10 Questions with ... Kelly Urich
March 26, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- KXXR/Kansas City, MO - 1990-1992
- KOY-FM/Phoenix - 1992
- KBEQ Kansas City, MO - 1992-1994
- KMXV/Kansas City, MO - 1995-2008
- KCRADIO.COM - 2009
- KZPT (99.7 The Point)/Kansas City, MO - 2010-present
1) What Got You Interested In Radio?
It was either drive a John Deere on my dad's farm or do this, so it was no-contest. I started writing copy for a small town radio station and I studied English and Psychology in college, but once bitten...
2) What makes your market unique? How does this compare to other markets or stations you have worked at?
I'm a rare bird in that I've only worked in KC and Phoenix. Kansas City has a very home-town feel. Phoenix was very transient. Kansas City listeners take ownership of their media personalities. I can go anywhere in town, meet a listener and feel right at home.
3) Who do you consider your radio mentors?
Jon Zellner. Everyone should have a mentor who not only brings this business into focus, but also inspires you to push yourself to the limit. Jon is probably the best of the best.
(Don't tell him I said this but I have learned a lot about mornings from Tony Lorino. His mother and I are very proud of him!)
4) What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
Not dying like newspaper. Within a decade, web competition will change our industry more than most are willing to admit. Either lead with the best entertainment or be swallowed by niche programming.
5) Tell us about your web radio station?
I had a one year non-compete between 93.3 and 99.7 so I started a Hot AC web station called KCRADIO.COM. I was sales, programming, promotions, marketing and everything. I really learned to appreciate the sales side more and I also learned how close web radio is to becoming a serious player.
I would do an "All-Request Lunch" every day. We had regular callers all over the world, from the New York Times building in New York, to Perth Australia. We also gave away a lot of local gift certificates so the local audience was there too...and very active. We even got a plug on Larry King Live! It was fun, I actually made pretty good money, but I really missed working with a lot of people.
6) What is the most rewarding promotion or activity your station has ever been involved with to benefit the community or a charity?
Three years ago I started a bicycle ride called "Tour de BBQ" to benefit the KU Cancer Center. We ride to local BBQ joints, sample the best local food, return for Boulevard Beer (local) and present a concert at the end. In year-two it became the largest bicycle ride in KC. We even had people from the Lance Armstrong Foundation fly here to witness first-hand. Now, I've moved on to "Kiss Under the Clock" at Union Station to benefit Salvation Army and other charities.
We've done so many bizarre things but the "Royals Ride from Phoenix to Kansas City" was my favorite. They wired a microphone to my helmet, I rode 10 days straight, 120 miles per day, from spring training to the home opener at Kauffman Stadium. It was just me and an engineer who drove the van and sent audio back to the station. We were on TV in Phoenix and Dallas. Bryan Busby updated my progress on the KMBC-TV 9 weather map and I got to ride into a standing ovation in front of 40,000 people at Kauffman Stadium! We presented a check for nearly half a million dollars to Children's Miracle Network. Good times. (My butt looked like a pepperoni pizza).
7) How do you stay in tune with your audience?
I enjoy appearances and talking with people. I try to balance being in touch with people who are doing well and people who are struggling. I try to have fun and yet, stay aware of the realities of this recession we seem to be emerging from. If you give listeners an opportunity to tell their story, there is a wealth of information, data, and instant show prep.
8) Your thoughts on Syndication and Voice-Tracking?
It has a time and place but I truly think targeted sales can not only pitch a live-local night personality, but also make it more profitable than tracking an extremely valuable part of the station. If a personality knows how to super-serve a client or two, he or she can more than justify having a live body on the station. If I were an intern trying to break into the business, I would find a client willing to sponsor an overnight show, pitch it to management with actual numbers and force my way onto a station. Make it big so they can't say no.
9) How do you prep yourself for your radio shift?
I write local jokes for a popular Kansas City web site. I constantly write notes and leave messages on my phone. Every personality should have the voice memos app. I think ideas over and figure out the best angle to present it on the show. Prep is a 24/7, 365 days-a-year deal!
10) What has been your station's biggest accomplishment?
We just jumped from #17 to #4 in morning drive in women 25-54. 99.7 The Point has had quite a storied history, but this is the right thing at the right time. The entire station is poised to turn some heads in upcoming months.
What's the best piece of advice anyone's ever given you?
"We're all in this for our own entertainment, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise." - Jeff Davis/WLS
"Work hard and no one will get fired." - Jeff Wilks
What's the best liner you've ever heard?
"A SCREAMER UP YOUR MIDDLE!" 106.5 KXXR
What type of features do you run on the station?
I'm currently SOLO, so I'm incorporating a lot of females into the show, including "At Home with Hillary." I record my wife talking about a female issue, as it relates to me and I let listeners to call and "fix" me. This is easily our biggest phone success.
With March Madness in full gear we just introduced the "Borderline Border-War." Kansas City is split down the middle and we let Missouri and Kansas people fight over prizes. Last week it was Madonna tickets. It's like battle of the sexes, only Missouri and Kansas people hate each other. Priceless!
Tell us what music we would find on your MP3 player right now and what is it you enjoy about that particular selection?
I listen to so much music at work! From 8-5 with a better variety and no repeats! I listen to podcasts. I'm a sucker for the greatest genius in the history of radio - STEVE DAHL.
Who is your best friend in the business?
Doug Miller, production guru at Star 94 and Atlanta. We have been through A LOT together. He is extremely talented. I would have said Chris Merrill, but he just left me for KOGO in San Diego.
What are your thoughts on the new season of American Idol?
Hollie Cavanagh is best friends with a relative of mine in Texas but it looks like Phillip might take it all. I would like to see a girl win. And I would like to hear Steven Tyler say something different.
Who is the most amazing talent you've worked with?
Johnny Dare is right down the hall. I've watched him grow from infancy to adultery.
Please describe the worst promotion you've ever been part of?
We did an appearance with Marky Mark in downtown Phoenix. I was new so I arrived in the Y-95 van about an hour early to hang banner and pretend I cared. Within seconds of parking the van, a guy approaches me. I offer him a bumper sticker. He proceeds to stick a .357 magnum to my head and steal the van from me. In the middle of the day! Moments later I learned he had just shot and killed 4 people. I was the only person he pointed the gun at that he didn't shoot. I DID make it on the news wearing a Y-95 T-shirt, though.
Do you have any good stalker stories? Misty requests? "Fatal Attractions?"
When I moved back to KC from Phoenix, a woman flew here twice to "fix our relationship." I had never met her to my knowledge. One day she was in the lobby wearing a trench coat. Police escorted her away.
What advice would you give people new to the business?
If I were an intern, I would make a demo, get direction from the program director and be available at EVERY opportunity. I've seen so many interns who were too busy to board op or help when staff was thin. When I started working weekends in Kansas City, I found myself doing overnights and middays for weeks at a time. If they call, BE THERE. Get mad skills on the viral marketing and learn how to super-serve the clients. That's the best foot in the door in the current environment.