10 Questions with ... Tom Holt
February 4, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WKBR/WZID/Manchester, NH 1980
- WSHO/Albany, NY 1985
- WMAS/Springfield, MA 1986
- WWLI/Providence, RI 1995
- WSRS/Worcester, MA 2002
1) What Got You Interested In Radio?
My cousin worked at WKBR in Manchester so... I used to hang around the station with him and watched everything he did, until one day I was asked if I thought I could do a shift on Christmas. Ten Years later, I became the PD of the station that I grew up listening to.
2) Who do you consider your radio mentors?
Mike McVay. Mike and I worked together in three different markets. I loved his philosophies and still use some of them today. Now I work with Jon Zellner and he has brought some great insights and ideas to help me grow as well.
3) What is it that makes the Worcester market and WSRS unique? How is it different from other markets you have worked at?
I have worked in most of the New England markets but Worcester is very local.
WSRS has built its reputation on being a part of the community. The Worcester community embraces everything the radio station does... and WSRS embraces everything about the community from local walks to some of the great shows at the DCU Center.
4) How are you using social media to market your radio station?
Facebook and Twitter have been great tools to let listeners communicate with our jocks. We take requests for songs, ask for recipes for the playoff games (even though our Patriots lost) and make listeners feel like they are involved with the station. Our Facebook fans know when and where we are going to be all the time. The exciting part is...we are learning new ways to communicate every day with smaller promotional budgets. It's a great tool!
5) How do you stay in tune with your audience?
Social Media, plus local one-on-one contact with all the events we do outside the station. For example, when we do our food drive we have board meetings throughout the year. Our board is made up of local listeners and businesses. They help us plan the event every year! It's great to get their input!
6) What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
Growing new young talent. There are just not the opportunities in business that I had when I got into the business.
7) What was the most rewarding promotion you were ever involved in?
Our Annual WSRS Food Drive. WSRS has been doing it every Christmas for the last 20 years. This year we raised $57,900 and collected 21,500 pounds of food for the Worcester County Food Bank. We set up an RV and broadcast live from a local supermarket. The number of people who show up every year is overwhelming from schools to businesses to the average listener.
8) Apple, Amazon, Spotify, and many others have recently introduced music in "The Cloud." What effect will these new music services have on the radio and music industries?
Listen, all these new venues for music are great. I still think radio is the best platform to find the new songs with iHeartadio, and all the "live" concerts for viewers to see on our websites, and the premiere of new songs showcased on every station the way Clear Channel is now doing!
9) What has been your station's biggest accomplishment?
Maintaining the market's #1 position. We are continually striving to re-look at what we are doing and make it better.
10) What is the one truth that has held constant in your career?
I have always worked in the AC Format and I have helped move all my stations to #1 in their respective markets. I have had the pleasure of working with some great talent that I have helped coach! The AC format is so exciting to be a part of. It constantly changes with new artists and new formatics. It will never get stale and drop out like some other formats have.
What do you do in your spare time?
Photography. I help my wife with her magazine publications. I'm also an armchair athlete! Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, and just working in my yard!
What's one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
I used to own a sound system company and I did sound for many artists. I also worked doing sound for the President Reagan Campaigns.
How do you stay in touch with the latest music trends?
When I was 16 ... my answer would have been "By listening to the radio."
And today the answer is no different. Allthough I might throw in social media and the web!
Tell us what music we would find on your MP3 player right now and what is it you enjoy about that particular selection?
Boy ... I do not have just one particular selection. My taste is very Eclectic. I do like "Live" performances and I try to get as many live performances as possible. I have everything from Carly Simon to Eric Clapton, to Bruno Mars, Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. Love the crazy variety!
What was the biggest gaffe you've made on air?
During a live broadcast from Our Annual Food drive a client wanted to step outside the RV during a snowstorm to take a picture. The last guy out accidentally locked the RV door. Now, I was outside the RV with no keys, no phone, no coat and no idea how I was gonna do the next on-air break!
What advice would you give people new to the business?
Find a great school that teaches all media. Audio, Video, broadcasting, web design etc. My nephew is now in school in Florida, and it is amazing to see how many different facets of the business one has to learn! Clear Channel has leaped from a radio group to an entertainment group with iHeartradio, and all the live concerts online, it's a much different business now. It's exciting, fun, and there is a whole new world of opportunities!