10 Questions with ... Joe Thomas
November 15, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Started career 25 years ago at WPUT/WMJV in Brewster, NY after a stint in restaurant management. Mainly promotions at AOR/Hot AC stations in Nassau/Suffolk NY (WRCN); Ocean City, MD (WLFX); Buffalo, NY (WTSS) and Lancaster, PA (WLAN). Moved to talk with WCOJ in Coatesville, PA and also WDEL in Wilmington, DE before arriving in the land of Jefferson and Madison. Started my own syndicated show in 2010 on flagship station in Charlottesville (WCHV); WLEE in Richmond; and WFJX in Roanoke, VA.
1. Since last we spoke (you were still at WCOJ at the time), you've moved to Charlottesville, where you're a PD, morning host, and afternoon syndicated host. First, a practical question: How do you find the time and energy to do all of your daily jobs? How do you fit it all in?
I love what I do. There is a special vibe to discuss government in a town that gave us the authors of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Also, my wife Elaine and business partner Chris Schoenewald help a lot.
2. About the syndicated show, how did that come about? What does the show offer that sets it apart from what else is out there?
I found that offering something that is targeted to the regional needs of the Mid-Atlantic listener and frees our affiliates to uses that budget space for news and promotional needs.
3. You host the syndicated show with Chris Schoenewald -- how would you describe each of your roles on the show? What does Chris bring to the table, and what is your role on the show?
Chris is the "insider," having worked in the White House as well as having risen to political party leadership positiona both locally and on state-wide levels. He is also a huge "Don and Mike" fan, and because of that we're able to take a more appropriately humorous approach to the breaking news we cover each afternoon.
4. What's your approach to the morning show -- are you focusing on local issues, national news, hard news, lifestyle stuff, or a combination thereof? What's working for you?
Mainly State and Local issues put when applicable, national news through a local filter (a town like this has an unending supply of those...).
5. How, if at all, are you incorporating or using social media for your shows and station? How important are Facebook and/or Twitter to what you're doing?
I use "Hootsuite" to manage my social networking and promote what is on the docket in each segment.
6. WCHV added an FM signal a while back. Have you seen a difference in your station's audience or performance with the move to FM? Are you seeing a younger crowd, or did the audience just move to the new band?
Definitely seeing a turnout of younger audience. It also added about a dozen new communities into our audience, many that do not get daily newspapers and rely on my local show for daily local info.
7. A decade into your talk radio work, do you find that your experience doing music station morning shows has any bearing on how you do talk? Or has all the music-morning-show stuff been worn away over time?
I think understanding the very fickle nature of music radio listening habits makes me very conscious of minutae that some talk stations don't think about, like teasing forward and re-setting topics for the audience that may just be tuning in.
8. Of what are you most proud?
That through it all, my family is still together and my kids continue to draw raves from teachers and others.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ________________.
...talking with people.
10. What's the most important lesson you've learned in your career?
Perform today's show like it will be your last.