10 Questions with ... Heather Collins
August 1, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I was born and raised in Las Vegas. I grew up listening to KMXB (Mix 94.1) all the time. I remember my mom driving me to school every day and us listening to Mark & Mercedes in the morning, so you know it's a dream come true to be the Midday jock on the station I grew up on.
I started off as weekends on KMXB Mix 94.1 in 2010, and by 2012, I was doing weekends on Mix and on our sister station KXTE X107.5
I tried to dibble-dabble in everything. So I was the photographer, weekend on-air jock, then became Dave, Mahoney, DK's producer for about two months, production assistant, imaging assistant, and overall, "Heather can you work today doing X, Y, Z?" I loved every second of it and I loved learning a little bit of everything. I finally landed the night gig on KMXB (Mix 94.1) for about six months and then was promoted to middays and have been here since.
1). What Got You Interested In Radio?
The Music! I love that I get to spend 5 hours of my day sitting in a studio listening to music!
Recently I have been attending the weekly music meeting with Shawn Tempesta, our afternoon guy, and our boss J. Love. I love sitting there having a good solid debate with the boys about why I believe certain songs would be great for the station. When I win it's a big pat on the back!
Another big thing is the listeners. I can't tell you the feeling I get when we throw a Mix Underground lounge (private performance) with the artist and there is a mega fan, sitting there singing every song with tears in their eyes and finally when they get to meet them. You see the joy an artist brings that person. It's the best! I met my all-time favorite band, Matchbox Twenty because of Mix 94.1, and let me tell you, it was water works for sure!
2). Who do you consider your radio mentors?
I would say everyone at CBS radio Las Vegas! But just to name a few...
One of the first was Shawn Tempesta. I used to call him and harass him with questions about radio when I was 17 and he was the one who told me what college to attend. It's kind of weird we work back to back now on Mix 94.1. It's very full circle and weird!
Another amazing person and the one who took me under his wing when I was just an Intern/weekender was Dustin Carlson, who at the time was the afternoon guy on X107.5. He showed me imaging, how to be on an Alternative station, and just gave me overall radio advice. He was also the one who told me, "Learn as many jobs as you possibly can! Become valuable." Until this day, I bug Dustin with radio questions and what not! He is an amazing jock and great Imaging Director.
I also have to give a shout out to Charese Fruge' who was my PD. She was the one who believed in a bratty 21 year old and gave me the opportunity to do nights, middays, and now running my own HD station Sin 107.5. I appreciate all the chances, and I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am now without her!
I know there are a 1000 more but I will shout out J. Love, JB, Tony Perlango, Juan Chavarin, Cat Thomas, Brandon Bell, Venus Hammel and Kirk Greenquest. All people who have believed in me and played a part in my success.
3). What makes the Las Vegas market unique? How does this compare to other markets or stations you have worked at?
I will say it may not be the biggest but in my mind it is the best! (I may be biased since I was born and raised here.) We have so many concerts here that we are constantly promoting and throwing events! And even though it's fun, it can also be really challenging when you're trying to book your own show.
Fall is the biggest time in this city with multiple festivals in town booking 100's of artists for their events, but we still always come out strong and, we have a great lineup for our 20th annual Bite of Las Vegas. I have been attending that one since I was 14.
I give props to our staff and my boss J. Love for booking these shows, because it isn't easy in a city like Las Vegas.
4). Please tell us what it's like to program an HD channel?
It's fun! I have worked on this station from the ground up. When I started Sin 107.5 (KXTE HD-2 station) I was just getting interested in becoming an MD and it was my little pet project. It's an EDM station which is very important to have in a city like Las Vegas, especially with so many night clubs having different DJs around the world stopping by every night! Also, we have this little festival called EDC here... you may of heard of it. ;)
I think Sin 107.5 has taught me a lot about programming and music overall. It opened my eyes, and I'm glad I was chosen to run this great little station. Check it out on the www.radio.com app under Sin 1075. It's a great station to work out to as well.
5). How did you get involved with photography and become the staff photographer for CBS/Las Vegas?
This is a great little story and the reason I even got my foot in the door at CBS radio. I will try and sum it up quickly for you.
I was in college for audio production at The Art Institute of Las Vegas and I took a couple of photography classes on the side. I was invited to a Mix 94.1 Underground Lounge and I asked if I could bring my camera to take photos for fun. They liked them and the promotions department director Stacie Schmidt and Kyle Helmick would call me every time they had an underground lounge and asked if I wanted to come by and take photos.
Being a huge fan of Mix, I jumped at the opportunity because A). I loved most of these bands and B). I've been a fan of this station since I was a kid.
I started doing so many photo gigs that Brandon Bell, the MD at the time, pulled me into his office and was like, "Who are you? Why are you always here?" I told him what I was doing and he told me he was more into my voice and wanted to try me out on the air. I flipped, and the rest is history!
Now and again, when needed, I will take photos at Underground Lounges and concerts and will probably continue doing it even if I was the PD of a station and on air. It's a hobby that I'm in love with, and I think I'm decent at it.
(Photo Credit: Heather Collins)
6). What is it about your midday show that you feel really makes it cut through?
Our morning show, Mercedes in the Morning, and I were brain storming one day, and we came up with this segment called "History Lesson." Mix 94.1 turns 20 this year and every day I showcase a year and songs from that year. In between songs, I tell random station and pop culture facts. At the end, I do a pop quiz about that year to score tickets to a show.
I also think that I'm one of the few middday shows in town that is not voice tracked. I get the opportunity to be real, fun and local! I try to make the listeners work day a little more enjoyable by talking about pop culture, while hooking them up with cool prizes.
7). How do you prep yourself for your radio shift?
Facebook, TMZ, local tabloid stuff and this may sound silly but Snapchat. I also sit down with our promotions department before my show to see what they are into. (Right now it's the Kylie Jenner lip kits. They have all the colors.)
8). What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
VOICE TRACKING! I think it's pointless. If I had to sit in a studio and do multiple shows in markets I've never visited within a couple hours I would die.
I feel giving that local flavor to my show by talking about events, news and etc. is why people want to listen to us in the first place.
9). How are you using social media to market your radio station and your show?
Good question! This time last year, I was granted the position Social Media Director and it's been my favorite role. How many times a day do you check your Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or etc.? About 1,000 right? I try to post constantly on our social accounts during our shows about events and giveaways because the chance that someone sees that Mix 94.1 is giving away tickets to Disneyland all week on social is very likely and who knows one of those people may have a meter and bam, we just got in good that week.
10). What do you like best about working in the Hot/AC format compared to other genres?
The music, the artists and the fans. The fans are loyal and get their whole family into the station, so we have listeners from 8 to 70 year-old. We keep it hip and current, but we also play my favorite tunes from the 90s.
The artists are also so amazing! I'm surprised in my six years here, I have never seen an artist flip out or treat a fan poorly at all!
What is the most rewarding promotion or activity your station has ever been involved with to benefit the community or a charity?
Bite of Las Vegas...HANDS DOWN!
Bite of Las Vegas turns 20 this year and let me tell you, it's not an easy day but it's definitely a rewarding one! I have been going to Bite of Las Vegas since I was 14 years old, and I just remember always having the best day ever! I would get there at noon with my mom and my friends, and we would just throw down a blanket, eat, and watch some fantastic artists. Now fast-forward and I'm behind the scenes, and it's still magical and fun!
We get to see and appreciate the event way more from behind the scenes. I remember stopping and thinking last year, "Wow I can't believe I've been coming to this event for over 10 years, and it's so crazy to see how much it's grown!" In a city like Las Vegas where people think there is no community, Bite of Las Vegas shuts that down and really proves how awesome Las Vegas really is!
What advice would you give people new to the business?
Work your butt off! If you want it bad enough you can make it happen! It won't be easy and you will get let down at times, and you will work hours that aren't very glamorous, but all I can say is wipe those tears and stay strong! One day, your time will come and I promise it will be totally worth it!
Who is your best friend in the business?
John Moug from KLUC, Pauly Kover from KXTE and Sandee Bonita from our new station KXQQ. They have been like Fairy God Mothers to me throughout my whole journey here at CBS Radio. (John Moug and Pauly are going to kill me for calling them fairies.)
They have looked out for me, supported me at my events, and overall we have all had a close strong bond. I'm so glad I can call them my best radio buddies!
Do you have any good stalker stories?
I think the red hair is a target for stalkers! I've had some scary situations and some friendly ones like the guy who sent me a huge thing of roses on Valentine's Day (because I said on air, I didn't have a Valentine.)
The weirdest one was the guy from New Jersey (FYI, I have never been to New Jersey), but he would call me from a blocked number every weekend and never talk just wanted to hear me talk.
Finally one day, he said something and I found out he listened to me from doing weekends on X107.5 He was a little old Italian man who was a security guard at Home Depot. He was adorable but I told him to stop calling, and he did, but it was still way creepy!