10 Questions with ... Josh Strickland
October 24, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
From Flint, Michigan, to Grand Rapids, to Saginaw, to Lansing, to Owosso, to launching a low-power AM station in my hometown of Durand, I've worked all over Michigan. That's where I started my career in the mid-90's at WFNT-AM and WCRZ-FM. I spent five years working the Tri-State in Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky on the air at several stations, most notably WSTO and my recent big adventure has brought me to Asheville NC, where I am PD of Mix 96.5 (WOXL-FM) and WOXL-HD2 (98.1 The RIVER).
1) What was your first job in Radio? Early influences?
I started my career at WFNT-A "Supertalk 1470" in Flint MI eventually moving to sister WCRZ (Cars 108). Scott Seipel (then at WWCK and now at WGER) was at that time, and still is, one of my greatest influences in radio.
2) What format does not exist that should? Would it work?
It's an exciting time for AC and what is more and more commonly being referred to as "Bright AC." There's long since been a void for a true Adult oriented Pop format. Bright AC has a much broader library than Hot AC, but is more contemporary and, dare I say, adventurous, than a traditional AC. The right programming decision for traditional AC's is acknowledging that the AC audience has adapted to our changing world a lot faster than radio has. Call it what you want. I'm an Adult and it's Pop music.
3) What do you think of the national contesting? Is it effective?
Like everything in our industry, the dynamic of national contesting at radio and how listeners respond has changed dramatically. Is it effective? Sure. But you have to understand that your listeners understand much better what national contesting is and what their chance of winning is. This means that you can't try and disguise a national contest as a local contest. Most won't fall for it. It also means that the prize must be something that is worth your audience's extremely valuable time given the high unlikelihood that they will actually win.
Clear Channel gave listeners across America the chance at a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with the iHeartradio festival. Yes, just like every national contest, it was "a chance," but, it was a chance at something truly amazing. Something that even money could not replicate. Money isn't amazing. It's appreciated, but money is not actually loved. ...unless you're part of a money-fetish group. What does winning money generally mean? It means a bill gets paid. There's no emotional connection to money. We don't love money. We love what money gets us, or better yet, gets us OUT of. If you're going to ask your audience to participate in a national contest, it had better be for something they LOVE and can't get anywhere else.
4) Do you think that cyberjocks can beat strong local talent in the long run?
Nope. Local wins every time. Not all the time mind you, but every time. You may be running syndicated programming that is winning your daypart. But before too long, your listeners will crave local, and when they find it, they'll go there. Local is better. Yes, even bad local.
5) What can we be doing with our station web sites to better our stations as a whole?
Our goal needs to be creating a regular online destination, not just a website that exists for specific radio-related interests. What is the first website you go to when you get online? Facebook? Gmail? Fox News? It should be your local radio station site, and when you log into the station's E-mail database you should automatically be connected to your personal E-mail, your Facebook, Twitter, and every other online destination. Site visitors should never have to leave our site to get what they want.
6) Who are your programming mentors?
Scott Seipel (WGER), Jeff Scott (formerly of WEZB and now at NSM Cox-San Antonio), Bud Ford (formerly WKDF who is now meteorologist at WDHN-TV)
7) Who's your favorite air personality NOT on your airstaff? And, what is your favorite radio station outside of the market and why?
Scott Seipel at Mix 106.3 (Saginaw MI) and Alabama at 97.5 NOW FM in Lansing MI are my favorite personalities. Scott's inspiration gave me my foundation. Alabama's inspiration gave me adaptation.
8) What event would you consider important enough, to temporarily stop playing music, to cover?
Local breaking weather and/or a storm and disaster follow-up.
9) Besides your own, what is your favorite Radio Format?
I will always be a Top 40 kid. I love all types of music and I have worked all types of formats, but, I feel most at home at Top 40 and I'm not too old for it...yet.
10) If you were just starting out in Radio today, but you knew what you know now, would you continue forward?
In 1996 I made a couple bucks and got credit in high school doing a job that everyone was envious of. In 2011, entry-level positions are all but gone. You can pretty much only get credit if you're a college student, and people are at best curious about the job. Unfortunately, I don't think that I would be fortunate enough to be able to get into radio now. But, while the "glitz & glamour" is only a sliver of what it used to be, I certainly would if given the opportunity.
1) Biggest change that you'd like to see in the business?
The return of the mom & pop owned radio stations.
2) Describe your favorite meal.
Cheap. (I have two kids and one on the way!)
3) What singer/performer/artist really rocks your world, and why?
I've recently become a big Foster the People fan. Love to watch them perform and I love the CD.