10 Questions with ... Cindy Miller
November 8, 2011
1) What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
I listened to CKLW out of Canada when I was growing up in Michigan -- loved it. I never really thought about going into radio at that time, but I wrote for a newspaper and bartended, then tried my hand at being a club DJ (I sucked) until a friend told me that since I liked music and had a big mouth, I should be on the radio. My mom was a prize pig at a local station, so she called to ask if they were hiring and the rest is history.
2) What makes your station or market unique? How does this compare to other markets or stations you have worked at?
We are in one of the largest geographic markets that Arbitron measures, serving several distinct and different audiences. What works for one group in one area may not be of interest to another; it's challenging. I've worked for stations with wide coverage before, but never one with an audience that is so diverse.
3) What was the biggest gaffe you've made on-air? (dead air ... forget a mic was still on ... etc.)
Running the board for the morning show during a remote, I did a cross-talk with the guys and turned down their mics, but forgot to turn mine off. I was wearing headphones so I had no idea it was still on. When I went to fire the next cart (it was a looooong time ago!), it wasn't cued up so I got dead air and yelled F*CK at the top of my lungs ... and did I mention earlier in this paragraph that my mic was on?
4) How often do you do remotes and which work best for the station?
It seems like it's either feast or famine around here ... a ton or none. Spring and summer are always big because there are so many outdoor events happening and we cover such a large territory that we're running wild across Eastern Carolina. It always works best when the client is a partner and participates in putting on an event, rather than just having a remote. Sometimes it doesn't even matter if you're giving away a great prize; if it doesn't sound like fun, nobody will show up. People are so much busier than they used to be; it's hard to get them to change their plans for a free DVD, so you have to work hard to make it sound like they're missing out if they don't join you.
5) How do you interact with your sales staff?
As scary as it sounds, I'd like to spend more time with my sales staff. Because we cover such a large area we have three different sales staffs -- one in the studio building and two in other buildings that are 45 minutes away. We keep up via e-mail and phone, but I miss the solidarity of having them all nearby. I stay in closer touch with core reps for each station, and I try to share my excitement about promotional ideas with them, and I also try to be a cheerleader when they pull off something cool.
6) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
Being a PD is like being the teacher on a field trip with kindergarteners every day ... clever, funny, talented kindergarteners
7) What do you like best about working in this format?
Right now, Classic Rock is comfort food for your ears. With all the worries about jobs, gas prices and the economy, you can turn on a Classic Rock station and go back to a great memory or a better time. It's always great to get calls from listeners who haven't heard a certain song in a long time, or they wanna talk about a great show they saw years ago. The artists are larger than life and the passion for the format is still strong, and many younger demos are finding their way to Classic Rock through video games and reality TV. There are a lot of great new rock bands out there with solid songs, but how many people can name a member other than the lead singer?
8) 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?
I come in much earlier than I used to, about two-and-a-half hours before I go on the air. My midday show is pretty at-work focused and music-driven, so I don't do bits or anything, but I make sure that I have something to say. If listeners are gonna give me their most precious commodity, their time, then I don't want to waste it. I check all the local and national news sites, sports sites, Facebook -- someone is always posting something funny. I have several rock news websites bookmarked. I keep a running show prep document where I save everything, then delete it after I use it. Some great stuff isn't dated, so I can use it later if it ties into something in the news or whatever.
9) What is the best advice you would give to young programmers/promotion people?
Eat it, sleep it, breathe it, love it. Work your ass off and take pride in what you do; you make the difference every day
10) Of all the skills you have gained through the years, is there an area you'd like to improve?
There's plenty of room for improvement in all areas; I never stop learning and growing. I'd like to learn Photoshop ... that one escapes me, and I'd love to have more time to play with production and imaging.