10 Questions with ... Rob Dawes
July 12, 2011
1) What was your first job in radio? Early influences?
Started at WXXX in South Burlington VT way back in 1987!
2) What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
Working in Top 40, I knew there were lots of females listening and that is every guy's dream when he is 18!
3) What makes your station or market unique? How does this compare to other markets or stations you have worked at?
Q103 is unique because of the morning show we have. The Free Beer & Hot Wings show. There is no other show like it on the air in the Capital Region and no other station can claim to have them.
4) What can we be doing with our station websites to better our stations as a whole?
Townsquare Media stations have an exciting opportunity now with our websites. There is a lot of emphasis on the sites to create content from our personalities. We already do radio great and are working to make other media great -- and that includes our websites. Our station sites are different than any other in the market. We are able to provide news and entertainment as well as insight to each personality on the air.
5) How is the relationship between programmer and record label changing? For better or worse?
My relationship with labels has changed tremendously over the past five years. My time is limited during the day with all I have to get done daily and certainly don't have the 10 minutes to talk music to every rep who calls or e-mails me. We look at the music that fits the station and play it. Simple. I do have relationships with a handful of reps and they know how we operate. They understand and it works.
6) What's your take on current music? Is it as good as six months ago, better, or about the same?
Coming from Top 40 to Rock was certainly a lot of getting used to. Music is very slow on the Rock side; songs don't move up or down the charts as fast as Top 40. In the past, the rock product was suffering but just recently a lot of great solid music has come out: Foo Fighters, Seether, Avenged Sevenfold, Shinedown, Alter Bridge, Three Days Grace, Sixx AM, Five Finger Death Punch ... and we have some new projects I am really excited to hear - Red Hot Chili Peppers, Staind and Evanescence.
7) How do you position the station musically and why did you choose this direction?
Q103 lives in the '90s. We are primarily '90s rock gold-based. Lots of Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, Guns N Roses, Metallica ... of course we rock with some of the newer music as well. We only add the records we feel will be big and fit the sound of the station. So far the music formula is working. Combine that with our personalities and the Free Beer & Hot Wings show, you have success.
8) How do you keep tabs on the competition? When your competition attacks you on the air, how do you react?
When I started at Q103, there were three Rock stations and a Classic Rock station. Now only the Classic Rocker remainsl the other two Rock stations flipped out of the format, so we're the last man standing. I like competition; it makes you better as a programmer. I keep tabs and know what they are doing. I can't worry about them, because I can't control them. We just do what we feel is best for our station and audience.
9) How do you market your radio station?
That's one area where you have to be creative as marketing dollars have disappeared over the years. We are lucky to have a deal with a billboard company so we have a consistent billboard campaign. We also try to be everywhere with our two station vehicles. The more you are out the better!
10) In today's world of multi-tasking and wearing many hats, how do you find time to show prep and what sources do you use?
We have to. As stated before we have to create content for our websites. We have corporate web content providers that help finding those interesting entertaining, creative news stories and we have our bank of websites that we check daily. Not only are we providing content for website we use that material to make better shows and be better personalities.
How often do you do remotes and which work best for the station?
We have a few weekly station appearances. One is trivia and we do it with a different twist. Called SMARTER THAN A Q-TEASE. We have the Q103 Q-Tease street team, consisting of five to eight rock girls. Every week, we hold a trivia night where listeners play trivia against the girls to win prizes. It is an event that started out as "what can we do different" to a staple weekly event that has grown into a big revenue source as well. I mean, who wouldn't want to play trivia against hot smart girls?
If you could add any one full-time position to your budget with no questions asked, what would it be?
A full-time night person. Currently the station is voicetracked and would love to have her on as a full-time person, answering calls and interacting with the audience.
What are your three favorite artists or songs of this year?
- Foo Fighters -- The whole new album rocks.
- Godsmack -- Love Godsmack, what can I say?
- Avenged Sevenfold -- You have to see them in concert to appreciate the band
What's the best concert you've been to so far this year and why?
It hasn't happened yet for us! We have our first station Rock festival coming August 19th. The Q103 Q-Ruption with Godsmack, Five Finger Death Punch, Skillet, Sick Puppies and Egypt Central. It will be held at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center - an outdoor theatre so I expect that one will be my favorite.
We are lucky to have a venue here in the Albany area that brings MANY rock shows to town. It a one week time we had Avenged Sevenfold, Seether, Alter Bridge, Sully Erna, Papa Roach and Danzig.
How do you interact with your sales staff?
We have weekly meetings. I am constantly working on creating successful platforms to help sales create revenue, increase sales and hit budget. In today's world, we have to work together for the common goal or we wont be successful.
Please describe the best or worst promotion you've ever been part of?
The best promotion has to be the "Live Inside To Win The Ride." This was before all the reality television. We put four people inside a car in a mall and made them live in the car. Whoever remained and didn't get out won it. It lasted 38 days and we broadcast live every hour from the promotion. It grew and was huge!