10 Questions with ... Pugs Moran
July 22, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I began my career in Chicago (my hometown) as a sidekick/producer on the legendary and original FM talker WLUP. I left the Loop for Q101 in the mid-'90s to produce a male/female morning show. Immediately following this experience, I went on to form my own male/female-driven team show in Dallas, where for over a decade we remained fat and happy. Following the end of "the Pugs and Kelly show," I began building new media platforms and helped launch and build the most popular and profitable streaming station in Texas, DeepEllumonair.com.
1) What's the best way to get your foot in the door?
If you are a kid looking to break in, then I would suggest "hanging around." Go to all the promotions. Get to know the promotions people. Just don't be weird. Act dependable. This can easily lead to your first entry level position.
If you are a seasoned professional, then you already know the answer. Have friends/know people. So remember, when you are on top, don't be a jerk. You will need "friends" in this business.
2) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
I want to help create a Modern AC team show. There is an art to balancing a new ensemble show. What Kelly Mohr and I created in Dallas between 2001-2010 for CBS and later Cumulus was by design a cutting-edge AC morning show ... it just aired on a Talk station. We have always felt miscast and slightly stunted by our Talk radio success. We watched what Eric and Kathy were doing in our hometown (Chicago) and thought we could do it even better. I have a concept for that format that I am very excited about and eager to share.
3) What's the most unbelievable question you've ever been asked in an interview?
An AM Talk programmer, upon hearing my resistance to what I called "divisive talk," looked me dead in the eye and said, "Can you fake it?"
4) Are you able to slow down and enjoy free time doing things with your family and friends that you probably did not have time to do while you were working?
Yes, I have been lucky in my career that I am not destitute and can devote time to my veterans work. I have also been able to spend the "toddler years" with my son. Hanging out at a McDonalds Playland watching your kid be a three-year-old can be pretty sweet at 11a on a Tuesday.
5) What has been your biggest career accomplishment?
The station we helped build in Dallas. Live 105.3, to this day, is legendary down there and sadly the current CBS Sports Talker (105.3 The Fan) still struggles in our shadow. My show did the expected male 25-54 numbers FM talkers wanted; but we also dominated with women and young adults. We proved that young people will listen to Talk radio on FM if you are talking about their lives and experiences, and not just trying to get a president deported. FM-young talk worked in DFW and it was profitable.
6) Having been through all you have dealt with in this biz, what advice would you give people trying to break in?
Be nice to people. Use social media to stay connected to everyone you have ever worked with. This is a business of not just "networking," but friendships and loyalties. The overall best piece of career advice I ever heard was something Greg Solk said: "You must leave and achieve somewhere else or you will always be the kid who got the coffee." Those two things are key, I think.
7) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
I have been lucky enough to have been a part of a few successful new media start-ups, so I haven't been looking for work until recently. I have done some consulting; specializing in the use of social media for profit. The work I do with the AFSF and all our returning veterans is how I fill most of my time. I have been trying to create a veterans podcast network for Hireahero.org but have received little support from radio or corporate America. Partnerships for veterans causes are pretty hard to come by.
8) Some people get discouraged or enlightened with the business when they actually step out of it for a while. Tell us your observations from the outside.
I'm a lifer so I never feel like I have an outsider's perspective. All my friends are in management or on the air somewhere. I will say this: For 15 years I lived a fairy tale of success. Then it stopped. I now see how this business works. It isn't evil and it isn't dead, but it is a "business" and there is a way to make it more profitable than ever, but we must embrace new ideas. New media has created some great new ideas. Radio could take a lesson or two.
9) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
Yes, far more actually. I have recently moved from Dallas back home to Chicago. I listen to everything here. So much has changed in this town since 2000. I am first and foremost a fan of good radio. Hubbard has some really monster adult stations here, and don't you be sleeping on WGN radio and their new FM Sports Talker. This is an exciting time for Chicago radio ... and WLUP just got a new PD.
10) Do you plan on sticking with radio?
Absolutely... "radio," or whatever we end up calling it, is in my blood. I just love it and hope to run a station one day. I am the quintessential radio geek. History, trivia, theories, demos, formats ... I devour it all like candy. I'm not going anywhere.
Your favorite new diversion is...
Trolling on social media. It is becoming a problem. It is very similar to making the phones light up during a radio show. Post something crazy and watch the sparks fly. Maybe I should start drinking instead?