10 Questions with ... Mike Edwards
November 18, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WDCG/Raleigh, NC - 1984-1989
- WKSE/Buffalo, NY - 1989-1993
- WMGS/Wilkes-Barre, PA - 1993-1997
- KZQZ/San Francisco - 1997-1998
- WLNK/Charlotte - 1998-2000
- WWZZ/Washington, D.C. 2000-2004
- Triangle Traffic Network/Raleigh, NC - 2004-2013
- WILT-FM/Wilmington, NC - 2013 to Present
1 What Got You Interested In Radio?
First it was being a fan of music, and then hearing great radio growing up in Raleigh on WKIX and DX'ing WLS, WCFL, WGAR. The energy, the entertainment and fun of radio was and is very alluring to me!
2 Who do you consider your radio mentors?
There are so many great people who have taught me so much over the years including Terry Jordan, Mark Driscoll, Gary Burns, Dan Vallie, Alan Burns, Rick McDonald, Jim Loftus and Kid Kelly. I have learned so much from them about radio programming, promotions and radio management. I have been really blessed to have had these people as my mentors.
3 What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
Staying relevant. With so much competition for the attention of consumers these days, it is a challenge to develop and maintain relationships with them. Making radio relevant and of interest in their lives (especially for the younger demos) is the biggest issue we are dealing with. It is a great challenge and I'm expecting radio to get it together to make that happen.
4 In your opinion, what is that special magic that makes a hit record "a hit?"
5 How do you prep yourself for your radio shift?
Like I tell our air-staff, "We're always prepping!" That is, being a sponge and staying keenly aware of the day-to-day things that our audience is exposed to, what they are living through and dealing with.
Being local, local, local! Looking for things our demo wants to hear about. The formality of putting it all together includes sitting down and reviewing all the local resources that are available so that I include what's going on around town, and what the audience would want to know about locally.
I also check to see what's trending locally on Facebook. A quick check of YouTube. Then I utilize the web to pull any artist info updates, as well as "Sheet Happens," which is the show prep service we subscribe to.
6 How do you stay in tune with your audience?
Well, it helps to surround yourself with the target demo, and we are fortunate to have two on-air personalities that are in that demo as well as off-air staffers. So absorbing what they're dealing with in their daily lives is a piece of it.
Also, working the phones, social media, meeting and chatting with our audience via appearances, checking out the TV shows that rate high in our demo, reading any and all online articles that target our audience, and just staying curious.
7 Why would someone listen to your station instead of listening to music on their iPod?
For what's between the songs, "content." We inject fun, personality and truly are a part of the local community. "Community" and "companionship" are two things I don't get from my iPod. We work hard every day to make sure that what happens between the songs is interesting or entertaining to our target.
8 What is the most rewarding promotion or activity your station has ever been involved with to benefit the community or a charity?
Hands down it's our Radiothon that we do every September for the local Children's Hospital.
It's great seeing all hands on deck working together, and the people at the hospital are awesome! Everyone at the radio station gets involved. Each year, we out-do the previous year and it is extremely rewarding to be a part of something this special.
9 What is the biggest change that you'd like to see happen in the business?
I would like to see more on-air personalities and radio getting back to doing what we truly do best: "entertaining and engaging the audience." So many times I hear air talent that are not creative, not talking to their demo, or just doing the same thing you hear on all the other boring stations.
I understand that most PD's are doing double or even triple duty now with more than one station they are responsible for programming. But, it is absolutely worth the time to review air-checks with the personalities to coach, develop and help them grow.
10 What advice would you give people new to the business?
Just get your foot in the door! Be persistent as well as patient. Put yourself in situations where you can learn. Help out in all departments, be a sponge! Do everything you can to set yourself apart. Those who show the desire, work ethic and genuine enthusiasm will move up. But, most of all have fun!
What do you do in your spare time?
I'm a big sports fan: The NFL and ACC basketball take up some of my weekend time. And the rest is cold chillin' with the family to decompress.
What is the one truth that has held constant in your career?
Be honest, work hard, be the best you can be and good things will happen!