10 Questions with ... Pat Frisch
February 28, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I began my radio career in Prescott, Arizona on KNOT. Later worked briefly in Flagstaff before going to South Lake Tahoe, California, KRLT-KOWL. Then to Reno, Nevada at KHIT. My first talk radio venture was in 1996 at KRNV/Reno and Sunbelt Broadcasting. Was transferred to their Talk station in Las Vegas in 1997 and in 1999 came to Albuquerque.
1. First off, how did you get your start in radio, and second, how did you make the move from country radio to talk? Was that part of the plan or something that just happened? Same for becoming a talk PD -- how did that come about?
When I got out of school in 1984, I sent out two tapes and resumes and was hired in Prescott, Arizona at KNOT. I started as an overnight country dude and after three months got the News Director position when the current director was fired for reporting a story about one of the station's biggest clients. In 1996 I got fired at KHIT in Reno, Nevada. I will never forget this, because it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. I got fired on a Monday and was hired across town at KRNV on Wednesday, it was a talk station. I did news and got my own talk show for two hours every day. It was a blast.
2. Albuquerque is not yet a PPM market. Are you programming now with an eye towards the PPM, or are you waiting until meters come to your market? Has the PPM in any way affected what you do yet?
I am not programming for PPM at this time. I have talked to many PDs that have programmed in it and we are ready to go should that day ever come here. For now, we still deal with recall and a diary.
3. KKOB has been number one for longer than any other talk station's current streak, as far as we know. To what do you attribute that success? Why is KKOB still atop the market after all this time?
I have been here almost 13 years and we have now been #1 almost 12 years. It is a simple plan. Get the best programs, surround yourself with good people, be a cheerleader and have fun! If I was to use one word, it would be consistency. Also, there is no job in this building that I have not done. I have guest hosted on all the shows, have done the news, done the sports talk shows and even did the morning show for almost three years when our former morning show host grew a HUGE EGO and decided to go across town. He failed, I kept the morning show #1, and then left it after the former host went off the air at his station across town. The former host never understood what drove the morning show. He always thought it was ALL about him.
4. You're now in an election year. How much do you anticipate your local hosts will be talking about the national election as opposed to local issues? How do you gauge whether your listeners are more into the national issues or local issues at any given time?
I always tell our hosts, if you don't have passion for the issue, don't force it right now. A lot of the national issues are already covered by Rush and Hannity. We have a primary election in early June and some good contested primary races. Local shows have been hammering these races. We will get into more of the national issues after the primary. We have also been focusing on the local legislative session and some great local topics from that. But we don't just do politics; we've been talking about other great topics like the passenger in a DUI accident that was also charged with a DUI, Gingrich and his women, a marine that got in trouble for not taking off his hat inside a building, and whether illegals should get a New Mexico driver's license.
5. How has KKOB incorporated social media and the web into the station's product? How important are Twitter and Facebook to what you do on the air? How much of it is kept in-house as opposed to being directed from the corporate level?
We have been doing Twitter and Facebook for several years already. They are just another way to touch the listener. Our website has podcasts of past shows, streaming, video and local news. But I think the most successful tool we have is texting. This is instant and has worked great. Our biggest success has been the traffic texting campaign. Instant traffic problems to the listener on their phone on the way to work. We also send out special guest alerts, breaking news, severe weather and special campaigns during big events like the International Balloon Fiesta and scoreboard updates from the four golf majors. You can also find us on your phone with the App. All our hosts do their own facebook postings and tweets. We have a seperate station twitter and facebook account. On the texting we have a limited number of employees that have access to carry out their jobs on a day to day basis thru MSNAP.
6. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the radio industry, long-term? What, if any, changes do you expect radio to go through in the next decade?
This is a question I am not sure I want to answer. Can we talk privately?... LOL!
One thing that will help radio is for the FCC to loosen up restrictions on TV stations owning radio stations in the same market. Some can already do it with permission from the FCC. I think there are a lot of TV companies that would buy in a second if they could. And I think there are a lot of stations in markets that would sell if they could. I will hold off on saying anything else.
I think you will see less and less local product in the years to come and that only hurts the listeners. I hope I am really wrong on this.
7. Where, in 2012, is the best place to find new talent? Is there still a farm system, or do you have to look outside the traditional places to find hosts, whether for full-time slots or as fill-ins?
In my interiew process I always ask people, if there was one job you would want to do in this building what would it be? That allows me to create a bullpen here at work. I have also found people at comedy clubs. Our afternoon host, Jim Villanucci, is a former stand up comic. He came with me to Albuquerque from Las Vegas nearly 13 years ago and took the afternoon show from 11th in Adults 25-54 to the top 3 in a year and has been there pretty much the whole time. He's even been #1 Adults 18-49.
I shy away from finding talk hosts from TV. Most of them don't have a clue on how to do a talk show. It takes a lot of work and guts, and most in TV don't get the preparation issue.
8. Of what are you most proud?
Our streak of 46 #1 books in a row is at the top of the list. I am also proud of the staff we have here at KKOB; great people to work with and a great GM in Milt McConnell that allows us to get 'er done!
Not sure how much longer the streak will last with the recent changes made, but it has been a hell of a run and I appreciate Brian Jennings for having the faith in me to do this job in Albuquerque.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ______________.
...laughing and creating.
10. What's the most important lesson you've learned in your career?
I can do a hell of a lot more than I ever thought I had the ability to do. And when people instill confidence in you it brings out the best in you. And that's a credit to Brian Jennings and Milt McConnell. Last piece of advice is this... I have learned that as a PD you should do every job in the building that you oversee. That way you can relate to it in a different way. AND why is a traffic reporter considered a break-in position at soooooooooo many stations? It is one of the hardest to do in the building, becuase you have to ad-lib. And being able to ad-lib only comes with experience.