10 Questions with ... Chad Zimmerman "Chad Taylor"
October 15, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- Townsquare Media/St. Cloud, MN January (2012-Present)
- KUOO/KUYY/KUQQ/Spirit Lake, IA (2007-Present)
- KSTZ/Des Moines, IA (2006-2007)
- Dawn, Jeff Timmons (98 Degrees) Management/Backup DJ (2003-2006)
- Z International Entertainment (clients include Jordan Knight, Danny Wood (NKOTB), PM WXCV/Homosassa Springs, FL (2001-2003)
- WXLC/Waukegan, WI (1997-2001)
- WPNT/Milwaukee, WI (1997)
- WZXA/(Racine-Milwaukee, WI (1995-1997)
1) What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
One of the most important issues for me personally, is for the powers that be to realize "one size doesn't fit all." Each market is unique and has different tastes. You can't win if you don't separate yourself from the pack and be local, local, local. What I love most about the company I work for, is they get that. We make decisions on a local level and have the support we need from corporate to do what we need to do on daily basis....that's provide "great local radio."
2) What led to your station's recent ratings increase?
Putting the right people in the right positions! We tweaked our playlist and hit the streets like never before. We wanted KMXK to be visible anywhere and everywhere within the St. Cloud metro. The morning shows is live somewhere every Friday morning and we're truly listening to what our listeners want and expect from us. We have a group of listeners and advertisers that make up our "Mix Advisory Panel" and get together four times a year. It's no holds barred. We ask them to be brutally honest when it comes to the product were putting out both on the air and online.
3) What is it about your station that you feel really makes it cut through?
We care! We truly care about this brand, our listeners, and the communities we serve. Nothing is forced. It all comes very natural and you can hear it when you listen to the station or visit our website and social media pages.
4) What can we be doing with our station web sites to better our stations as a whole?
I'm fortunate enough to have one of the best web minds in the business work in this cluster. Tim Lyon is very dedicated to making the online experience for our listeners the best it can possibly be. I feel that you can't have enough training when it comes to the content we post to our web sites and we need to stay ahead of the competition in this arena. Townsquare Media has a distinct vision for our web brands and how they are positioned to the public. They provide us the tools necessary to be the market leaders and remind us that we are not just a "radio company" but a "media company."
You have to provide fresh local coverage and content daily. Sometimes stations forget that the websites are an extension of your brand. You have to protect, nurture, and evolve the online product just as you would the on-air product. Once stations realize that they go "hand in hand" and one is not more important than the other, they will see significant results.
5) How do you stay in tune with your audience?
Lots of prep! I watch what they watch, and I listen to what they listen too! I'm defiantly a product of our product. I truly enjoy the things that make my listener on KMXK tick and it's not hard for me to relate to them both on and off the air.
I think it's extremely important to "cast" the right people when putting together your on-air lineup. I've seen some very talented folks struggle to make their stations successful and it had nothing to do with talent, ability, or drive. It was that they were simply miss-cast and when you do that, everybody loses big time.
6) Who do you consider your radio mentors?
I've answered this question differently in the past. I admire people like Mike McVay at Cumulus, Brian Kelly at Entercom, Jon Zellner at Clear Channel, Tom Oakes at Ohana Media Group, and Jeff Winfield at NRG Media (who I had the great pleasure to work with for a few years). My current mentors are the people I work with currently; Kurt Johnson (VP Programming Townsquare Media), Steve Ardolina (Brand Leader Hot AC/Adult Top 40 TSM), and my GM here in St. Cloud David Engberg.
7) Who is the most amazing talent you've worked with?
I continue to be a fan of the amazingly talented Jon Armond (WMGX). He worked for me at KUYY/Spencer, IA for three years, and I've been hooked ever since. He's witty, funny, and has a great sense of timing. He understands and appreciates what his audience wants and needs from their local radio station.
8) How do you interact with your sales staff?
Again not to sound like a broken record or over use the word "team" but that's truly the atmosphere our GM has created at TSM-St. Cloud. Programming and sales work very well together on all fronts. That why we've had great success meeting or exceeding revenue goals this year and creating exciting promotions for both our listeners and clients alike. It doesn't work if you have the mentality of "us against them". I personally go out on many sales calls each week and work closely with our Sales Manager to make sure he's aware of what's going on with all the stations so we don't miss any opportunities to attach revenue.
9) What has been your station's biggest accomplishment?
I think resurrecting KMXK and reminding our listeners what makes this brand great! In six months we were able to see significant numbers in the ratings. Seeing our middays go from a 2.1 with W25-54 to an 8.0, and W18-49 from a 3.0 to an 8.0. These are great examples of how a clear vision and team atmosphere can win every time. I have a staff (local and corporate) that will always go the extra mile for me and the listener no matter what. That's what makes me want to come to work every single day.
10) What is the one truth that has held constant in your career?
Only you can stop yourself from being great! Nothing is out of reach. Have confidence in your talents and abilities. I grew up with very supportive parents who encouraged me to follow my dreams. That "truth" has taken me from an internship in Racine, Wisconsin to my current job as OM of a six station cluster in St. Cloud, MN with Townsquare Media.
What do you do in your spare time?
Spare time? We're talking about radio. I enjoy travelling with my wife and kids. We like to head into the cities to see concerts and enjoy dinner with good company.
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy reading biographies and acquiring signatures from artists or groups that have scored number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100. This is something I've been doing since late 1997 with my best friend Jim Cech. Some of our adventures have been chronicled in the book "Backstage Pass."
Who is your best friend in the business?
My best friend in this crazy business hands-down is the underrated Jim Cech (formerly a DJ at WYMX/WXLC). We've seen each other through many good and bad times both personally and professionally. He's Godfather to my daughter and I'm Godfather to his beautiful twin daughters.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I always knew I would do something in the entertainment field. From very early on I was obsessed with music and the artists that created those timeless hits. I would play records over and over by the Beach Boys, Elvis, The Monkees, and Lionel Richie. I wanted to be performer and tour the world (which I did) and be the voice people heard coming from their boom box (which I've now been doing for many years).
What's one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
That I managed and toured with national recording artists like Jordan Knight and Danny Wood from New Kids on the Block, Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees and PM Dawn. I also co-wrote a number of Billboard AC hits and have an upcoming cameo in the thriller "Killer Holiday" set to hit theaters later this year.
Have you ever thought about jumping over to the records side of the business?
I worked on the management side with recording artists for a few years and always enjoyed working with the label staff. I'm always open to different opportunities and know the experience I've had so far in radio would make me one hell of a radio promo guy.