10 Questions with ... Andy Hall
July 3, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Did my college radio at WRFW in River Falls, WI. Landed an internship with the great Remy Maxwell, who at the time was rockin' KXXR in Minneapolis. Landed my first official gig in 2000 at KAZR in Des Moines, where I did nights. Hired as PD of KQWB in Fargo, ND in September of 2003 before returning to KAZR in Des Moines in May of 2004 as MD/midday host. Slid into afternoons in March 2007, and was promoted to APD in May 2011.
1) What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
I grew up enjoying my dad's killer record collection. Always been a music fan. Eventually, began building my own collection of vinyl and actually used to stack the records in the order I wanted to play them, all while I pretended to host my own radio program ... even crafted a makeshift microphone out of tinfoil and a mixing spoon. I had an uncle who at the time worked at KQRS and then later KTCZ in Minneapolis who was a tremendous influence on my future endeavors; even when I was a kid, visiting him at the radio station had a profound impact on what was to come roughly 15 years down the road.
2) What career path would you be following had it not been for this industry?
Growing up, I always had a fascination with Mother Nature -- it was a dream for as long as I can remember to be a meteorologist and chase storms for a living. And, for awhile, I actually majored in meteorology while at the University of North Dakota before the idea of getting paid to talk on the radio was realized.
3) What makes your station or market unique? How does this compare to other markets or stations you have worked at?
In my opinion, what sets Saga Communications and specifically the Des Moines Radio Group apart from everyone else is the people. I work with some of the most creative and professional men and women in the industry. From GM Jeff Delvaux and OM Scott Allen to PD Ryan Patrick, our stations' air staffs, promotions, interactive and incredible sales staff, what truly makes the difference is the people. I'm incredibly lucky to be employed by a company that still believes in its people.
4) 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?
Ryan Patrick and I have a unique way of conducting our music meeting and determining on a weekly basis how we want our playlist to look and sound. We don't allow chart position or national callout to dictate what might be best for our station, but we certainly do pay attention to any and all tools that are at our disposal. Fortunately, we do our own local callout, which gives us a good idea of how our decisions are being received by our listeners.
Ryan and I pride ourselves on keeping a finger on the pulse of what sorts of things our listeners enjoy, which makes it relatively easy to rely as much on "gut" as on the other tools I mentioned. That said, Ryan and I are very different in terms of our tastes in music, which makes for some interesting debate on certain records, but I personally believe our differences are one of our biggest strengths, and in turn, the station and our listeners benefit.
5) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff?
Remy Maxwell of KZJK/Minneapolis, hands down. I might be a bit biased in naming my mentor, but I still to this day believe there's nobody better. His talent is only surpassed by his passion for doing good radio. No one entertains better than Remy.
6) What is your favorite radio station outside of the market and why?
I don't have just one, but some of the best in my opinion include KQRC/Kansas City, KISS/San Antonio and the legendary WRIF/Detroit. All three do Rock Radio the way it was meant to be done ... and are institutions in their communities. I respect the hell out of that.
7) What's the best concert you've been to so far this year and why?
I've seen some great shows thus far in 2012, but the best has got to be our LAZERfest - we really lucked out this year in getting a wide variety of bands from different eras and points of view. Shinedown, Five Finger Death Punch, Slash with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, Volbeat, Chevelle, Theory of a Deadman, Adelita's Way, Buckcherry, Sebastian Bach, P.O.D., Black Stone Cherry, and Art of Dying. Awesome day, awesome show.
8) 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?
Outside of the radio ranch, I listen to lots of different things. I tend to stick to the classics I grew up on, like Thin Lizzy, The Beatles, Ted Nugent, and my favorite band of all-time Queen, but also enjoy quite a bit of new artists as well, such as Volbeat. Right now, I'm crankin' their "Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood" album. I'm also into Adele, Gotye, and a few others outside the "Rock" scope, and listen to those pretty regularly on my own time.
9) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
Treat others as you would want to be treated -- one of my mom's favorite sayings. I meet at least one listener every day, and believe we shouldn't have to remind ourselves that we're making impressions on them that have the potential to last a lifetime. Check your baggage at the door, smile, be gracious and humble. And never forget where you came from, because at one time, we were all in the same boat.
10) What are your three favorite artists or songs of this year?
Volbeat is the easy first choice. I don't know that I've ever been this excited about a new sound. Adele is my 2nd choice. She has one of the greatest voices I've ever heard. And finally, I'll give Gotye a nod as my 3rd favorite. Like Adele, certainly outside of what I'm used to working inside these walls at an Active Rock radio station, but I've been really impressed by his style and songwriting in the last year.
Favorite artist you have met?
Corey Taylor, by a landslide. Not only is he one of my favorite artists, he's also a good personal friend.
Name the artist/act (living or dead) you'd love to meet and why?
Freddie Mercury. Still the greatest singer and performer of all-time, in my opinion.
What was the first song or full-length release you purchased?
First album I ever purchased was Prince's "Purple Rain."
You're stuck on a deserted island and you get to pick one artist to be stuck with you. Who would it be and don't limit it to our format?
Adele. Her voice has the ability to motivate and calm all at once. I never get tired of listening to her.
You're stuck on a deserted island and you only have 5 CDs with you. What are they?
- Queen "Queen II"
- The Beatles "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"
- Guns N' Roses "Appetite For Destruction"
- Adele "21"
- Slipknot "Slipknot"
What do you do in your spare time?
Nothing gives me greater joy than spending time with my two-year old son, Alexander, and my wife Mellissa. Family is the most important thing in the world.
You just won the lotto and you have your boss on the line. What's the first thing that you would say?
"See you on Monday."