10 Questions with ... John Shea
July 30, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
WATD (95.9) - 2005 to Present
1) What Got You Interested In Radio?
Radio is something I've always been interested in. I have a drawing that I made in about the 2nd grade of a radio studio. After high school it was the only thing I could picture myself doing so I got my communications degree, and here I am!
2) What makes your station or market unique? How does this compare to other markets or stations you have worked at?
Musically, WATD is one of the few independent stations left in the market. And although we have an AC format, we'll throw in some AAA and Country if it sounds good. We also, for the most part, let the jocks program their own music. A playlist is provided but it's only a suggestion. WATD is also very supportive of the local music scene, providing several hours a week to local music programming. I personally host a show called "Almost Famous" with Lisa Azizian of the morning show on Tuesdays from 8-10pm. Finally we have a fully staffed award-winning newsroom that will break into programming when a major story hits. First and foremost, we're here to serve the community.
3) What is it about your station that you feel really makes it cut through?
We're live and local 24/7, 365 days a year. You can always call the request line and get someone. We're also very active in the community. Whether it's a high school football game broadcast, conducting a local office political debate, or playing song by an up and coming local band, our listeners are almost conditioned that they can count on WATD.
4) How are you using social media to market your radio station?
We mostly use our social media for news related information. We link our news stories to both Facebook and Twitter to keep our followers up to date on what's going on. We do on occasion use it for contests and promotions but mostly it's news.
5) What can we be doing with our station web sites to better our stations as a whole?
I personally don't think websites matter as much as they used to. I think something simple that looks really looks good on a smart phone is all you need these days, and a focus mainly on your social media pages. That's where a good chuck of the audience seems to be now.
6) How do you stay in tune with your audience?
We LOVE feedback and we ask for it! And as I mentioned earlier we're very active in the community. So when we're out and about, we ask.
7) Favorite artist you have met?
A local Country singer named Kiley Evans. Two years ago her mom sent me her demo which I played while doing a fill-in shift. Kiley E-mailed to say thanks and she's been one of my best friends ever since. Her career is really starting to take off and she's getting some major attention in Nashville right now. She also inspired me to start a local music show and has breathed new life into my radio career. Seeing her making it big would mean more to me than just about anything.
Check out Kiley's "Johnny Depp" video.
8) Who do you consider your radio mentors?
Cathy Dee, WATD's afternoon drive jock. I was her intern in college. I wouldn't be where I am now without her guidance.
9) Who is the most amazing talent you've worked with?
Sam Kopper of WBCN fame. He came to WATD a few years ago to do a weekly freeform Rock show and taught me a lot about how radio can be changed for the better.
10) What is the one truth that has held constant in your career?
It all comes down to the listener. If he or she is happy, then you're doing your job right.
What do you do in your spare time?
I spend most of my time lately checking out local bands and artists, and collecting CDs to play on WATD's "Almost Famous" local music show.
What's one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
Up until I actually started working in the radio business, I had wicked stage fright.
How is the relationship between programmer and record label changing? For better or worse?
For me, worse. Because WATD is a smaller, independent station it's really difficult for us to get the attention of the labels. But we're also very unique so I think once they realize who we are and what we can do for them and the artists; they'd change their tune.
Of all the skills you have gained through the years, is there an area you'd like to improve?
My on-air interview skills come to mind. I need to learn to relax, listen, and engage the other person in conversation.
What was the biggest gaffe you've made on air? (dead air ... forget a mic was still on ... etc.)
When I first started I had a quick Saturday morning shift for an hour, 6-7am. I tried to get out of it one time by recording it to CD. Well, it started to skip and nobody was there to fix it. Some listener called the police because she thought I was dead or something. Needless to say, there I was Monday morning in the boss's office. He said to me "At least you know people are listening"
What do you consider the key to your success?
Having a passion for what you do.