10 Questions with ... Wes Styles
April 24, 2012
1) What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
I remember being 11 years old and asking my mom what it took to be a radio DJ. Growing up, radio DJs were seen as local celebrities and it seemed like a cool job ... plus I love music. When I was 14, I met Dom Nardella and he became like an older brother to me in the biz, showing me the ropes, letting me make my first demos, etc.
2) What career path would you be following had it not been for this industry?
Only the funniest job in the whole world: dairy department manager! (Please note the sarcasm.) I didn't drink milk for over a year after having nearly 18 gallons dumped on me in the cooler. The pallet jack hit the drain, turned hard, and caused the entire thing to spill over, breaking just about every container on it and splashing it on me ... If I wasn't doing radio, I'd probably be stuck doing that job still (since I was fired from it because I was taking too much time off to be at the station)
3) How is the relationship between programmer and record label changing? For better or for worse?
It's gotten better over the last few years. Everyone I work with is great ... and we have an understanding of how the other works. They don't push on me and vise versa.
4) What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
Staying connected with the audience and being the ones to expose them to new music ... with the Internet, it's easier to find music so we don't look as "cool" as we once did when bringing out "new" music. Social networking is another thing, too. You've got to be on top of that while being on air to coach a listener to tune in if they aren't already.
5) Describe your weekly music meeting ... a) what is the process when you listen to new music? b) approximately how important by percentage is gut, research, sales, video play and chart position when determining the status of a record?
I pick out a couple of tunes I think could work. We sit in my office for a pow-wow and talk about each track. It's all gut to put something on the station for me, especially with new artists. After that ... research and requests. If the audience is not reacting, then something is up.
6) What was the biggest gaffe you've made on-air?
Thought the mic was off at a remote broadcast and realized that I didn't hit the button after talking with my co-host about our escapades the night before over the current playing song ... Thankfully, my girlfriend at the time called my cell to let me know since some of it involved her!
7) What is the biggest change that you'd like to see happen in the business?
Promotion budgets! It's tough operating on no promo budget to get shirts, koozies, stickers, trips, etc. That's why I am soooo glad we have a great working relationship with the labels we deal with to create great promotions around bands we believe in.
8) How often do you aircheck your own shows? Is it mandatory that you run tape every day? Also, can you honestly critique yourself?
I am my own worst enemy. I run tape as much as possible on myself and even have my staff aircheck me. Can you honestly critique yourself? By all means, YES
9) What was the first song or full-length release you purchased?
Green Day's "Dookie" -- that should be in the first five albums any rock fan of this and any generation after buys. Classic teen angst, punk rock album.
10) As you look back over your career ... any regrets? Missed opportunities?
I have learned never to look back with regrets. Everything that has happened in my life and/or career has made me the person I am today ... and I am extremely happy with everything right now. I've got a great team at an amazing station with ample opportunity ahead of us.