10 Questions with ... Mud
February 14, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WNRQ/Nashville, PD & on-air 2005 to present.
- WARO/Ft.Myers/Naples, PD & on-air 1995-2005
- WDIZ/Orlando, morning drive personality 1993-1994
- KPNT/St. Louis, morning drive personality 1993
- WHVY/Baltimore, morning-drive personality 1991-1992
- WMID/Atlantic City, midday personality 1990-1991
1) What was your first job in radio? Early influences?
When I was in elementary school, I would travel with my mom and sister about an hour in the morning, to drop my sister off at work. My mom would then take me to school. I can remember hearing 77 WABC vividly everyday for an hour on that morning commute. "The Morning Mayor," Harry Harrison, would say, "Good morning, Mom, have your second cup of coffee," I would say ...Wow ... He's talking to my Mom and playing all these great songs over and over again! So... I learned a bunch about music and morning delivery on that hourly ride ... serious TSL! I can partially attribute that experience to my career path. Many years later, the "Morning Mayor" of Newton, NJ, was born and here's the skinny...
On Memorial Day weekend 1984, after one weekend shift on Country WIXL/Newton, NJ, I was asked to take over mornings on the sister station, Oldies WNNJ/Newton, NJ -- all for $160 a week!
2) What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
Growing up in the New York metropolitan area, I would listen to the legendary WNEW-FM and say to myself ... Hey; I can do that ... play rock & roll and entertain people! Plus, in the back of my mind, I remembered those morning car rides and WABC. I moved to Florida to attend The University Of Miami. I was exposed to the great radio station, WSHE ..."She's Only Rock & Roll" ... I was obsessed with the station and their personalities and once again I thought ..."Hey, I can do that!" On summer break from the U, I returned home to New York and heard that WNEW -FM and Meg Griffin would be at The Bottom Line. I drove into the city to meet Meg and the staff. We started to talk about music and radio, and Meg said to me, "You have a nice voice, have you considered doing radio?" That was it ... I returned to the U in the Fall and while earning a BBA at the University Of Miami, I started doing shifts on the College station. Here's the cliché ... the rest is history!
3) If you were just starting out in radio, knowing now, what you didn't then, would you still do it?
Yes, love the business!
4) What makes your station or market unique? How does this compare to other markets or stations you have worked at?
Programming Classic Rock in Music City the past five years is interesting as they're many Rock brands on the dial and this is the Country Capital of the world. It is important to touch all genres of Classic Rock, as the population of Music City comes from various parts of the country ... and they enjoy their regional flavors of Classic Rock. Nashville is also a young city, so it's important to demo down certain music selections while maintaining the core of the format. That's what makes Nashville a unique Rock market. In comparison, I programmed Classic Rock in South Florida for 10 years. Since the demographics are older, a more traditional Classic Rock thrives there.
5) How do you keep tabs on the competition? When your competition attacks you on the air, how do you react?
I always check the competition, but I do not believe in knee-jerk reactions to attacks. I just run the offense, which historically has kept my station on top in each market that I program.
6) What is the best advice you would give to young programmers/promotion people?
Ask questions because there's never a stupid question. Have an open mind, be honest, and don't be afraid to try something different. Make sure your people skills are sharpened enough to get along with everyone.
7) How do you feel terrestrial radio competes with the satellite radio and Internet these days?
The competition of satellite and Internet is solely based on music variety. We all play music, but the local feel and those vital service elements on terrestrial radio win every time. Satellite and Internet can not do what local radio can.
8) What is your favorite radio station outside of the market and why?
WAXQ/New York, KFOG/San Francisco and Sports Talk WFAN/New York, the flagship station of my beloved New York Mets! Great personalities and sharp content make these stations faves in my book.
9) How do you interact with your sales staff?
I meet with the sales team once a week and encourage them to stop by my office anytime to discuss ideas, questions, comments concerns or how I can help them make the sale. It's vital that I continue to educate the sales team on the product they're representing. I also will go with sales to a client and discuss the station and promotion if that helps to solidify the deal.
10) Please describe the best or worst promotion you've ever been part of?
The best promotion that I orchestrated was The Classic Rock Awards. This was an old-school direct-mail piece that was targeted to our core Classic Rock demo. A huge sexy-looking direct-mail piece went out to our hot zips. Recipients were asked to vote on the greatest band, lead singer, guitar God, greatest album, song, etc. The piece had choices to vote on, info about the station and a picture of The Mud & Waddy morning show with our hot co-host chick Donna grabbing hundreds of dollar bills. We asked the peeps to send it back (we paid for the postage) and one entry won $9,450 (our frequency was 94.5) This piece really rocked as everyone loves to make an opinion on Classic Rock, the format that truly evokes passion. I proudly display that sweet tri-fold direct mail piece in my office on Music Row!
What's the best concert you've been to so far this year and why?
Steely Dan outdoor in the woods in Nashville. The Dan is always different in concert and I sat right up front with my family ... so cool! Donald Fagen kept looking at us too!
Tell us what music we would find on your car or iPod?
I've been listening to the Beatles "Revolver," The Kinks "The Kinks are The Village Green Preservation Society," Bruce Springsteen "The Wild The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle," The Zombies "Odessey & Oracle," of Montreal "Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?" All these CDs are true classics ...and of Montreal ... soon-to-be classic!
Who would be your dream guest on the show?
Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney.