5) What was the biggest gaffe you've made on air? (dead air ... forget a mic was still on ... etc.)
I played an entire Kenny G song on my first shift at a country station without realizing it. The other one I'll take to the grave because it was on the station I currently work for. Try to find it on the logger Chris Eagan!