10 Questions with ... Brad Nolan
November 12, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Additional email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- WEXC (Variety 107)/Greenville, PA - 1999-2001 - Afternoon Drive
- KZMK (K101)/Sierra Vista, AZ - 2001-2005 - Friday Night Jams
- KAFF (KAFF Country)/Flagstaff, AZ - 2005-2007 - Mid Days
- KMGN (93.9 The Mountain)/Flagstaff, AZ - 2005-2007 - Afternoons
- KNAU (AZ Public Radio)/Flagstaff, AZ - 2007-2009 - Weekend Edition
- KWCD (KWCD Country)/Sierra Vista, AZ - 2009-2010 - Mornings
- KBIG (104.3 My FM)/Los Angeles, CA - 2011-2012 - Produce Ty Bentli Afternoon
- KLCK (Click 98.9)/Seattle, WA - 2012-Present - Afternoon Drive Home
1) What Got You Interested In Radio?
When I was a kid, my brother did afternoons at a radio station owned by an old friend of the family whom I affectionately refer to as "my uncle." When my brother went off to college I took over his show at 12 years-old. As we know, once you get started in radio you cannot escape. You can try, but you will fail. I am in love with it!
2) Who do you consider your radio mentors?
"Mentor" is a big word. I grew up listening to Howard Stern, but I'd say he is more of an influence than a mentor. My passion for being real on the radio comes from those years. The ONE person I can say for sure has been my mentor is Ty Bentli (Mornings 92.3 Now FM, New York City).
I was his producer in LA; in our short time together he taught me more about radio and myself than I had learned in the previous 11 years. Recently, I have connected with Terry Jaymes (Lex and Terry). I also keep in touch with R Dub (Sunday Night Slow Jams) who has also helped me improve my sound from time to time.
3) What makes the Seattle market unique? How does this compare to other markets or stations you have worked at?
Seattle is a REALLY cool city, and its radio isn't any different. Between raindrops, the different DJs all hang out. It isn't uncommon to get lunch with a competitor or see them around and say hello. THAT is unique in a world of "scared DJs."
4) What is it about your show that you feel really makes it cut through?
Love it or hate it, it's the personality! There are a lot of DJs who think that PPM has killed personality radio. I completely disagree. If you can't connect with a caller in 14 seconds then you're doing it wrong (or you are busy complaining about not having enough time to be you). My biggest thing is actually giving a crap about the listeners. I'm FAR from perfect, but every day I try to reach one more person in a meaningful way and it seems to work. Whether it's a phone call, a text, Tweet, or a post, I really try to listen and connect.
5) What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
THE most important issue is NOT digital consoles in cars, or the Internet, or some app. It IS scared DJs. So many great DJs are not showing their peers or their mentees how things are done. They are scared that they will lose their job.
The coolest thing I ever heard from my mentor was, "If someone is scared to teach you something, it's because they know they're not good at it and you might be better at it." Radio is the ONLY medium left that you can truly connect with. You can't call Carson Daly on "The Voice" and chat with him about that last performance.
6) How do you prep yourself for your radio shift?
This is always a funny question. Most people I work with think I go out every night and live a Rock Star lifestyle (rolling out of bed at noon). This is probably because I am 25 and wear boots that go up to my calves.
BUT... every day, I pull yesterday's audio. Then I sit down to go over all the major sites. I figure out what is happening on Facebook and Twitter, and then I do my best to tap into the issue of the day (so to speak). When I go home I listen to that audio I pulled, and then tear myself a new bum for being less than good. Then I spend the rest of the night figuring out what I will make the listeners care about tomorrow. I am usually wrong, but it makes for a great next morning. Off to bed at 3:00 am, then up at 9:30am. (Rinse and repeat).
7) How often does your air staff front and back-sell songs?
We don't back-sell at all. We have song tags, which are actually really cool. I can't speak for the rest of the team, but I RARELY front sell a song either. I will set an appointment for a new song a few minutes out, but I am not sure there is any value in telling people what the song is, unless it isn't familiar. Plus, at the end of the song, they will always find out.
8) How are you using social media to market your radio station and your show?
I am lucky to be both Click 98.9's resident social media wrangler, and an on-air talent. We have a great interactive department that I work closely with to make sure we are following the best practices across the board. I love mentoring the fellow talent on what works and what doesn't. They are always teaching me too. I have found the best status updates and Tweets to be the ones that involve... YUP... personality!
I try to market my show by simply being me on Twitter and Facebook. People don't want to be talked "to" they want to be talked "with." Nowhere is this more apparent than social media.
9) What do you like best about working in the Hot/AC formats compared to other genres?
The ladies! Duh! No really? What is a DJs job? We target a demo to drive revenue, all while being funny, having a personality, and delivering information. Women drive our marketplace. They decide what to buy, when and where. They are also not as worried with sounding cool. They are opinionated and 99 percent of the time they are hilarious. The demo of Hot AC is just a FUN demo. It's grown up, responsible, with a hint of "let's party."
But I was 18 the last time I worked on-air for a Classic Rock station, and then I was only 14 when I did Top 40, so what do I know!?
10) What is the biggest change that you'd like to see happen in the business?
We all need to get more creative! This isn't a popular position, but if we are just going to show up to work, do a SHIFT and leave... then we should just retire.
There are a million young people out there who are hungry and want to do a SHOW. If I am not going to work my tail off every day to keep it, then I should go. There are too many egos (mine is among them). We all need to realize that we GET to be in radio. It isn't a right. If we remember the creativity and passion that got us here, we will be fine.
What was the biggest gaffe you've made on air? (Dead air ... forget a mic was still on ... etc.)
I fell asleep during a sports game (Arizona Wildcats) while board-oping. Whoa! That one stuck with me. The other one has to be leaving the board in live mode and leaving the studio, only to return to find dead air, during afternoon drive, in market 13. Welcome to week one in Seattle!
Tell us what music we would find on your MP3 player right now and what is it you enjoy about that particular selection?
If I paint a broad stroke, you would find a lot of Michael Jackson, Adam Lambert, Skid Row, and Van Halen. I love 80's Hair, Glam Rock, and Michael Jackson. It is kind of that simple. I dress the part every day too. If I could rock a stadium of 30,000 people every night, I could do it without buying a single article of clothing. Win.
What has been your station's biggest accomplishment?
You'd have to know a bit of the history, but basically, in the past 8 or 9 months, this station went from irrelevant to Top 5 in key demos. Yeah, everyone is working REALLY hard on this product. It's new, and I like to think other stations lose sleep over it. I am very fortunate to work with our PD Maynard, and Heather Lee our MD. They both get it!
What are your thoughts on the new season of American Idol?
I don't watch it. These talent shows aren't about the talent. They are about the celebs at the judging table and the back end revenue. I don't like it when artists get taken advantage of. There are exceptions, but I think it's clear that these artists get pummeled after the show. The whole instant celebrity thing is scary, and ruins people.
PERFECT EXAMPLE: Kris Allen wins American Idol and disappears because the system isn't kind and people take advantage. Adam Lambert doesn't win American Idol and is on an international tour, because he was in the business for 10 years before the show.
What advice would you give people new to the business?
Get hungry! Be the hardest working person in the room, and you will be fine. Oh, and if you expect to be "the next Ryan Seacrest" you aren't going to be fine. Either be the next YOU or pick a career that rewards doing the same thing as someone else.