10 Questions with ... Chris Peterson
March 26, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Intern for The Morning Ritual with Chuck & Vince at KEDJ/The Edge in Phoenix for as long as they'd let me in the building, while attending Arizona State University. Moved to LA to become an Assistant in the Affiliate Marketing department at Premiere. Became an Affiliate Marketing Manager for weekend Talk Programs. Moved to NYC and eventually became the Director of Affiliate Relations for Glenn Beck, Elvis Duran and the Morning Show and The Bobby Bones Show. Now working for TheBlaze Radio Network as Assistant Program Director.
1. How did you get into radio, and why? Why radio?
I grew up in Tampa and was able to witness the birth of "The Power Pig" and their takedown of Q105. I remember having arguments in school about which station was better - everyone was talking about it. I think my school even banned the "Screw the Q" t-shirts! At the time, I don't think I really understood what was taking place in the market or the history that was being made, but looking back, wow, how could you not be a radio fan and want to be a part of it? After an internship at KEDJ in Phoenix, I was sold.
2. You've moved over to Glenn Beck's TheBlaze Radio Network after time at Premiere -- what about TheBlaze appealed to you as a new place to work?
When I first started at Premiere, I think Glenn had 9 people working for him. In a very short amount of time, he's hired many times that number and launched TheBlaze.com, a TV network, published multiple best selling books, events around the world, and now, TheBlaze Radio Network. It's exciting to be a part of a company that is focused on the next big idea and a group of people that all are working incredibly hard to achieve it. Working so closely with the Glenn Beck Team and everyone at Mercury and TheBlaze for so many years, it was just a natural fit for me. Especially with how often I hung out around their offices.
3. How far off, if at all, do you, moving to a network distributed online as opposed to via broadcast (at least right now), think Internet streaming is from being a financial player in radio? How close are we to the online financial model for an audio product being comparable to that of broadcast radio?
Traditional radio is obviously one of the most powerful and dominant mediums out there. We think it is important to have a foot in both worlds but this is far less about distribution and more about content. Good content works anywhere and everywhere, and we are proud that we have been approached by traditional companies about some of the network shows. Our philosophy is it make good content available to people in the places they want to consume it.
4. How is creating and producing content for an online radio operation different, if at all, from that for broadcast radio? Are there different considerations regarding content, or is the delivery system irrelevant?
Delivery is irrelevant, it is all about the content and providing a great home for your talent. All of us want our stations to have the best and most engaging programming out there.
5. How do you see radio making best use of social media -- what should hosts and shows be doing with their Twitter and Facebook pages, and how do you see TheBlaze's shows using it going forward? Who should be controlling and monitoring those accounts -- the host, the producer, the APD, the PD, or a third party?
Social Media is the lifeblood of our network growing, and our hosts treat social media as an extension of their shows. If you wouldn't waste time talking about it on air, don't waste your followers time online. We let our hosts control their own social media so that it's as true as possible and the accounts showcase each host's personality. Buck Sexton hosts a weekend show on our network and does a tremendous job with Twitter (twitter.com/bucksexton). Twitter gives listeners the chance to chat along with him during the show and he interacts back, just like they're callers. But the listener interaction doesn't end when his show does, he stays engaged throughout the week. A few weeks ago Doc Thompson took a photo of himself pouring a two liter of Coke all over his face to celebrate NY courts overturning Bloomberg's soda ban and posted it to Facebook (www.facebook.com/DocThompsonShow) - it went viral! You can't ask for better promotion than that. We've also started thinking of on demand audio and its use in social media to promote the network. In just the last month or so, we made our content available to SoundCloud, Stitcher and iTunes. We're just coming up with new ideas and seeing what works!
6. Of what are you most proud?
I had been witnessing the growth of Mercury and TheBlaze from the sidelines while at Premiere and I am just really happy and proud to finally be a full member of the team. There are so many great & smart people working here and everyone is full of ideas - a really great environment and I'm very proud, but mostly thankful, to be a part of it.
7. Who are your mentors and/or influences, in radio and in life?
I've been extremely fortunate to work with some of the biggest & best names in the industry, but I know for certain that I would not be here if not for Julie Talbott. She hired me out of College as an Assistant in her department and gave me so many great opportunities at Premiere. When I went into her office with hardly enough experience to even to go into her office and asked if I could be a part of the new syndicated morning show we were rolling out - Elvis Duran and the Morning Show - she not only let me be a part of it, she let me be the Brand Manager, and that was when I really started to love my job. A few months later, I took over for The Glenn Beck Program as well. She has always supported me and continues to do so today. Alissa Pollack also receives an honorable mention by showing everyone that being a good person and doing the right thing is the best way to do business - and she throws one hell of a wine dinner!
8. What do you do for fun?
I'm in the "best all radio member cover band in the world"*, Best in River. Members include: Eric Stanger (Premiere), Stu Heidemann (Reel World) and Myles Peterson (Premiere). We take Top 40 songs and rock them out. It's pretty awesome. If you're in NYC on June 22, come see us at Fontana's.
*There is probably a much better all radio member cover band out there.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ___________.
...making a Seinfeld reference. Without a doubt, I will drop a line from the show in an email or conversation every day.. Not that thereâ€™s anything wrong with that.
10. What's the most important lesson you've learned in your career?
Never be afraid to let people know what you want. Probably could have saved a lot of headaches if I figured that one out earlier!