10 Questions with ... Courtney Nelson
November 28, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- KGB/San Diego, CA - I started as an intern doing weekends - (1980-1984)
- KEZE (Rock 106)/Spokane, WA - Nights - (1984 - 1986)
- KLAQ/El Paso, TX - Overnights - (1986-1987)
- KLAQ/El Paso, TX - Mornings - (1987-1992)
- KLAQ/El Paso, TX - Production Director/KROD PD (N/T) - (1992-1995)
- KSII (Kiss 93.1)/El Paso, TX - PD/Afternoons (Hot AC) - (1995-2003)
- KLAQ/El Paso, TX - OM/PD - (2003-present)
1) What Got You Interested In Radio?
I took a tour of my favorite station, KGB-FM in San Diego, and I saw my favorite DJ (Digby Welsh) in the studio, walking around in his socks, eating pizza, playing records... and getting paid for it! That's the job for ME!
2) Who do you consider your radio mentor(s)?
Larry Bruce, Ted Edwards, Nat Lamp, Beau Phillips, Dave Douglass, Guy Zapoleon, and Tracy Johnson.
3) What makes your station or market unique? How does this compare to other markets or stations you have worked?
Because of ethnic make-up of the El Paso market is over an 80% Hispanic, KISS has a Rhythmic lean to the music we play.
4) What are some of the challenges you face as a programmer in today's radio environment?
Fighting for a listener's time. There are so many entertainment choices available to an individual these days. Providing content and personality that cuts through and stands out is a constant battle.
5) What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
Several things come to mind.
We should be embracing new technologies that can extend the brand beyond the reach of the transmitter. Ratings are not the only measure of success anymore. Web sites, Facebook, and Twitter are becoming equally important tools to reach audience.
The Economy - Now, more than ever, Programming & Sales Departments must work together to survive & thrive. No more "Us vs. Them." Creating events and content that is beneficial to a client and the radio station is the goal.
6) Why would someone listen to your station instead of listening to music on their iPod?
I feel that Humans can't totally disconnect from other humans (except for some freaks). Interacting and connecting to people is where radio comes in. Our personalities, our events, and our content is what sets us apart.
7) How do you stay in tune with your audience?
MAKE A CONNECTION!
Old School: Get out on the streets, go to events and concerts. You also need to be real and come out to actually talk to people. I require staff to be pro-active, seek people out and get them to talk about their daily life...and how our radio station fits in.
New School: Always think about ways to use new technology...whether you're on-air or on your own time. Make a connection.
8) Apple, Amazon, Spotify, and many others have recently introduced music in "The Cloud." What effect will these new music services have on the radio and music industries?
Radio is just not MUSIC. If you just want music then there are lots of choices. If you want entertainment, local content, interaction with personalities that live where you live...RADIO is the answer. Radio is a package that is free & easy.
9) What's been your biggest disappointment in Radio today?
I hope that the people who got into radio for the fun and excitement continue to feel that way. I now find myself "fighting" for radio and our stations. The shiny new toys (web sites, Facebook, etc) that are now a part of radio and are great additions, but they can't be distractions.
If we don't maintain the brand for our radio stations, we will have nothing to promote on the new digital platforms. Radio is doing all the heavy lifting. Take care of the brand and it will take care of what is added to it.
I'm also disappointed that if a "client dollar" is attached to anything we do, the client wins. I've seen many promotions not be the best they could be because decisions were made without input from the people that have to execute them on-air. We want to find ways to say "yes." Just because it has money attached to it shouldn't mean that we just lay down and do whatever a client wants.
10) What is the one truth that has held constant in your career?
Your name is on the mailbox! People will see your name, and judge your house. So do the best you can.
Treat people as you'd like to be treated. Don't let the issues of the urgent outweigh the issues of the important.
And the 3 H's: Be "Happy, Helpful, and Humble."
What has been your station's biggest accomplishment?
KLAQ has been a market leader through 30+years. I'm also proud that we've been nominated for The Marconi Awards.
What do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy Flying. (I've had my private pilot's license since 1997). I also like riding dirt bikes.
What is it about your station that you feel really makes it cut through?
Personalities that can be real, and fun & events that connect with audience.
Are you seeing more Rhythmic and Top 40 records take hold with today's Hot AC listeners?
Yes. It has a hipper feel. Hot AC can't survive on the same ol' "white guy (or girl) with a guitar" type of music.
How can radio capitalize on digital ad revenues while competing with services like Groupon, and other social media?
Townsquare Media has created its OWN..."Seize the Deal."
What should radio be doing now to secure a role in the future of the ever-changing media landscape?
Learn to use the NEW technologies in a way to extend our brand and connect way beyond transmitter reach and city limits.