10 Questions with ... Chris Centore
February 10, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WHOB/Nashua, NH - Afternoons/Programming Coordinator (1998-2001)
- WDYL/Richmond, VA - Nights/Web Coordinator (2001-2004)
- WMXB/Richmond, VA - Afternoon Drive (2004)
- WPST/Trenton, NJ - Morning Host (2005-2006)
- WBQB/Fredericksburg, VA - Morning Host (2009-Present)
- Part-time at WFNX, WXRV, WXLO and Boston, MA (2007-2009)
1) What Got You Interested In Radio?
I got my start while I was in High School. We had a 10 watt station that beamed into the cafeteria. I had just moved back to Boston from California, and was looking for an extra-curricular activity that didn't require a lot of athletic ability (I had none at the time). I found the station and a group of music loving misfits that I fit in with, and that gave me the opportunity to play the music that I loved. It was the beginning of a long and sometimes bittersweet love story.
2) What is it about the Chris & Dee show that you feel really makes it cut through?
From day one, Dee and I have had AMAZING chemistry and we really enjoy our time together, which is a good thing since we spend five hours a day in a relatively small space. The fact that we are genuinely having fun and having a great time every morning comes through over the air.
Even when one of us is off or not having our best day, we can rely on each other to get our best over the air. We both also live in same segment of our demo, so we are able to relate our lives to our listeners and be real people.
3) How do you stay in tune with your audience?
As part of the demo and my daily life mirrors a lot of what they do I observe as much as I can. Whether it be social media, my kid's sporting event, a trip to the mall or the grocery store. I watch and listen. What are people buying? What are they talking about? Where are they going? These experiences give me a good snapshot of not only what our audience is doing, but also what they are going through daily.
4) How do you prep yourself for your radio shift?
When it comes to show prep I never really feel like I'm formally "prepping" for a show, yes we use prep services to keep current on entertainment, pop culture, and current events. But the real stuff, the things that listeners relate to and respond to best are the things we end up doing on a daily basis. It's our ability to recognize that this is probably happening to a ton of other people, and our lives aren't that much different.
As with other morning shows the best bits are organic and turn into something special. Therefore I feel like I am always "prepping" for the next show wherever I am.
5) What type of features do you run on your show?
We do most of the standard morning show entertainment and trivia segments, but we also have run series features like "Therapy Thursday" over a six week period where we brought in local and national experts on issues facing our listeners.
6) What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
My biggest "pet peeve" about radio for the past few years is the lack of a training ground for new talent to grow. Where will the next generation of superstars come from? Budgets have cut out most of the places that talent can get a start, hone their craft, and learn the nuances of how to entertain and engage an audience.
7) Who is the most amazing talent you've worked with?
Right now, I would have to say my co-host Dee Daniels. She can put up with my extreme enthusiasm at 4am, and she has been doing that for the past five years.
I also had the once in a lifetime opportunity to work with a great group of guys at Y101 in Richmond. We put a station on the air together and built something that was special to us which translated to our on air success.
8) Please describe the best promotion you've ever been part of?
A couple of months after I started doing mornings at WPST I learned that my co-host was expecting her first child. Instead of going the usual way of fill-ins, etc. during her maternity leave, the idea of someone winning her life and doing her job for three months was born.
Thanks to a great programming and sales staff we were able to get some great prizes and we ran a contest that started with six "wannabes" living in the station 24/7. Then we auditioned for the job over about four weeks. We came up with some interesting things for the contestants to do and in the end one there was one person who was left standing who co-hosted the show for the duration of maternity leave.
9) What's the best piece of advice anyone's ever given you?
There are two that I think of almost everyday... talk like you would talk to your friends.
Nobody says, "Inside ten in a row"... or "It's sixty seven DEGREES" during a normal conversation. And when you engage a listener to call on a topic, let them have the spotlight. Be funny and real, but let them be the star for a minute. They'll continue to participate.
10) What advice would you give people new to the business?
Stay humble, and remember who you are. At one point, I was dumb enough to believe my own hype and I thought I was bullet-proof. The bottom line, I wasn't.
There are a lot of extremely talented people in our industry above us and below us. Treat them how you want to be treated and be respectful.
What do you do in your spare time?
I wish it was napping, but it consist mostly of playing golf or getting my kids somewhere.
Do you have any good stalker stories? Misty requests? "Fatal Attractions?"
We were once doing a ticket give-away for a show in Richmond. Unfortunately, there were less tickets than listeners. When I was leaving, so were some of the people who didn't get tickets, and they followed me home. I circled my block and parked down the street, went into an alley and snuck home. For a few moments I was nervous, but I think I lost them!
What is your favorite TV show?
"It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" That show seriously makes me laugh at things I shouldn't be laughing at!
What is your favorite TV commercial?
I love the Geico commercials. In fact, I think that insurance commercials are some of the most creative. I guess you gotta be selling insurance.
What do you like to read?
Anything about our industry, I follow most of the consults on social media and try to read as many articles as they'll post. Whether I agree or disagree, I love to see what others in our industry our thinking. I'm also a big fan of Gen X authors who write about the issues we're going through now.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
My next door neighbor as a child was a cameraman for 60 Minutes and had the coolest cameras. That was the first job I wanted as a kid.
What career path would you be following had it not been for this industry?
I'd like to think I'd be doing something noble like molding young minds as a teacher. But honestly, I'd like to be a farmer, or park ranger.