10 Questions with ... Ralphie Marino
October 17, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
It's a long and awesome road!! Back in 1991, I started at the legendary WZAT (Z102)/Savannah doing nights, then I went to the legendary WOWI (103 JAMZ)/Norfolk, VA for nights, then to the legendary KKLQ (Q106)/San Diego (also doing nights). Then it was on to WERQ (92Q)/Baltimore for afternoons, WQHT (Hot 97)/New York for swing-shift duties (which was beyond words that I was given the chance to crack the mic at the station where I interned and always dreamed of working at). I then left for the station where I grew and learned the most, WJMN (Jam'n 94.5)/Boston for nights. Then my dream #2 came true and I was given the opportunity to do mornings at WKTU/New York. After WKTU, I went back to Boston to WQSX (Star 93.7) for mornings where I worked with Karen Blake who is now one of my dearest friends. I then went to Portsmouth, NH to WERZ (107.1) for mornings. Then the most humbling year and a half of my life was when I was laid off and I worked in construction with a friend from Long Island that I had grown up with. Eventually I moved back to Boston to work at WODS with Karen Blake doing mornings. Finally, I came home to where I am now, WIGX (94X) for mornings.
1) What Got You Interested In Radio?
Radio was all I have ever wanted to do when I was growing up in New York, listening to WABC, WKTU (92KTU), WBLS, WRKS, WHTZ (Z-100), and (Hot 103/97). I was hooked!
2) Who do you consider your radio mentors?
There are so many people that blessed me with their time and caring, and they are all industry pioneers. First, is my Brentwood, NY high school radio instructor Bob Ottone. Without him, I would be working in the city either as a stockbroker or for a Union. It blows me away that Bill Lee, Joel Salkowitz, JoJo Kincaid, Cadillac Jack, Matt Mills, Steve Smith, Frankie Blue, Kevin Weatherley, Chio the Hitman, Al Levine, and so many more molded me and shaped me to where I am now. And, they are all dear friends. It's really rare that your idols teach you the skills to be the best you can be. It has been humbling and awesome!
3) What makes your market unique? How does this compare to other markets or stations you have worked at?
Long Island is a market where we have to behave like we are in market #1 because it is only 20 miles from the radio station as you cross the LIE into Queens. We do it without many of the resources the stations in NYC have at their disposal. I get inspired that we are up to the challenge, every break... every day.
4) What is it about your station that you feel really makes it cut through?
Honestly, we sound good! This Gen X format is a new sound and we work hard every day to bring a great, LOCAL radio station to Long Island. There are great radio stations here on Long Island, on top of their game, so we must work even harder to cut through. Our PD Jon Daniels, Leeana, and Rob Rush all rise to the task!
5) What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
How can we marry the social media explosion, deliver content on the air and online at the same time and still do good radio!!
6) What are your thoughts on Syndication and Voice-Tracking?
It's a necessary evil that should be used in moderation.
7) Who is the most amazing talent you've worked with?
Karen Blake, Michelle Visage, Goumba Johnny, Coach Mike, Suzanne Lewis, Frankie V, Stevie DeMann, doing crossovers with JoJo Kincaid, Ramiro, the Freaking Puerto Rican, and Broadway Bill Lee... yeah, those guys!!!!
8) What is the most rewarding promotion or activity your station has ever been involved with to benefit the community or a charity?
When I was at WERZ/Portsmouth we did an annual "Stuff-A-Bus" campaign. I will always treasure the thrill of filling bus after bus full of toys for the Marines.
9) What advice would you give people new to the business?
Remember to give back to friends coming up in the business, as those ahead of us mentored us. And, in all honesty, learn a second career or a union trade!! I'm not kidding about that one!
10) What is the one truth that has held constant in your career?
Be confident in your talents, and be humble that we are blessed to do what we so love to do!!