10 Questions with ... Jason Bowers
October 31, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WAEB (B104)/Allentown, PA - Weekends/Swing and Promotions Director
- KGGI-FM (99.1 KGGI)/Riverside, CA - Weekends/Swing
- KLYY-FM (Y-107)/Los Angeles, CA - Weekends/Swing and Programming Coordinator
- KLLY-FM (Kelly 95-3), Bakersfield, CA - Swing
- KIIS-FM (102.7 KIIS FM)/Los Angeles, CA - Weekends/Swing
- KDLD-FM (103-1 KDL)/Los Angeles, CA - Weekends/Swing
- KYSR-FM (Star 98.7)/Los Angeles, CA - Weekends/Swing and Entertainment Reporter
- KMYI-FM (Star 94.1)/San Diego, CA (via voice-tracking) - Nights, then later Afternoons
- The Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 Countdown - Dees Entertainment - Associate Producer
- Randy Jackson's Hit List, Westwood One - Head Writer
- The Weekend Countdown with Billy Bush - Head Writer
- Dial-Global 24/7 Formats, Hot AC - Afternoons (I've also worked on Dial-Global's Hits Now and Rhythm Mix formats)
1) What makes your market unique? How does this compare to other markets or stations you have worked at?
Our programming is nationally syndicated but our presentation is done as if we're local, so we don't talk about what's going on in our backyard here of Los Angeles (the weather, local events, etc) because it's not the backyard of our listener. It provides a unique challenge addressing news events, but I work with a bunch of pros that have figured out how to do it and I've leaned from the best.
2) What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
3) How do you stay in tune with your audience?
Facebook, Facebook, Facebook. Well over half of the population uses it, and of those, many are in our demo. I'm posting about five times a day, and it's an incredibly useful tool to better connect with your P-1 listeners and expand upon a story that you only mentioned over an 11 second intro. Plus, as much as everyone talks about Twitter, most listeners don't actually use it. They're using Facebook, and they're using it a lot.
4) What's the best sweeper you've ever heard?
I've got two:
a) KROQ/Los Angeles used to have their studios in Burbank, and their legal ID said they were overlooking Forrest Lawn Cemetery.
b) When I was at B104/Allentown, we did 10 song music sweeps every hour. When our PD Brian Check (now the PD at Mix 106.1 in Philadelphia) was putting together the sweeper to kick it off, he couldn't find a sound effect he liked so instead he opted for the absence of sound and the sweeper went like this: "Count em, 10! (really long pause) 10 in a Row!" Listeners used to CONSTATNLY come up to us at remotes to quote it just like that.
5) What type of features do you run on the station?
I do something called the "WTF Song of the Day" where I take a pop culture story and let listeners choose a song that best represents it. For instance, when Kim Kardashian's husband was spotted carrying a moving box without his wedding ring, I let listeners choose between Bon Jovi' "Runaway" and Boys Like Girls' "The Great Escape." I play the song that gets the most votes on Facebook, and then when the listeners hear me play it they can call in to win the prize of the day.
6) Your thoughts on Syndication and Voice-Tracking?
It's been paying my bills for some time, so I have no problem with it. In absolute seriousness, though, I understand why some fear it or feel it's hurting the business. But I've always believed the complete opposite. In my opinion, listeners don't care where the on air personality is located as long as that personality is entertaining and giving them information they want to hear. When a listener watches TV, she doesn't get mad that Tina Fey isn't taping 30 Rock at a studio in her hometown, and that same person gets in her car and listens to us on the radio. Provide good content, and they will listen, plain and simple. As far as the argument that it takes jobs away, that's true in ANY industry. I don't mean this to come off as dismissive, but as an industry evolves with new technology and new ways of doing business, sometimes there's less of a need for humans to do certain jobs... but the upside is that there ARE new jobs created in other sectors. I'm sure the time will come where there isn't a need for me to do this job, too, and I hope and expect that I'll be able to adapt to that change when it comes.
7) Who is your best friend in the business?
WLEV (100.7 LEV)/Allentown, PA PD Laura St. James who is also an on-air personality at WWFS (Fresh 102.7)/New York. Laura and I went to college together, worked at a horrible Italian restaurant together, and both got into radio at almost the same time. We've remained our friendship this whole time! She's super-smart, super-talented, and hands-down the most professional person I've ever met. She also has a slightly unhealthy obsession with finding new restaurants when she travels.
8) Please describe the worst promotion you've ever been part of?
This may make me sound elitist, but I've never been a fan of fairs/carnivals/festivals, etc. I think they're dirty and smelly and are often staffed with extras from a prison movie. Well, once after broadcasting live from The Great Allentown Fair (their name, not mine), I was refused EXIT by the guy who operated the midway because he thought I was going to run over somebody with the station van. I got out of the van and carried a heavy marti unit under one arm and our station mascot costume under the other, and I high-tailed it out of there on foot.
9) What was the most successful low budget promotion idea your station ever did?
At Y107 (where I worked with All Access' Perry Michael Simon, by the way) we had a sit-down studio, and we had a notorious problem of office chairs constantly breaking and not being replaced. It was always a wild goose chase to find a functional chair. One day on air, the chair broke while I was doing a break. I gave it away on the air, and I got an angry phone call from our business manager the next day telling me that it could be a liability if someone sat in the chair and got hurt (she clearly didn't see the irony). And, no joke, the winner of the broken chair worked for an office furniture store, and only called in to win it so she would have an "in" to sell us new chairs.
10) What advice would you give people new to the business?
Don't go to school for broadcasting. If you're going to school, major in something outside of broadcasting, not even necessarily as a back-up but really just so you can learn about a variety of things. Also, become an expert on something, anything, so that you can be the go-to person on everything pertaining to that subject.
1) Of all the skills you have gained through the years, is there an area you'd like to improve?
I've yet to master a way of lying to a listener that I'll play their request that we all know I'm never gonna actually play because my log says I have to play Nickelback again.
2) What's your favorite radio commercial?
Those Budweiser "Real American Hero" (which became "Real American Genius" after 9/11). It STILL make me laugh every single time I hear one.