The Jack Diamond Morning Show - Mix 107.3 - Washington, DC
August 17, 2006
Thursday, August 17, 2006
If we we're to fly into town today, what could we expect between the hours of 6a-10a?
Jack: Many have come into Washington thinking it would be easy to win here. Many have left very quickly. Those who stay, pay attention, and are willing to do something "special", are privileged to be working in one of the best cities and radio markets in the country.
Urban/Rhythmic music rules on Music Radio. Personality rules on all stations. We have a little bit of everything on the 42 sticks in DC. Listeners are educated and opinionated. Doesn't matter the topic, the phones WILL ring. Answer them and run with it.
We are a diverse and fascinating city and radio market. You'll literally hear everything.
You've been at it for a while now... what do you do, on and off the air, to keep things fresh?
Jack: We have a show outline, and it acts as the infrastructure for the spontaneous content that rules the show. We really live the same lives as our target audience. Erica, Jimmy & I bring our own emotional responses to everything that passes through our lives, to the air everyday. We have very few benchmark "bits", so there isn't much to get stale.
We use audio, where and when it makes sense. We air "live" calls and interviews, and we ask those guests and callers THEIR opinion of what we are talking about. Sometimes arguing our points.
We also have varied and different lives, so our take on a local or national event or new TV show or relationship issue will always be at odds.
I have a little "cover band" that plays at station events and festivals. We play the same music you'd hear on the station. It has been a great promotional vehicle for the show and station, and allows us to interact with listeners between sets in a way you just can't where alcohol isn't involved.
Brag a little. How long have you been #1 in D.C.?
Jack: In our target demo Women 25-54, we have been in the top 3 stations for 16 years, pretty much. Number one right now. In adults 25-54 we're behind an Urban or two (which is HUGE in this market) and occasionally are lucky enough to be number one overall.
You may be the only public figure in the Capitol with a great approval rating!
Jack: LOL - It's best to try and live a scandal-free life. Especially in this city, but there's ALWAYS someone doing something far more stupid than we could ever dream up!THE SHOW:Jack Diamond Morning ShowTHE STATION:Mix 107.3THE CITY:Washington, DCTHE FORMAT:HOT ACTHE CAST:Jack Diamond, Erica Hilary & Jimmy Alexander!
Give us brief rundown on each of you, your personal history, your radio bio, and what brought you together.
Jack: How much time and space do we have, Mike? My stops have included: WLS, WABC & WMAL in Talk radio. (I recommend ALL personality jocks fill-in on your cluster Talk station. It builds GREAT character when it's ALL about you & the listener & the topic, and there are NO records to hit!)
KSON & KNSD-TV, San Diego before here. WSTR/WQXI-FM Atlanta, KNBR, San Francisco, WPRO AM&FM, Providence, WRKO, Boston (during their Top 40 days), KIMN, Denver, WCBM, Baltimore, B-104, Baltimore, WIVY, Jacksonville. Many TV gigs including morning host, weathercaster, entertainment reporter. Still do it occasionally.
What's It All About?
Briefly describe your show your personalities and the "premise" listeners wake up to every morning.
Jack: "Washington "happens" on The Jack Diamond Morning Show". If you heard, saw or wondered what happened in Washington, we're talking about it, and probably interviewing those involved.
Brief service elements, surrounded by great guests and conversation that focuses on YOU. Fun, spontaneous, sometimes hip, sometimes hopeless, always there for you. Lots of natural laughter and a cocktail party like feel.
I'm the married guy with 5 kids, who has a warm heart and a bit of a wise-ass attitude. I'm put in my place quite often by the show members, and my wife or 5 year old son.
Erica Hilary is married with kids. Loves to give me and Jimmy shit, and is a pretty hip woman and mom. She came to us from the former Z104, and is funny, warm and a REAL wise-ass.
Jimmy Alexander has been on the show for 10 years. He is a great "natural" personality with the ability to juggle "Stunt Boy" duties, producing AMAZING "packages", a witty reply, and takes a LOT of heat from me and Erica. ALSO a wise-ass. He came to us from G-105's great "Bob & The Showgram.
We are on the hunt for our 4th team member and producer right now.
Who does what, and how much?
Jack: Constant, 24/7. Most things we do in our lives end up on the air. If not today, when it fits naturally. Everyone brings their lives and opinions to the table.
We use as many services as we can get to see what the majority are talking about elsewhere. It's a GREAT timesaver to have the material provided for us, but we have to find a way to make it "ours" and truly interesting to the target. More is left on the table, by far, than ever hits the air.
What's the one feature, bit, or show element you feel the most confident about?
Jack: Two things: Being vulnerable and honest about a life or relationship situation, and a great celebrity guest that we can play with.
Name your most memorable radio moment. (Good or bad!)
Jack: Having a President or Vice-President call is always a big deal. Having Paul McCartney is exciting for everyone, but here's my favorite: A former high school mate of mine called and said his 16 year old son was gravely ill and would die soon. He was offered a trip to Hawaii by Make A Wish, but told his dad "I don't want to go on vacation, and then come home and die". He said his son wanted to restore a 68 Camaro with his dad.
My High School acquaintance called to see if I knew of anyone with a car they could work on FAST. I asked Russell if he'd come on the air, and talk about this a bit. We did and the phones literally exploded. We not only got a 68 Camaro to restore, we got dozens of members of the community to help out. One had a Camaro body, another a transmission, someone would paint it, another the interior.
This went on-and-on. Local and National TV. Constant updates on the radio as the project moved forward. AMAZING unity and community participation with Russell and his son lifted everyone's spirits.
Not only was the car completely restored over a few months, but the family was so happy and moved by all this that Russel's son started feeling "better". The doctor's said there was no reason to come back, but they went for "one last checkup". The cancer was in COMPLETE remission!!! Duke University couldn't believe it, but they confirmed it was true!
The young boy went on to not only drive the car (his ultimate "I Want to Live Long Enough to Do This" goal), but the car won car shows around the region and country.
This young man eventually got married and had a healthy son. Just amazing in everyway.
The young man eventually succumbed to the cancer when it returned, but can you imagine? What if I hadn't called this guy I barely knew from high school? What if I had just blown him off and said I'd call a car dealer friend for him? What if we didn't put his story on the air? What if I wasn't really listening to him.
Several years later we became very close with Mattie Stepanek, the amazing young poet who had Muscular Dystrophy, and was best friends with President Jimmy Carter and Oprah. He was a guest on our show many times to read his poetry, and we gave him a "guest DJ" day for his birthday. He rolled his ever-present wheelchair into the studio and we gave him his own headphones, a mic and place at the board. Guests to interview, phone calls to answer. An in-studio audience with catered breakfast. It was a blast and a truly touching day.
After Mattie passed, his mom told us it was his favorite birthday and one of the best days of his life. Listeners tell us the same thing.
Those are the two things about our show we hear the most about. The human side. The things we're most proud of.
Celeb Interviews... do you do 'em? Love 'em? Hate 'em?
Jack: Paul McCartney for the grandeur of it all. Al Gore, who we were very close with. My band played at many of the vice-presidents functions, official and private. We had him on the day after he conceded the election to George Bush.
We played at his concession party with Tom Petty, Jon Bon Jovi, Stevie Wonder and others. Another story for another time. Emotional, raw, real, with tears and all.
Quick Word Association
Jack: Hot topic we express honest opinions about, but also ask for listener's opinions. We DON'T use the show as a bully pulpit.
Jack: So foolish. Great fodder for parody songs and discussion. Oh how the mighty CAN fall. It could happen to any of us. Lesson learned.
Jack: Either a DAMN big prize or a very entertaining game with listener character development. If not - spend the money in marketing and TV
Jack: Total support for the troops. Sad for everyone involved. Probably the sad legacy of George Bush no matter WHAT happens before he's out.
Jack: To have fun with on the air, but only if we're having fun with both sides. Yes, we'll get complaints, but we're an equal opportunity offender.
Throw us a freakin' bone, name one thing about yourself or about each other, that most people don't know. Be honest.
Jack: Erica Hilary has been in MANY B-movies! OK, C movies. OK, direct to video movies. I'd tell you to Google her, but she was smart enough to us a nom de plume.
Erica is a meteorologist and did TV weather and has had recurring roles on network TV. She originated the "Girl Talk" show and concept that so MANY have ripped off. "They owe you money, Erica!"
Jimmy Alexander has not only pulled off "the switch", but he did it with mother and daughter! (am I sharing too much??) Jimmy has only worked on one other show, "Bob & The Showgram" in Raleigh. Bob & Madison taught him well.
When I was in high school I started working for WINX, a big suburban station here in Washington. I was 16 and a junior at Robert E Peary High School. I'd go to school. Get out at 3:00 and go do 7-midnight on WINX. I was fortunate enough to work at WINX at the same time as Joel Denver, Terry Steel and many other notorious radio icons.
I was feeling pretty good about my 16 year old self, until I put on a record (yes, a 45) and went downstairs to the parking lot to visit with a 16 year old, er, uh, fan.
Let me tell you how fast the 8 minutes of "American Pie" goes by when you're "gettin' busy". I ran back to the station's door with about a minute to spare. Plenty of time to run up one flight of stairs and hit a jingle and the next record. Plenty of time if I had remembered my key...
One LARGE rock, and one shattered glass front door later, I made it as the final note was being sucked up by all that AM radio, tube-fired compression. Man, that jingle sounded great!
I had to tell Pierre Eaton, the owner and manager, that someone tried to break in. He knew I was full of it. He had driven by in his White Corvette moments earlier as I was smashing the front door. He let me stay.
Thank you, Pierre. Thank you VERY much.
If there was one piece of advice you could give, what would it be?
Jack: Here's my mantra, for what it's worth: "Say aloud what people are thinking".