10 Questions with ... Matt Shannon
September 2, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started at KITI-AM as a part-time jock in 1992. I then signed on KITI-FM (Live 95) as MD/PD/Middays in 1995. I also worked at KRXY/Olympia as a jock from 1998-1999.
1) What is it about your station that you feel really makes it cut through?
We're half-way between Portland and Seattle, so we have a very broad target and we aren't pigeon-holed into a narrow format. We're a mass-appeal station (Adult Top 40/Hot AC). The music works well, and we have live local jocks on the air, so the content is also interesting and interactive to our audience. (We do three request shows a day, many contests, local news, etc).
2) What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A DJ! Eventually, I eventually got "promoted" out of that though.
3) What's been your biggest disappointment in radio today?
That radio isn't investing in itself. Personalities drive radio. Anyone can listen to music on their own, but if you're doing local relevant news and you have people on the air that listeners can call, who have the freedom to have a personality that people can dig... well, isn't that what works best?
4) How is the relationship between programmer and record label changing? For better or worse?
There are still some great record people to work with, but far too many ignore you, don't return calls, don't follow through on things, etc. That may be because as labels have consolidated and the record people are so overwhelmed and understaffed that they have no choice.
I think it's accidentally gotten worse with small markets. In the days of the Gavin (Industry trade magazine), I recall KITI-AM having to get a PO Box due to all the service and product! Now, you have to go find it, download it, and hope the audio quality is good, and that isn't how it should be. They should ship a CD to stations in the format... even unrated markets can help push a song forward. With programming duties people have a lot more responsibilities now than they did 20 years ago. It would be nice to be treated like you're important in the eyes of a label.
I'm so happy that All Access Downloads are now available so I can download .wav files the day they're released. I can use them right away and they aren't compressed so they sound great on the air!
5) What are your thoughts on Syndication and Voice-Tracking?
Voice-tracking is an awful by-product of de-regulation. Voice-tracking (sadly) has killed so many potential careers. When I hear voice-tracking in markets like Seattle, I think, "Wow?"
Without the sizzle and showbiz aspect only a live and interactive personality can bring, are you really a radio station? In my opinion, NO! You've morphed into something else. If companies big and small can't get off their wallets and cultivate talent, the future looks dim.
6) What is the biggest change that you'd like to see happen in the business?
A return to "real" radio. No liner cards, no automation, and abolishing unattended operation. When radio was forced to be real all the time, you had to be at your best. You could cultivate talent at night, and in the overnights. When I listen to John Tesh giving gardening tips for no reason between songs in a major market, I'm stunned.
7) What is the most popular giveaway item at your station?
Each year, we give-away a classic car. A fully restored one-of-a-kind! This year was a 1973 Camaro! Our audience loves it, and it's a real fun promotion to do. Who doesn't want a classic car for free?!?!?
8) Do you have any good stalker stories? Misty requests? "Fatal Attractions?"
In classic radio jock style... I met my wife on the studio line!
9) Tell us what music we would find on your MP3 player right now and what is it you enjoy about that particular selection?
I refuse to listen to shrill mp3's. It's CD or Vinyl for me! Right now, my CD player has The Monkee's "Present" box set-from Rhino in it, until "Made In California" from The Beach Boys takes it's place!
10) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
People will listen if the product you have is good. If not, they won't.
Please describe the worst promotion you've ever been part of?
It was a Christmas promotion called "What's In Santa's Sack." The concept was alright, but with that title, well... you can image the punch lines.
What's the best concert you've been to so far this year and why?
The Monkees. I saw them in Portland, OR when Mike Nesmith was back in the band. Enough said!
Favorite artist you have met?
I've met Mike Love of The Beach Boys (on several occasions). He is funny, cool, and even though he has hit on my wife a few times, in my opinion he's still one of the most iconic voices of Pop Music from the 20th Century.