10 Questions with ... Brian "Hammer" Panerali
March 21, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WXRK/New York (KROCK) - Promotions (10/96-5/99)
- WDHA/Morristown, NJ - Promotions Coordinator (5/99-08/03)
- WBAB/Loong Island, NY- Weekends & Swing (06/99-08/03)
- KKXX/Bakersfield, CA (RIP Real Rock 93.1) Nights (08/03-08/05)
- KRAB/Bakersfield, Ca/ Weekends/Swing, Asst. Cluster Production Dir. (5/05-11/06)
- KCVI/ KBEAR 101/ Idaho Falls, ID - Afternoons/MD (11/06 - 5/08)
- KDKB/ Phoenix, AZ - Afternoons (5/08-3/10)
- KEXX (X.103.9)/Phoenix, AZ (RIP) - Nights (3/10-1/12)
- Total Traffic -Reporter & Producer (2/12-6/13)
- KPKX (98.7 The Peak)/Phoenix - Weekends & Fill In (3/12-6.13)
- KVGS (First BOB-FM) and (Star 107.9)/ APD/MD/Afternoons (6/13-Present)
1) What Got You Interested In Radio?
My original intent in life was to be an actor. So, after high school, I moved to New York City and attended an acting conservatory. After trying my hand at that biz for a while (and failing miserably) I decided it was time to find something different to do that combined by love of music and my desire to do something creative and performance based that also had a little more stability. (Hey! One outta two ain't so bad). It was during that little 'come to God' moment that I knew radio was absolutely where I HAD to be.
2) You started working in the Alternative format. How does that audience differ from the average Hot AC listener?
Honestly, there's really not much difference. Especially since there are SO many crossover artists right now (which I LOVE!) Both audiences are extremely passionate about the music, seeing the artists live, and are VERY active in terms of getting out there and being a part of their respective scene. But, if you need one difference...the AC audience is just fine being a huge fan of a pop artist and an alternative artist openly, while the alternative audience might not so vocal about their love for say ... Taylor Swift.
3) What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
Local Research! Although I understand what our station needs. It can get a little tense programming based on your gut and the small sample size you get on various websites. We need to think more long term and invest in the hard needs of the brand. Do that, and results are a given.
4) Who do you consider your radio mentors?
I am so glad you asked this question. I've been waiting for the chance to thank the following people for their advice/guidance, faith in me, patience, the vast amount of knowledge about our business that they never hesitate to share and more importantly their friendship:
Steve King, Scott Taylor, Marc Young, Justin Chase, Mike O'Brian, John Candelaria, Anthony Acampora (with special added ups to Tom Humm and John Manley). THANK YOU!
5) What is about our industry that keeps you wanting to do it for a living?
The piles upon piles of cash there is to made in this biz! Wait, you wanted the truth? Ohhhh alright....one word, LOVE. I get to listen to music all day, decide what gets played on our station, be a part of and help plan fun promotions, THEN I get to crack a mic and entertain our audience!!!! nWas that even a serious question? ;)
6) What advice would you give people new to the business?
I know this sounds cliché, but learn EVERYTHING! If your PD asks you if you can do something and you don't know how to do it, then ask him/her to show you, and do your best. The more you can add to your skill set the better off you'll be. Be that GoTo person, the answer to 'can you cover on X day' or 'do you mind filling in' is always YES!
7) What was the biggest gaffe you've made on air?
I won't mention the station, but it was one of my first on air gigs ... doing waaaay late nights...
I cracked the mic, did what I though was an amazing break & when I was done celebrated with a few choice 'words' that were definitely not meant for the airwaves. After I was done, I happened to look over and notice the mic was still on (and there's me without a change of underwear).
About a minute after, the request line lit up and I thought, "Ohhh boy, here we go". It turns out it was simply for a request and the person on had actually heard nothing! (Because you know I asked!) That taught me an important lesson. Treat talking into the mic like your talking your girlfriend's parents (sorta).
8) What is the biggest change that you'd like to see happen in the business?
I'd love to see those mom and pop stations come back in force. I get a real nice taste of that here at Beasley and I find myself thinking, "What if the whole industry were like this?"
When you've met the owner of the company you work for, you've been to your General Manager's house for dinner, and you can pick up the phone and talk your VP of Programming without having to schedule weeks in advance ... to me, that really goes a long way in saying "We care about your experience here, and we value you as an employee and as an individual." There's too little of that personal touch from our employers going on in our industry, and too much of the 'Let's save a buck and can a few people' thing. In radio, especially, your people are such an INTRICLE part of your product ... when you start thinning them out, there goes the product.
9) What career path would you be following had it not been for this industry?
I'm pretty sure I'd still be in the service industry. I bartended for a good long while in New York City, and I absolutely loved it! In fact, just as I had accepted a gig across country in California, I had been offered a job managing a new place and I came dangerously close to taking it. Talk about a fork in the road, huh?
10) What is the most rewarding promotion you've ever been a part of?
It was here in Las Vegas over the holidays a few years ago. Our night guy (Chad Letts) and myself went out to the more run down part of town. We found some homeless people and served them up (literally, we wore black pants, a white button down shirt and a bow tie) with a three course meal ... right there on the spot!
I'm talking appetizers, entrée, and dessert. We even included a full bottle of Sparkling Cider, presented on a table we set up to look like something you'd find in a fine dining establishment.
Then we just hung out with them and talked life, music, and everything before after and in between. Of course we recorded every stop we made and the experience we had with every person we met. Local food vendors were kind of enough to donate enough so everybody we visited got their fill, it was awesome! Not only did we make for incredible and timely video (and on air) content, but it really made me happy and proud that we were able to provide a warm meal and genuine conversation to people who probably don't receive it as much as they should, especially during the holidays. I'll never forget it.
What do you do in your spare time?
My wife and I live in literally one of the most exciting, vibrant, cultural, cities in America, and while we're approaching our third year in Las Vegas, we're ALWAYS finding something that we have yet to experience here so a lot of our time is spent soaking in every little thing it has to offer from the food, to the shows, to whatever mother nature has to offer, new restaurants, bars, the nightlife, etc.
What music would we find on your personal playlist right now?
Everything Nirvana is ALWAYS in the mix, along with Pearl Jam (Ten & Vitology), AIC, Mumford & Sons, Alabama Shakes, Nine Inch Nails, James Bay, The 1975, Foo Fighters, Banks, Vance Joy, Houndmouth, Twenty One Pilots, Ed Sheeran, Tove Lo, Ellie Goulding Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Sonic Youth, The Cure, Pixies, Cage The Elephant, Queens of the Stone Age, Guns N' Roses, Interpol, BRMC, Radiohead, and I just discovered a band called Death Valley Dreams that I've really been diggin'
What's One Thing That Might Surprise People About You?
Well, six months ago it would have been that I'm getting married. But, I guess since that's already happened, I'd have to say that I'm up at 5:30a every weekday morning dragging my ass to the gym. I've gotta justify all those tasty Kraft beers I down over the weekend! ;)