10 Questions with ... Brian Pelleier
September 9, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I graduated in 2003 from the University of Southern Maine with a B.A. in Communication. Soon after, I turned an internship at Portland Radio Group into my first job in radio. I dawned the "Whooly Bully" (a big orange bull) costume during a remote for Oldies 100.9. Following that experience, which brought great delight to some children and unbridled terror to others, I took on just about any responsibility that came my way from running a board for NASCAR, to jocking overnights at the adult contemporary station. Finally, I grasped the opportunity to work in news at the legendary Newsradio 560 WGAN. I became one of Portland, Maine's first ever traffic reporters. A couple of years later, I was promoted to Chief Field Reporter and also served as the main fill-in news anchor.
In 2009 I packed up my radio dreams and moved them to San Francisco. I started volunteering as a news and web producer at KALW Public Radio. A few months later, I started teaching radio journalism to High School aged students in the EarthScope Media program. Not long after that Jack Swanson hired me to produce for Karel upon his much anticipated return to KGO Radio and about a year later I formed a partnership with the very funny Maureen Langan.
1. What got you into radio? Why radio, and when did you decide it was what you wanted to do as a career?
I wanted work in broadcasting since I was a kid. I remember practicing my DJ voice in front of a mirror in my bedroom and introducing mix tape songs to an audience that consisted of my little brother, stuffed animals, and action figures. As a teenager, I would try to stay up past my bedtime, listen to the Red Sox on WEEI out of Boston, and try to emulate Joe Castiglione. I was about 16 when my voice cracked. I had a job working at a fast food joint and one day I was taking drive thru orders when about 3 people during my four hour shift told me that I should "be in radio". I immediately started seriously considering a broadcasting career.
2. What does your job at KGO entail- what goes into producing a show? And, in your mind, what makes a good producer, and what makes a good talk show?
A good producer is engaged in the show and can multitask. As a producer at KGO Radio, I work with my hosts to brainstorm and research show topics, pre-interview and book guests, help develop the show's schedule, screen and coach callers. I write, edit, and produce podcasts. I work with KGO's news team during breaking news situations, to ensure a smooth talk to news transition. I am also active in helping my hosts develop and maintain their social media strategies.
Good talk shows have good hosts and a good team behind them. The radio shows and podcasts that I listen to have hosts that can speak to a wide audience but make you feel like they are talking to you in your car, at the gym, or during your commute.
3. You also teach radio journalism to high schoolers - do you find enthusiasm for radio among the students these days? What do you tell them about the outlook for the industry, and what response do you get?
I got into teaching the EarthScope Media program when I was in between broadcasting jobs. The students reinvigorated my enthusiasm for radio. Some of them are beside themselves with excitement when they listen to their final product. Many of them aren't considering broadcasting careers, but are looking to improve their communications skills. I tell the students who are interested that the field is fun but challenging. The ways in which people are consuming audio are changing. Ten years from now people will likely be listening to their favorite shows in ways we can't currently fathom. Where there's innovation there's also opportunity.
4. Who are your mentors, influences, and heroes?
Portland Radio Group was a great place to find mentors like my PD Jeff Wade, news anchors Mike Audet, Dan Cole, Diana Tracy, and DJ Joe Aguire. KALW News managing editor Ben Trefny got me rolling here in San Francisco. Former producer J Westerling and news anchor Kim McCallister really helped me feel at home at KGO.
5. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What's your career goal?
I want to be an independent Social Media Consultant.
6. Do you use social media in conjunction with your work? Twitter? Facebook? Or not? How, if you use them, do they tie into what you do at KGO?
7. What do you do for fun?
I love camping, hiking, and travel. I'm also a craft beer and brewing fanatic. I currently have a Saison that's ready to drink and a Pale Ale on the way.
As a matter of fact, if you want to discuss radio, beer, camping, hiking or anything thing else you can follow me on Twitter @BrianBroadcasts
8. Of what are you most proud?
I really enjoy teaching with EarthScope Media. One of my classes has a fair number of English learners. Earlier this year I had a young lady who had recently moved to the U.S. from her native Guatemala. We communicated mostly through gestures and her friends in class who acted as interpreters. I offered her the opportunity to voice her story in Spanish, but she was absolutely determined to voice her radio story in English. She did it! I can't begin to tell you how exciting that is as a teacher.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _______________.
Taking my dog for a walk. I've tried, he won't let me and my wife won't either.
10. What's the best advice you've ever gotten? The worst?
Before making the move to San Francisco a PRG buddy of mine, Chuck Igo told me to "Stick with the radio thing" because "you've got the chops". That advice has worked out pretty well so far. I find bad advice a lot more forgettable.