10 Questions with ... Curtis Kay
November 29, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
WAMU/Washington DC; WRNW/Briarcliff Manor, NY 1977-1980; WNNJ-A/Newton NJ 1978-1979; WDHA 1980-present
1) What was your first job in radio?
First paying job: free-form Rock station WRNW/Briarcliff Manor, NY. I got hired by Howard Stern to do afternoons and moved to mornings after six months. Got lucky; my first radio gig and I got to play what I wanted.
2) What led you to a career in radio?
Growing up as a kid listening to Dan Ingram on WABC with a little transistor radio (high-tech back then). I listened to the radio all the time; at the age of eight, I decided that's what I wanted to do.
3) What makes your station or market unique? How does this compare to other markets or stations you have worked at?
WDHA is unique because it's had the same rock format for 30 years. A great mix or new and Classic Rock. No other station in the market has remained true to its audience like WDHA. The amazing thing these days is we get young listeners, 18-34, who grew up listening because it was their parents' P1 station. Awesome!
4) How do you feel terrestrial radio competes with the satellite radio and Internet these days?
By remaining local, live and consistent. People will always crave that one-on-one. They want to know that the person on the radio understands their neighborhood. When a freak hurricane moved through NJ, listeners were appreciative that there was someone live giving them information about what was going on in their neighborhood. Also, taking requests live and giving the listener a chance to share their thoughts and songs with others.
5) If you could add any one full-time position to your budget with no questions asked, what would it be?
A marketing director!
6) What was the biggest gaffe you've made on-air?
I worked at two different radio stations in two different states (NJ, NY) in the '70s -- one Rock, the other Top 40, I'd give the wrong call letters at least a couple of times a month.
7) Please describe the best or worst promotion you've ever been part of.
Worst was I had to milk a cow at a crowded mall in the early '80s as part of a campaign for the American Dairy Association. I'm still in therapy!
8) What is the most rewarding promotion or activity your station has ever been involved with to benefit the community or a charity?
WDHA and I got involved with the NJ Special Olympics ... everything from entertaining the athletes to raising money, etc. I even got to put together music for the opening ceremonies. Through that charity I learned the real meaning of sports -- and the handicapped can do anything if we give them a chance.
9) How do you position the station musically and why did you choose this direction?
We position the station musically as "The Rock of New Jersey." In other words, we don't jump on new trends for the sake of seeming hip; if it's guitar-driven rock and our audience reacts to it, it's on WDHA. Our listeners have chosen the direction of DHA for over 30 years; we just try to stay ahead of their wants.
10) How often do you do remotes and which work best for the station?
We get out in the marketplace as often as we can. Whether it's a remote at a concert, a client appearance, or a charity, the more we keep our local edge, the better.
What approach do you take after a soft book?
I NEVER PANIC!!!! Unless it's a recurring problem area, then I'll make programming adjustments. In the past. the station would make drastic changes book after book and the station for a few years lost its way. But, we're consistent enough these days to now a "soft" book is just that
What led to your station's recent ratings increase?
A killer air staff that connects with New Jersey listeners!
As you look back over your career ... any regrets? Missed opportunities?
No regrets. I had a lot of chances to work in other markets; unfortunately those stations are not around anymore. I've been doing what I love and wanted to do for 35 years ... what's to regret?