10 Questions with ... Chuck Geiger
June 4, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I have multiple decades of on-air and programming experience in various formats including Rock (KPKE, WKLC, KDKB), Top-40 (KDON, WFMF, KWNZ, KISF), Country (WCTO, KZSN, KHGE), and AC (WLEV, KQSR and now KMBQ (Q 997). I also worked at the Fresno Bee Newspaper as a New Business Development representative. I was Full Throttle Country Editor and Marketing Coordinator, and I also worked at a company called Unique Orthodontics.
1.) You were out of radio on a day to day basis for three years, what did you do to stay connected?
When I left radio in May 2009, Jaye Albright of Albright and O'Malley sent me an E-mail about a session she had for clients on staying connected with your audience and networking constituents. Social Media expert Shelly Palmer was the host and he talked about using social media as a bridge to network for employment and to keep in contact with your peers.
I took that idea and built a blog called Full Throttle Country. I wanted to talk about what radio wasn't talking about. It was a platform for ideas and information exchange. While I worked out of radio, it kept me connected. I also continued to write imaging for radio stations and consultants. Through my blog and my position at The Bee and Unique I was able to work with digital, social media and web mechanics. I couldn't wait to put what I learned outside of radio to work on stations pages and sites.
2.) What did you learn from your marketing and sales positions you could bring back to radio?
People who work in radio have it made. In the real world, you punch time cards, you have to keep it down in the office, and be constantly working on something or you will be called into an office and talked with about your work and position. I wanted to return to radio at the start of 2012 and figured I could put what I learned in the private sector to work in broadcasting.
Working with a blog that was reaching thousands of monthly page views, selling social media and digital with The Bee and then preparing the creative and executing it with Unique, I had a front row seat on what performances worked and which ones call for "the sheep hook" to build and maintain creative communities with a digital enhancement. We recorded testimonials constantly at the orthodontics practice. Stations rarely or don't use digital video and audio as part of their communities unless it is sales oriented.
3.) How did you connect with Tom Oakes OMG VP/Programming?
"Should of could of" is the name of this tune. When NNB transferred Tom to Anchorage as manager in 2005, I was on my way to Billings to replace Tom as OM there. But Clear Channel couldn't wait to turn my termination into a transfer from Wichita to Fresno. I became friends with Tom while I was in Fresno and we constantly talked radio, imaging, air work, research, music and model trains. Tom has programmed some big hitters including: Q-106 Madison, B-100 South Bend, Journal/Omaha and more. Country programming Czar Bob Glasco told me I needed to network with this boy. We talked over the years about a few jobs with NNB.
Finally my phone rings in February and it's Tom. He asks if I want to come to Alaska, I said wait a second "Janis do you finally want to cross Alaska off the bucket list." She said "Are you kidding?" and the rest is history. Tom is a great leader, he gives you the tools to work with and when I can't get them to work, and he lifts the hood. Just today I was overwhelmed with my "to do" list and he helped me prioritize it.
4.) Alaska is a long way from here, how did you prepare for the move and the position?
Janis and I did a ton of Internet research for six-weeks and we talked to as many people as we could about making the transition from "The Lower 48" to Alaska. We had a massive yard sale, cut back on household goods and studied the Alaska Highway from British Columbia to Alaska. The move was pretty easy, 3200 miles and no worse for wear. I was excited to grow and go in contemporary again. Tom and I talked about what needed to be done here and I hit the ground running. It was like riding a bike, I got back on.
5.) Tell us about KMBQ (Q 997)?
Tom put it best today, "This is a big sounding radio station in a small market." For over 25 years this has been a locally programmed, community service and Mat-Su Valley focused radio station. The listener's love it. Ohana Media Group bought it last year and has really focused it with a creative injection of purpose. It' always played in the AC world varying from AC to Hot AC with an AAA lean. We knew the median age of the market was 29.
That's real young. We knew a super service of Women 25-44 was needed. This meant a laser focus on Women with a Modern Music direction. We keep some AAA temperament in some of the music, but it comes from music that is really Hot AC with a cross to AAA. We have worked on the music and imaging and next is the talent, promotions, sales and marketing aspects.
6.) Welch and Woody do mornings, are they live there or syndicated?
This is the radio utopia! We have a morning show that worked as a team in Philadelphia, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Detroit, San Francisco and more.
They were apart for a few years. John Welch came up here to run our AM KBYR a few years ago and moved to Q 997 last year, and then Steve Woods joined him on the air last year. They are live and in the building and making great radio. I have had the pleasure of working with some dynamic morning stars, but this takes the cake. One of the reasons I took this job was the opportunity to work with them.
7.) What are Wasilla and The Mat-Su Valley like?
This is one of America's fastest growing areas. It is completely separate from Anchorage with its own vibe and people. It is a very mainstream, yet progressive citizenship. Sarah Palin made the town a household name and so did IRT's Lisa Kelly. Eastlan shows the population of the market around 70,000. The beauty of the area is breathtaking and I wonder if the amazement of living here will ever fade. I hope not.
8.) Have there been "Mama Grizzly" sightings?
I've seen Bristol at the coffee shop with her Hollywood posse. Mama is in Arizona a lot with Bristol. When I see her I will grab some pictures. The locals really don't talk about them much. Like living in San Francisco, the locals don't talk about Wine Country and Nob Hill.
9.) What are your plans for the station?
We have some tremendous growth opportunities with Q997. The main goal is to mainstream and focus the collective packaging to attract more listeners and customers to the product. We only have one other direct competitor with Morris Communications Wasilla station "Country Legends 100.9."
10.) You are back in radio, what has changed since you stepped aside?
We are all doing way more in the station than in 2009. Our responsibility levels have doubled. The impact of social media and digital has dawned and continues to grow. We need to become better partners with customers. While working on media plans in my last position, I learned that sales needs to understand the nuances of the 2012 customer and make the connection stronger and more focused on the business and not the radio station.
What do you do in your spare time?
I'm enjoying exploring Alaska. We have been to Prince William Sound, Denali National Park and Talkeetna (the town Cicely in Northern Exposure was modeled after). We still have a lot more to do. I'm halibut fishing this month in Homer, soon I'll be salmon fishing, and taking hunting lessons.
What's one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
I have mellowed and become less frustrated when things don't go my way. Problems become challenges and we work on those as a team. I am less impatient and more focused on the outcome and big picture.