10 Questions with ... Nick Valdez
June 27, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
My radio career started ten years ago in the summer of 2006 as a Promotions Intern at JACK-FM in LA. From there I worked as a board-op/production dude for the CBS Radio LA cluster. After learning from the some of the best in the business, my travels took me 60 miles east to KCXX (X103.9) in Riverside/San Bernardino. I started as an Intern in 2011, and by 2014 was doing middays Monday through Friday. We flipped formats from Alternative to Hot AC in the beginning of 2016 and I was named Mornings/Music Director!
1). What makes the Inland Empire market unique? How does this compare to other markets or stations you have worked at?
The people! The people of the Inland Empire are devoted to their interests and lifestyle. There's an emerging music scene, spectacular deserts for weekend fun, beautiful mountains that bring hikers/skiers/snowboarders and of course the fantastic breweries! There's a detachment in the larger markets and cities that you don't get here in the IE. The listeners feel like family.
2). What is it about your morning show that you feel really makes it cut through?
We are 100% about the listener. Instead of a big inflated morning show that's all about the DJ, we have the "Most Music in the Morning". The show is music-centric, but I still make sure to talk about what's trending and what's hot in pop culture. I can finally tell my friends I watch The Bachelor because of "work reasons".
3). Who do you consider your radio mentors?
Over the last ten years I've received the best advice and guidance from people like Jed the Fish, Gene Sandbloom, John DeSantis and Chris Muckley. They're not only the best at what they do, but continue to inspire me!
4). What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
Much of the radio industry tends to trivialize new ideas. The model that radio has been following for years exists in a new technological climate now. We shouldn't look at the digital world as a threat; we should be growing alongside it. Millennials and the new ideas they bring forth are essential to the growth of this industry.
5). How are you using social media to market your radio station and your show?
Social media is the best tool to promote something since most people check their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest several times a day. It's also a great way to develop your brand, which is essential these days.
6). What do you like best about working in the Hot AC formats compared to other genres?
What frustrated me about the alternative/active format was the lack of variation. Heaven forbid you play something that doesn't have a guitar! Many listeners weren't as open to sounds that didn't abide to their definition of rock/alternative. Hot AC plays a variety of artists ranging from rock, singer/songwriter, R&B and dance. It feels like most listeners are more willing to give fresh sounds a chance too. We have a Sunday evening show called Local Artist Spotlight to showcase the upcoming local talent as well.
7). How do you stay in tune with your audience?
I never thought love Snapchat, but it's incredibly fun. Instagram is cool and Twitter whenever I feel witty and compelling. I follow at SenorValdez or Senor_Valdez!
8). What type of features do you run on your show?
We've been throwing around ideas for some new features for the morning show. One named "Flashback Friday" is currently in the works.
9). What advice would you give people new to the business?
Network! Network! Network! Don't expect success easily. It takes years to build experience in this industry and incredible patience. I think I slept on couches more often than beds in my twenties.
10). What is the one truth that has held constant in your career?
With enough hard work and determination, the sky's the limit!
What do you do in your spare time?
I love to explore. Whether it's a new hike, brewery or country, there are never enough new places to discover.
What has been your station's biggest accomplishment?
The launch! Flipping from a 20-year heritage rock station to a new Hot AC station was exciting, but nerve-wracking. We not only had to build a new audience, but prepare for the backlash from the previous audience. Within weeks we tripled our ratings and have developed partnerships with some great advertisers.
What career path would you be following had it not been for this industry?
I'd probably be some hipster barista. So it's a good thing this radio thing is working out!