10 Questions with ... Shroom
August 14, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
WEBN/Cincinnati, night show (April 2008-present) ... iHeartradio DJ (2010-present) ... WEBN, Dawn Patrol (2006-April 2008) ... WXEG/Dayton, afternoon drive (2003- 2006) ... WXEG Programming Assistant (2004 - 2006) ... WXEG overnight and weekend DJ, (2002) ... WDKF/Dayton, overnight DJ (2001) .... WBKI/Dayton, Saturday night DJ (2001) ... Internship, Clear Channel/Dayton (2000) ... WKKI, Celina, OH, DJ (1995-2001) ...
SHrOOMz EDUCATION: Wright State University, Dayton, OH - B.S. Organizational Leadership, June 2007 ... Associate of Mass Communication. May 2005
1) What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
I am very thankful to have grown up in the small town of St. Marys, OH surrounded by hog farms, corn fields and Grand Lake St. Marys. The neighboring town of Celina is where I got my start in radio at 15 years old at WKKI, which still exists today. I found out that somebody in my high school choir class, who was a few grades older, was a DJ Saturday mornings at WKKI. I asked him if I could come to the station and watch him do his show which started at 5a. I didn't have my driver's license yet, so my dad drove me to the station and that's when my "this is it" moment occurred. There was my high school friend talking and playing CDs on the radio. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen and I knew at that very moment this is what I want to do the rest of my life! I remember it like it was yesterday and I'll never forget it for as long as I live. It gives me the chills when I revisit the thought every single time. I know some of you know exactly what I'm talking about.
2) What career path would you be following had it not been for this industry?
I probably would be an Elvis impersonator. I fell in love with his music thanks to my parents, who always had the "golden oldies" playing on the radio. One day when I was probably 11 years old, "Blue Suede Shoes" was playing on the radio while I was in the car with my mom, and I started to try to sing it like Elvis. My mom thought I sounded like Elvis so she bought me an Elvis karaoke tape at the Celina Music Store, which ironically enough sits right below WKKI the station where I got my start in radio. By the time I was 13 years old, I was performing as an Elvis impersonator at talent shows, private parties, and various functions all around town. I even had the full body white Elvis jumpsuit with the cape and all! It was custom made by somebody in town. I'm no longer performing as an Elvis impersonator; however, I did get married at Graceland and now have a beautiful two-year-old girl named Presley.
3) Who would be your dream guest on the show?
I think the answer is obvious on this one ... Elvis Presley.
4) How do you feel terrestrial radio competes with the satellite radio and Internet these days?
I tell anybody that I meet who has satellite radio that they are wasting their money. Once they find out about iHeartradio they cancel their subscription. Radio was meant to be free and always should be.
5) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff?
Big Ralph Guarnieri, he was the voice of St. Marys Roughrider football for 27 years. It was the Guarnieri family who owned WKKI at the time I was hired. Big Ralph found out that my dad drove me to the station that early Saturday morning at 5a and called my house to offer me a part-time job as a DJ on the weekends. Sadly he passed away in 2005 and the station is no longer owned by the family. I'm forever grateful to Ralph and his wonderful family. I know he is smiling down on me and is very proud. If you're ever in St. Marys, OH stop by Guarnieri Pizzeria, which is owned by his daughter and her husband and order the Big Ralph Sub in his honor!
6) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
Being a DJ is all about having fun and entertaining the listener. If you're not having fun then the listener sure the Hell isn't having fun listening to you.
7) Of all the skills you have gained through the years, is there an area you'd like to improve?
I'm a strong believer that you can never stop listening, learning and improving on a daily basis throughout your entire radio career. Constructive criticism may never be enjoyable to listen to, but it is a necessity if you want to get better. I would say that I am my worst critic. I'm constantly listening and critiquing myself in pretty much everything I do.
8) If you are voicetracking shifts or syndicating for stations outside of your market, how do you get familiar with that marketplace/community?
I've been blessed with the opportunity to be a part of iHeartradio and voicetrack overnights in Atlanta, Dallas, Tampa and Cleveland, just to name a few. Since this is a unique situation I believe it is important to not try too hard to sound like you're in those cities. If you're trying to sound like you're there, it will sound like you are "trying" and will be obvious you are not there. What I do is just be myself, have fun, and do what works for me at my home station of WEBN in Cincinnati. Rrrrrribbit! Go __ck Yourself!
9) Who is a favorite artist you have met?
Metallica's James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich. This without a doubt has been one of the highlights of my radio career. After the interview Lars hooked me up with a seat in the penalty box at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati.
10) What was the first song or full-length release you purchased?
Deep Purple's album Machinehead on cassette tape. Even though Elvis is my favorite performer ... Ian Gillian of Deep Purple is my favorite vocalist. Have you ever heard Ian Gillian's performance as Jesus for the musical Jesus Christ Superstar? My dad had it in his record collection which I use to listen to on this record/8-track player I bought at a garage sale when I was around 10 years old. Ian Gillian's voice is absolutely mind blowing.
What is your favorite TV show?
The Walking Dead. I've always been a huge fan of zombie movies ever since I was a kid, thanks to my grandma. We would always watch the original "Night of the Living Dead" and "The Return of the Living Dead" when I would stay all night at her house. She also took me to the movie theatre to see "Nightmare on Elm Street" when I was in elementary school. It scared the **** out of me, gave me nightmares for years, and also made me a huge fan of horror movies.
What do you do in your spare time?
Spend time with my lovely wife and beautiful daughter.
Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _________?
MUSIC!! Can you imagine a world without music? Music truly is the international language.
What has been the station's biggest accomplishment?
Our fireworks show. The first WEBN fireworks were in 1977 to celebrate the station's 10 year birthday. It was such a huge success we've been doing it ever since. It's broadcast on television and set to a soundtrack of our own -- and now over 500,000 people come to the show on the Ohio River.
What type of features do you run on the station?
- 'Big Hair Wednesday' - one hour of Big Hair at noon.
- 'Mandatory Metallica' every single night at 10p.
- 'Native Noise' - Local Music Sunday 6:30am
- 'Damnation Alley' - one hour of ear bleeding METAL Sunday at midnight
How much time do you spend surfing the net?
Way too much. Thanks to technology the internet now fits in your pocket and is always with you.