10 Questions with ... Scott Allen
November 11, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- KFTM-A/Country Ft. Morgan, CO - (Part-Time On-Air)
- KSTZ/Des Moines, IA - 1994 (On Air)
- KSTZ/Des Moines, IA - 1997 - (Promotions)
- KSTZ/Des Moines, IA - 2008 - (OM/PD)
- KDRK (Drake University)/Des Moines, IA - (Class of 1997) President Drake Broadcasting.
1) What Got You Interested In Radio?
I grew up listening to Jeff & Jer in San Diego. When I heard them on the air and I noticed what a presence they had and how much fun they were having.
I saw how much people loved them and I wanted to be a part of it! So I called them up and asked to interview for my high school paper. When I went to Morning Show Bootcamp recently, I got to tell them that story and they got a kick out of that!
2) Who do you consider your radio mentors?
So many people have helped guide me over the years: Kipper McGee and Pete Paquette gave me a chance. Jonathan Drake (now in Champaign, IL) helped nurture me over the years and actually agreed to put me on the air after I pestered him long enough. Once full-time, Steve Goldstein and Jim Schaefer took time to coach and help me to achieve my best. I think you can learn something for just about anyone.
3) What makes your station or market unique? How does this compare to other markets or stations you have worked at?
Des Moines is the best big town that no one knows about. Some people perceive us to be surrounded by cornfields with no running water. People are surprised when they actually come check out the city. It's a great place to live. Yes, we do have corn fields and cows, but this is a very thriving city!
4) What is it about your station that you feel really makes it cut through?
Star 102.5 has a personal connection with our listeners. We've been here for 20 years. Our team works hard to give Star 102.5 a special sound unique to Des Moines. Ken and Colleen are top notch, and so is the rest of our on air lineup. That, combined with a great marketing/promotions team really makes a difference.
5) What impact do the politics of the Iowa caucuses have on your audience during election season? How does this make working in the state of Iowa different?
People either love the Iowa caucuses or they hate them. It's like Lollapalooza. Either you participate or you get the heck out of town! But people are very into it and they get excited about the process.
There's always a lot of hoopla going on from a radio perspective so we have fun with it. We interview all the candidates, and we even interviewed President Obama when he was first running for office and then again during his campaign for re-election. It's pretty cool to have the White House calling! His campaign called us because they thought we related to him as a human being and as a candidate. Our morning show Ken and Colleen do a great job! Ken's son interviewed The President as well.
We're not 60 Minutes, so we don't grill them on policy. We want to get these politicians to open up and be a little less political. We try to be original and make it entertaining.
6) How are you using social media to market your radio station?
First step is not to go in to it thinking you're marketed your station. Our social media plan revolves around conversations.
7) What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
Aside from reinventing itself, there is a lot of talk in the radio community now about what our role will be in the dashboard of the future.
While I agree it's an issue, there's another one people aren't talking about: Growing and nurturing the next wave of entertainers. After all, when we address the dashboard issue, we still need talent to connect, right?! Have you been to a college lately? There are not a lot of young people jumping to get into radio these days. As an industry, we've not made it very attractive to them. Our business has changed, yes. Most businesses have in the past 5-10 years. I'm still proud to be part of this industry, but we need to do a better job of marketing ourselves.
8) What has been your station's biggest accomplishment?
There is not one particular item, but several. We're live and local during most hours and live, eat, and breathe our community and listeners. It's our passion. The "biggest accomplishment" is that act of working for a company that values that kind of connection.
9) What was the biggest gaffe you've made on air? (dead air ... forget a mic was still on ... etc.)
My very first time on the air, I practiced and air checked over and over, but the night I did my first shift there was a thunderstorm that night.
When I opened up the mic and said "STAR..." that was all I could get out because right at that moment, lightening struck and the station we were off the air right in the middle of my first break!
10) What advice would you give to people new to the business?
Learn everything that you can about this business and be passionate about what you're doing.
A lot of the younger people I see don't have the work ethic, and they're not willing to work hard for it. It's not just radio, it's an entertainment experience, event planning, charities and so much more.
You need to learn it all to be in broadcasting and learn where you are going to go next. More than just being on the air, there is so much more to know and that has helped me to become successful. When I was promoted to Brand Manager of the Des Moines cluster, I'd actually been interviewing for that job for 10 years. I had to show them I had what it would take!
What do you do in your spare time?
I just picked up running. I also like to kick box. I'm trying to lead a more active life. I have two kids, eight and five, so I like to spend time with my family watching TV, movies, and traveling.
Tell us what music we would find on your MP3 player right now and what is it you enjoy about that particular selection?
I'm a sucker for a good pop/rock tune. Some we play on STAR, others we don't. Some of my favorites: OneRepublic, Adele, Goo Goo Dolls, and Pink.
Love to listen to new music while I'm running. It's a different experience than when I'm listening to music in my office.