10 Questions with ... Jay Taylor
July 5, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Began my career in a small market right outside of Cincinnati, then overnights in Cincy after 6 months. Moved from Evansville, where I met Buddy Scott, Greg Strassell, and some greats. After a few years, then to Nashville, which was a blast doing afternoons, to MD working with amazing people in Omaha, to Nationwide with Jerry Dean, Cat Thomas, Guy Zapoleon, and Kevin Weatherly, to Tampa, Alternative Rock in Las Vegas, back to Weatherly, and the launch of KOME in San Jose with Ron Nenni, then Live 105 in San Francisco. That’s where my wife comes in, then a few kids, Hurricane Katrina in the gulf and overseeing with a Regional position, moved to Columbus in 2006, and sports radio to present day. That covers a hell of a career, the good with the ugly. Also worked with Jimmy Kimmel and Carson Daly, which scarred me for life. :)
1. What inspired you to go into radio? Why radio?
My love was really weather; I wanted to be a storm chaser, but my insurance company and my wife advised against it. Seriously, I began that dream DXing stations when I was a kid -- WLS, ‘CFL, all over the country. Met some folks along the way, and, bam, the accident happened! I LOVE radio; yes, it’s changed, but you make it what you want. Remember, you work for “them.” You build your career for you. Follow your dreams and what makes sense for you and your family, and put the ego aside. Sometimes you have to “re-create yourself”. That’s when magic happens, and the FUN.
2. You were a music programmer for a long time and now you're at the helm of a prominent, successful sports station. What are the primary similarities and differences between programming music and programming spoken word?
The rules are the same. Content: Spin the A records. Make sure your talent is relevant, on top of their game, and engaging and entertaining at the same time. Make the station sizzle, in talent, production, events, and appeal. It’s what you are that drives the listeners. We create content that cannot be duplicated, and it’s local and it wins.
3. The Fan is the Ohio State football station, but how dominant is OSU football year round for The Fan? Is the image that fans in Columbus want to talk about the Buckeyes and nothing else accurate or is there a wider range of topics to talk about?
As the Flagship station of The Buckeyes and the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, there is an obvious synergy and relationship, and the appeal for that content interest is there year round. However, off-season, other stories drive the content, and we have always something to talk about (recruiting, training camps, drafts, or evergreen topics)…. I wish football was 24/7! NFL is just as big for us, especially the interest in the Bengals, Browns, and some big Steeler fans in the area. To answer you, there is always something to talk about with the Buckeyes, college, and NFL!!
4. How important to The Fan and RadiOhio is digital -- streaming and podcasts? What's your digital strategy?
Very important. It’s a brand extension of us. Look, as long as you provide unduplicated content and it’s compelling, they’ll find you, if it’s streaming, podcasting, or on the web. We’ve just relaunched a new website, with blistering content focused on audio, easy to find info and pops. Just also launched a new version of the app for Android and IOS, and audio is the key on those. I realize and tell our folks that the FM antenna may not matter much in the future. The studio will be there, and you may be heard more via our listener’s phone – but it’s the same idea, providing that product that people want.
5. How important is having play-by-play to a sports station? Is the general assumption that not having the key local play-by-play is fatal to a sports station true?
I think the value is extremely important. Besides the play by play, the branding and marketing opportunism are infinite. You can create so many avenues of revenue, programming, former athletes, and access to the coach that you would not normally have. We go beyond the Buckeyes with the Blue Jackets and, I have to tell you, how strong is the NFL? We carried Monday Night and Sunday Night NFL games last season, and it ranked tops in listeners.
6. Who have been your mentors, influences, and heroes?
I have to say, my world is very different from when I began in radio, but those people completely helped shape who I am today. I have to first thank my current President/General Manager, Dave Van Stone, who also comes from a music programming background and is a deep sounding board for me. Again, the same rules apply: our Director of Sales Todd Markiewicz is one of the most passionate, creative thinking sales directors and strategists I’ve worked with. The mold comes from back in Buddy Scott days, Greg Strassell, Guy Zapoleon, Kevin Weatherly, and the man who first opened my eyes deep into the world of the web, Ron Nenni.
7. What's the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
Too many to tell, and I don’t think you could print it. One of the coolest was spotting Prince in a nightclub in Nashville; not too many people knew him back in 1980, and he let me sit down and talk to him and bought me a drink and got to chat for about 15 minutes, which was awesome! I wish I could have had an iPhone back then!!
8. Of what are you most proud?
First, my family. This took a long time to get here. As far as career, just being able to help others grow and be successful (which you determine), being able to re-create yourself, and working at a great organization where I am today, where what you do is important and they believe in radio!
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ____________.
…coffee, my Detroit Lions, and… one day, I’ll storm chase. My wife won’t let it happen, dang it!
10. What's the best advice you've ever gotten? The worst?
Best: “Save your money.”
Worst: “If you like it, buy it.”
Seriously, “Save your money” is one that I’ll never forget. You know, radio, but I invested early. The best is from my dad, who passed in 1999 and something I live by which makes your day fun, because every day should you should make the best…. “This too, shall pass.” You can’t worry, and if you cannot do anything about it why get stressed? Make the best, enjoy the moment and move on, and don’t forget to smile to others.