10 Questions with ... Chris Duggan
April 23, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WERZ Portsmouth, NH - 1996-2000; 2001-2003 (APD/MD/Air Talent)
- WXKS Boston, MA - 1994 - 2000; 2002 - 2004 (Air Talent)
- WQSX Boston, MA - 2000 - 2002 (Air Talent)
- WLTO Lexington, KY- 2004 - 2005 (PD)
- WWBX Bangor, ME - 2005 - 2006 (PD)
- WDAQ Danbury, CT - 2006 - 2008 (PD)
- WSNE and WWBB Providence, RI - 2008-2009 (PD)
- CJCH and CIOO Halifax, NS Canada - 2010-2012 (PD)
1) How does Canadian radio differ from doing radio in the U.S.?
The two biggest differences are: A). Less consolidation of station ownership and B). The requirements for radio to play Canadian content (CANCON).
I had two live air staffs from 5:30-midnight every weekday. For the most part you can only own two FM's in a market so it creates tighter competition. It reminds me of how American radio was fifteen years ago. There is more of an emphasis on "live and local" in Canadian markets than there is in the US right now. That doesn't mean voice-tracking isn't used...but it's less frequent.
CANCON is the other major difference. Each music station has specific percentage of Canadian music that must be played each week. These are songs that fill at least two of the following criteria: The music is composed by a Canadian, performed by a Canadian, the lyrics are written by a Canadian, or the song was recorded in Canada.
2) What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
The way we communicate in the future will be more "on-demand" and less "live." I think talent and management in traditional media will need to re-think the way we are used by the public. It isn't going to be the media giving the user the content we choose...the user will choose the content they want and sometimes be a part of that content.
3) What should radio be doing now to secure a role in the future of the ever-changing media landscape?
Don't think just in terms of "radio" anymore. We are all in the multi-media business now. Make separate content for delivery to mobile devices, and have an iPad specific site. You should be all about audio, video and text on demand. The content needs to change constantly and much of it should be exclusive to your station. Jocks should be creating content that goes way beyond their shows...blogs, Podcasts, video and user interactive content is key. Cars will be able to download content for playback overnight...why not make a separate customizable podcasts of your morning show that can be listened to whenever your driving? If someone works a different shift and goes to work at 3pm instead of 7am everyday why not have the morning show ready for her drive? Don't let new media be the competitor that will eventually make you obsolete...be the new media.
4) Why would someone listen to your station instead of listening to music on their iPod?
Local content, non-music entertainment, breaking news, and information that is important in their lives. Air talent has gotten a bad rap. Its not talking DJs that turn people off. It's bad DJs with no real content.
5) What do you enjoy most about music scheduling?
I enjoy that our Music Directors Zach Bedford and Mel B did it! Ha! Actually, I like scheduling music! It's one of the most important things you can do for your station.
Our MD's spent about two hours a day going over each day's log. I don't understand how anybody can hit auto-schedule on Selector and be done in 15 minutes. We scheduled every song one at a time. Music is your product...why would you not constantly work to improve the product?
6) How often do you aircheck and what is your approach?
I met with the morning shows everyday. The other members of the staff and I meet once a week or more if needed. PDs need to take the time to not only aircheck but also get to know more about the members of their air staffs. It's much easier to develop game plans for talent if you know what their strengths, weaknesses, learning curves and personalities are. I believe you need to set goals for all air talent and do everything you can to help them get there.
7) Where do you see the industry and yourself five years from now?
Deep in the new media revolution...wondering whether we need that transmitter anymore?
8) Who do you consider your radio mentors?
Dale Dorman. I was very fortunate to intern for him at WXKS, and he taught me so much. He would go over my demos with me and was brutally honest in his critiques. I was able to get rid of a lot of bad habits early and it helped me get on the air in a Top 10 market! I'll never forget that.
9) What advice would you give people new to the business?
Do this for the love and passion you have for media. With consolidation it's harder than ever to get a full-time gig right away, and you're not going to make much money when you do. Keep working hard and getting better. Great talent is hard to find... and those that make it there will be rewarded. Never give up.
10) Your radio or records dream gig?
I can't believe I'm about to start it! My decision to leave Canada is bittersweet, but I have the opportunity to do something I always wanted. Details soon!