10 Questions with ... Joe Greenwood
December 2, 2014
1. What got you into radio? Why radio, and when did you decide it was what you wanted to do as a career?
I grew up watching â€œWKRP in Cincinnatiâ€; even though I didnâ€™t get half the jokes, I thought that those guys were so cool. So when I was 14 years old and a representative from Knox College in Galesburg came to speak at my high school and extended an offer for anyone to come and try an air shift on the college station, WVKC, over spring break. I saw it as an opportunity to live one of my favorite TV shows. The guy who was supposed to be my ride/co-host bailed on me and I almost didnâ€™t go myself but, I made the two mile walk to the studio. After the â€œtrainingâ€ of â€œThatâ€™s the CD player, here is how you turn the mic on,â€ I channeled my inner Johnny Fever and cracked the mic. I was visibly shaking and terribly nervous but, after that first break I was hooked. At 14 years old, I knew that all I wanted to do was ramp Metallica records. I became obsessed with all things radio and continued to have an air shift at WVKC throughout my high school years. I only wanted to jock rock radio until a movie changed my ideal career path again. No laughingâ€¦ â€œSleepless in Seattleâ€ opened my eyes to the power of talk radio.
2. You do several things at WMBD as APD, producer, imaging director, and host. What's a typical day like for you at work? And how do you set priorities among the things you do?
It is less a typical day than a typical week. I try to set a day each week to focus on one task. One day I sit and write/ produce imaging campaigns. Another day I try to focus on planning out my weekend talk show. Then with my role as APD, there are days I spend chasing down problems and putting out fires with our PD, David Van Camp. Each morning I sit down with Scott Robbins and Jamie Markley to help with their show prep. What audio is needed? How do we want to approach this on social media? Etcâ€¦. Trying to forge out particular days for each task helps me keep things straight for the week as tasks stack up on my desk.
3. You produce the Robbins and Markley Show, which recently expanded to include Portland. A couple of questions: What have you changed, if anything, about how you do your job and prep now that Portland's aboard, and how do you keep abreast of what you need to know about what's happening in Portland? And what, in your estimation, makes a good producer?
The Robbins and Markley show is unlike anything else out there right now. It is political, it is lifestyle, it has strong music elements, as well as a strong focus on being local. So with the addition of Portland, we now have to research two metro areas. What makes the Peoria audience different than the Portland audience, what makes them the same? The filters we run bits through may have changed but, we try to keep the same focus. We have a great staff in Portland helping keep the guys informed on things that are trending in Portland. They say in talk radio, to do an hour of prep work for every hour on air. With the guys on air 7 hours a day, it is difficult for them to do that so, a good producer is someone that acts as a great support staff. Iâ€™ll do research on bit, Iâ€™ll bring them bits and information, I am on air with them in Peoria but, aside from that, Iâ€™ll grab them lunch, Iâ€™ll listen to them vent, I do whatever is necessary for them to do their best. If they shine, I shine.
4. Who are your mentors, influences, and heroes?
I know it sounds like I am kissing ass, but Scott Robbins and Jamie Markley are two of the most gifted broadcasters, in my opinion, ever. Scott Robbins could read a phone book and somehow keep you hanging. â€œComing up next whatâ€™s after Smith?â€ He may have been dropped on his head or something, but he can take any subject and make it stimulating. Jamie Markley was definitely dropped on his head, and he has the ability to push Scott on his positions, and what comes from that is radio magic. I am very blessed to work with them. So they are both my mentors and very influential on my own talk show.
Okay, enough ass kissing. I grew up listening to Dwyer and Michaels out of the Quad Cities, Colin Cowherd, Jim Rome, Glenn Beck, and Greg Batton. I steal from each of them liberally and have tried to create my own on air style. I currently have some great influences with my beautiful wife and two daughters, making for some great bits.
5. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What's your career goal?
That is difficult to answer as I never thought we would be here on the brink of syndication with the Robbins and Markley show. When I first thought about doing talk radio, I wanted to do the type of show that got me here in the first placeâ€¦ â€œSleepless in Seattle.â€ I would love to do a call-in relationship talk show (Think â€œSleeplessâ€ meets â€œLadies Manâ€). So here I stand at a bit of a crossroads. What if Robbins and Markley blows up? Am I good with having a career like Pat and Stu to Glenn Beck or do I try to go out on my own? It is hard to say, as I am very passionate about both paths. I love producing and working with Robbins and Markley but I also have a lot to say. 10 yearsâ€¦ we will see but, I hope still be living this radio dream that started so long ago.
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 WMBD?
Social media is big. There are times in which we throw something up on social and see if people react. If so we bring it to air, if not the conversation stays on Facebook. During my weekend show people tweet to me while I am on air and I respond on air. I also set up bits on Twitter ahead of going on air with it. Iâ€™ll tweet out the story I am about to talk about or research I have found. I like to have as informed of a conversation as possible with the listener.
7. With such a packed work schedule, how do you find quality time with the family? What do you like to do when you're not on the job?
Iâ€™ll admit finding time with the family is something I donâ€™t get enough of but, I always make the most of it when I do get time with them. I have an amazing teammate in my wife, Jenni, whom is very understanding and accommodating. My two beautiful little girls, Brooklyn and Adelaide, like to use me as a jungle gym and trampoline, but I am good with that. When I am not at work, I spend my time watching NFL football, â€œPeppa Pigâ€ with the kids, making dinner for my wife, and reading, if there is any time left. It is difficult to find the balance between being a good husband and father and also finding time for myself.
8. Of what are you most proud?
I am just a kid from a poor neighborhood on the bad side of town that made a series of good choices and ended up living my dream. How many people in the world can say that they are doing what they love to do? I have had the opportunity to meet some of the biggest names in rock music, take the stage in front of thousands of screaming fans to introduce bands, I worked with Dee Snyder of Twisted Sister in an attempted syndicated morning show. What a crazy life! To go from the kid with the dirty face, wearing hand-me-downs, to overcoming the odds to live my dream. That is what I am most proud of.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _______________.
â€¦caffeine, caffeine, caffeine. Also, I am afraid to admit that I am seriously addicted to Chapstickâ€¦. but my lips are kissably soft.
10. What's the best advice you've ever gotten? The worst?
The best advice I have ever received had nothing to do with radio at all. It is simply to not let something that is out of your hands bother you at times in which there is nothing you can do about it. Often times, people lie awake at night worrying about money or things they said to the boss or the to-do list for the next day. At 2 am, the banks are closed, the boss is asleep, and the to-do list is for tomorrow. Live in the moment, and sometimes that moment requires you to relax and go to sleep.
The worst? It is said all the time in radio and it isâ€¦ Mistakes happen, itâ€™s radio. No one dies. Why is that awful advice? Although it is important to move on from mistakes, it is also important to be certain that everything that goes on air is worthy of going on air. We can say we half-assed the show, but we never do. Make mistakes, but learn from them. If you make mistakes and donâ€™t learn the lesson and half-assed crap makes it to airâ€¦ that means it is time to get out of the business. This job is a gift treat it with care or you may find yourself selling cars.