10 Questions with ... Ken "Spanky" Moskowitz
July 26, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
KTAR/Phoenix, Production Director 1997-2001; Image/Creative Director, 2001-2011; Data Doctors, 2011-present
1. First, how did you get into the radio business? (And how did you pick up the name "Spanky"?)
The nickname came before the industry; unfortunately, when you're a butterball of a kid and look like Spanky from the Little Rascals, you're destined to be cursed.
I played radio DJ in my bedroom for as long as I could recall. At age 11, I started doing my own air checks. I wanted nothing more than to be on-air. My first real job was at WMCA New York running News/Talk as a show engineer. But when I was introduced to Ron Lundy at WCBS-FM, I was ready to move and grow. My first on air gig was at WSUS in Sussex County, New Jersey. But enough about my history, I'm starting to feel old.
2. You left KTAR after a long run doing imaging and production to handle the Data Doctors show, which you also co-host. How did you get involved with the Data Doctors in the first place? (And... Mac or PC? Iphone or Android?)
They slipped me a roofie while we ate Thai food one day. Over a very informal lunch with Ken Colburn and Brandon Disney (the two partners at Data Doctors), we started talking about their company, growth, brand strategies, etc. That is my area of expertise. While I was unable to speak, they somehow convinced me to quit my broadcast career and put me in an office next to them. Now I'm a suit. Sort of.
Ummmm, my Twitter handle should say it all. @MactasticGuy. Definitely Mac and iPhone.
3. What makes "Data Doctors" different from other radio tech shows? What separates it from the other tech offerings out there? What's the pitch?
Data Doctors Radio Program is everything the other tech shows aren't. We're fun, we know how to de-geekify crap so that everyone understands it. A big difference is we don't take advertising money from ANYONE. Our primary business pays the bills, the radio program is all about great content, and lots of fun.
4. You've been a foster and adoptive parent and advocate. What does being a foster parent mean to you? What's the best thing about foster parenting?
When my wife said she always envisioned a big, colorful family, I thought she was nuts. I was never certain I wanted to be a parent, and not sure I would be a good dad. We became foster parents after having two the old fashioned way. The kids that came into our lives were a blessing. Fostering helped us to be more compassionate and humble. We adopted our first in 2006, and have since adopted 2 more. We now have an NBA starting lineup at home. We are fortunate to have such a great family.
5. About what are you most passionate these days?
Home improvement. I love watching DIY and TLC and then trying to do the cool stuff they do. I just wish I had an unlimited budget to get it all done.
6. What production work do you think was your best? What's the one piece -- imaging, song parody, bit -- for which you'd like to be known?
I think the transformation and split of KTAR back in 2006 was amazing. Under the adept and brilliant leadership of PD Russ Hill (News/Talk 92-3 KTAR) and Ryan Hatch (Sports 620 KTAR) we created magic. To rebrand, rehab and resurrect a brand as storied as KTAR is truly my proudest time in the industry.
7. Who are your mentors and inspirations in the business?
I must admit, this list is short and with purpose. First, Ron Lundy at WCBS-FM. When I first met Ron, he showed my pics of his grandkids in the studio, let me see, feel and touch the board, introduced me to Cousin Brucie.
Next was my imaging mentor Alan Wilson. I met Alan at KKFR (Power 92) back in the early 90's. He taught me the subtleties of imaging, and how to create magic with a multitrack. Love that guy.
Then there was Steve Smith (Power 92 - Hot 97, etc.). Steve let me fill in for Alan, and allowed me to be both on air and in studio. I had the best of both worlds, with two passionate industry pros.
My close friend Jim Cutler (the voiceover guy) makes this list. In an industry filled with ego, arrogance and at times, a-holes, this big time player is as humble and kind a person you can ever meet. I am proud to call he and his wife Dawn friends.
Finally there's Russ Hill. When I met Russ, I thought "what's this kid going to do to KTAR?" What he did was change my thinking, allow me to grow, and help us rebuild a legendary station and return it to the throne. Together, we did some amazing stuff from 2006-2011.
8. If you hadn't gone into radio, what do you think you'd have become? (A pilot?)
Never a pilot. I only learned to fly to conquer my fear of flying. That would certainly not have been my path. I always dreamed of being a vet, but since I am allergic to most animals, that dream was crushed. So radio it was!
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _______________.
OK, totally gay sounding for a 44 year old father of 5. Lady Gaga and a couple of iJustine videos. Gaga has some great stuff that gets me moving. She's on my Spotify playlists. iJustine is one of the smartest internet-based personalities. She knows how to create content that drives eyeballs to her YouTube channel, her Vlog, her website. It doesn't hurt that she's beautiful, either.
10. What's the best advice you've ever gotten? The worst?
The best advice came from one of my aforementioned mentors. It came in the first weeks of working with him. He said "Spanky, it's very hard for someone to say no to you when you ask them for help." Very true, and that advice has served me well over the years.
The worst advice I ever got came from a friend in the industry. He told me to get out about 15 years ago. I would not have had the great run, the fun and growth had I taken that advice. Sometimes you have to be thankful for the choices you didn't make.