10 Questions with ... "Big Dog" Mike Kapel
October 8, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- KQWB (Q98)/Fargo, ND - Night Jock/MD - 1997-1999
- Clear Channel WDAY (Y94) Fargo/ND - OM/PD/Mornings - 2001-2007
- Triad Broadcasting KLTA (FM 105.1)/Fargo, ND - OM/PD/Mornings - 2008-Present
1) What Got You Interested In Radio?
I was interested in radio from a very young age. I used to listen to all kinds of different AM stations at night for baseball games, Talk and an old Rock show called Pirate Radio on the weekends.
I remember listening to Dan Michaels (who did mornings on KLTA years ago) and he would run one of those pre-produced comedy bits where Barney Fife would come in the studio and make a general mess of things. I thought that was hilarious! Later on we had some great rock morning show battles here that really got me hooked.
2) Who do you consider your radio mentors?
I was fortunate to learn from some great programmers like Rob Morris and Gregg Swedberg in the Twin Cities when I was with Clear Channel. Dick Voight was the GM who gave me the chance to become a programmer. I am very grateful for the opportunities and broadcasting management knowledge he provided me. The other is Guy Dark who now programs for Cumulus in Green Bay. He really gave me my break and my first full time job! He answered millions of questions for me early on like "why can't I play whatever I want again?"
3) What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
I think the biggest issue is finding ways to stand out amongst all the noise that exists and how people can now control every experience they have when it comes to how and what they use to entertain themselves. As the generation who don't know a pre-internet world get older this will be a challenge. We'll have to find ways to give the listener more control or perceived control over their experience when they choose to use radio.
4) Who is the most amazing talent you've worked with?
Ed Schultz. Everyone is aware of his success on a national level. The man worked very hard every day to be great at what he does and it's paid off for him.
5) Are you seeing more Rhythmic and Top 40 records take hold with today's Hot AC listeners?
Yes. Top 40 is so massive right now that those are the most familiar records around for the Hot AC format to grab on to.
6) How do you feel terrestrial radio competes with the satellite radio, Pandora and Internet these days?
I think it holds up very well. Those other services can't replace the local feel the terrestrial radio station can add to the mix. Living in the moment when there's a weather event, a local team that is on a title run, a local tragedy... those things are how we can still connect in ways the other platforms can't.
7) What is the most popular giveaway item at your station?
iPad's. Nothing gets people more crazy! You could offer the choice of $1,000 cash or an iPad, and I think a larger percentage of people would take the iPad.
8) Please describe the best promotion you've ever been part of?
We had a promotion with a major beverage company one year that culminated with a state-wide live radio and TV broadcast of the final give-away which was for a custom built motorcycle. We had a 60 second window and one-take to pull it off. Very cool!
9) Please describe the worst promotion you've ever been part of?
A "Live-In-It-To-Win-It" promotion. We had the listeners set up in a car at the dealers lot. The vehicle was under a tent. A massive storm came through town that dumped 6 inches of rain in 20 minutes that flooded the streets of the town for a full day. We had pulled the winners out of the vehicle which fortunately happened before the tent it was under collapsed on the new vehicle putting a massive dent in the side of it. We stayed, trapped, with the listeners in an old used car office until the streets cleared.
10) What advice would you give people new to the business?
Be patient. Take the time to learn all aspects of the business. Things in radio change quickly. Continue to learn from those around so when those opportunities you seek present themselves so you are ready to take advantage of them. If you miss out on one don't be discouraged. Continue to train and learn and you'll be that much better prepared when the next opportunity comes along.
Tell us what music we would find on your MP3 player right now and what is it you enjoy about that particular selection?
I've been listening to The Killers new album "Battle Born" quite a bit lately. Beyond that things like The Lumineers, Florence and the Machine and Counting Crows.
What is your favorite TV show?
What is your favorite TV commercial?
The Southern Comfort "Whatever's Comfortable" commercial with the out of shape guy walking down the beach in his bikini bottom. I plan on re-creating that on a beach somewhere this winter.
What career path would you be following had it not been for this industry?
I was on my way to an exciting career in accounting. Radio seemed a better option because on the outside it appeared there was very little math involved. Then you are introduced to Selector and Arbitron!
Besides your own, what is your favorite radio format?
Still love the Top 40 format. There is so much energy and tons of interaction. The listeners are what make it great because they will share any and all kinds of information about their lives that they probably shouldn't which makes for great phone calls!
What has been the best performing record on the station so far this year?
Anything by Adele!
Besides your own, what format would you like to program and why?
News/Talk or Sports Talk. There's always so much happening in the news cycle from local to national and so many new ways you can get in front of people with breaking news and information. I really love the fast pace of the format and how all the advancement in social media over the last few years can tie in with the brands. I feel social media really presents the information formats the most opportunity to have a big impact on what they do moving in to the future.