10 Questions with ... Jason Russell
August 9, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Since 2000 when I started at WGIR in Manchester; I've gone between the Manchester and Portsmouth markets two times each, to where I find myself now as APD/MD at WHEB. Along the way, I've done everything from middays, afternoons, nights and overnights on Rock, Oldies and Country. Crazy how my entire career I've only worked for Clear Channel.
1) What was your first job in radio? Early influences?
My first job in radio was board-op'ing WGIR-A overnights in Manchester, listening to all the crazy people calling in to Coast to Coast with Art Bell -- I love that show! Some of my earliest influences come from growing up in the '80s and '90s in the Boston area, listening to 'BCN and even the stations I've worked on (WGIR and WHEB) both heritage Rock stations.
2) What career path would you be following had it not been for this industry?
I was set to go to school for engineering and architecture, but radio was always something that I loved, and when it came to decision time ... I went for it.
3) How do you feel terrestrial radio competes with the satellite radio and Internet these days?
There's still a need for terrestrial radio. It's about balancing coverage of national stuff just as much as local stuff and delivering it in an entertaining way.
4) How is the relationship between programmer and record label changing? For better or worse?
Paperwork. It takes a lot of signatures to give away CDs these days. But really the relationships are great! There's reps that I've worked with virtually my entire career who I still talk to all the time. And others that seem to come and go, which I guess for this business is not so strange...
5) What's your take on current music? Is it as good as six months ago, better, or about the same?
Right now, I would say about the same, although it seems we've got monster rock singles from The Foo Fighters, Seether and The Chilli Peppers, which is sweet.
6) What's the best concert you've been to so far this year and why?
Roger Waters "The Wall" at the Garden in Boston. Musically, it was spot on and the production with the Wall was just amazing.
7) What is the most rewarding promotion or activity your station has ever been involved with to benefit the community or a charity?
Greg and The Morning Buzz Lend A Helping Can. It started as a morning show food drive and has grown into a two-day, multi-market on-air auction where the Buzz broadcast from 5:3a to 7p. During that time, various guests call in and stop by the studio. Items that have been auctioned off vary from vacation packages, autographed rock and sports memorabilia, and even home heating systems. All proceeds benefit 11 charities feeding the needy in New Hampshire. It's grown so much that we're continuously working throughout the year putting together the event and collecting auction items. SO ... if you have anything you'd like to donate, please send it to JR at WHEB, 815 Lafayette Rd. Portsmouth, NH!
8) How are you using new music technologies to work with the music you program on your station, in production, and in your personal life?
Between the CC database, digital music distribution (like playMPE) and e-mails from label reps, I get everything I need for programming the station. In production, all our imaging and music beds are from a digital source. Personally, I love having an actual CD and being able to listen to a full album in my car.
9) 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?
Show prep is something I'm doing all the time. Whether casually scanning the Internet or reading a magazine, I'm always thinking about what I can use on the air. I take at least an hour every day to stop everything and focus on just the show; I read as much as I possibly can, from tangible magazines like Rolling Stone, Spin, Relix, Maxim and Guitar World to online local news outlets, Blabbermouth.net, show prep services, and one of my favorite websites: mashable.com (love the nerdy/tech stuff).
10) What is the best advice you would give to young programmers/promotion people? :
If I could offer just one piece of advice, it would be: WEAR SUNSCREEN! Really, though, it would be make as many contacts as possible and never miss an opportunity to learn something new.
What are your three favorite artists or songs of this year?
Volbeat - Fallen, Sick Puppies - Riptide, and Adelle - Rumors (she's dope!)
Tell us what music we would find on your car or home CD player (or turntable) right now and what is it you enjoy about that particular selection?
What's in heavy rotation in my car right now is the Foo Fighters - Wasted Light, G. Love - Fixin' to Die, and The Grateful Dead - April Fool's live '88.
What can we be doing with our station websites to better our stations as a whole?
The biggest thing is content and being current. Stale pizza and stale websites are the same ... they suck.
Besides your own, what is your favorite radio format?
I guess it would have to be Oldies, I mean we're pretty much Rock and Classic Rock. Oldies was the first format that I actually did an on-air show for.
If you were just starting out in radio, knowing now, what you didn't then, would you still do it?
Absolutely! For me the good still way outweighs the negative. I guess I'm just not that jaded yet...