10 Questions with ... Bill Weston
August 28, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WRDL -- The Wrath of the Turtle / Ashland College Radio 1974
- WKSN/ Jamestown, NY -- 1kw daytimer AC / 1978
- WCCK(K104)/ Erie -- Top 40, nights/afternoons 1979
- WGRQ (97 Rock)/ Buffalo -- AOR, middays/MD 1981
- WOKW (OK100/ Ithaca -- Top 40, PD/PMD/janitor 1984
- WIXV (I-95)/ Savannah - AOR, PD/PMD 1985
- WHTT/ Buffalo -- Classic Hits, PD 1988
- WHJY/ Providence -- Active Rock, PD 1989
- WAXQ/ New York -- Classic Rock, PD 1998
- WKLR-WDYL/Richmond -- CR-Alternative, PD 2000
- WMMR/ Philly -- Active Rock PD 2004
1) What was your first job in radio?
6-10p air shift on an AC daytimer near my hometown. After sunset, my phones went strangely silent. Early influences? CKLW/Detroit, WGR/Buffalo, WCFL/Chicago, WABC/NYC
2) What led you to a career in radio?
I loved music. Carried a radio with me everywhere. What could be cooler than playing music for people?
Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
I got to run the board at a small radio station during a high school visit. My hands were shaking so bad I couldn't cue up the 45. After it was over I was exhilarated. Hooked.
3) How long have you been at WMMR and what makes this station so unique?
In another month or so I will eclipse my previous, longest tenured station. Eight-and-a-half years here and it has flown by! Programming 'MMR allows me to focus on one station. I have a full staff of talented personalities, promotion and programming stars. We get a lot of stuff done and we create a lot of specialized sales programs for our advertisers. Greater Media is a privately held company allowing for swift decision making and a dedication on product improvement.
4) Preston & Steve have been an incredible success in morning drive for 'MMR ... how often do you meet with them and how do you manage such a major morning show?
Formal meetings twice a week. Informally all the time. They are a very manageable morning show - meaning, they listen. That also means I do not micro-manage them and am always respectful of their time. Though they have been #1 for years, they have not lost a step in prepping their show and understanding the sales/programming relationship.
5) You also have an iconic Rock personality in middays with Pierre Robert. How long has he been at the station and what kind of working relationship do you have with him as far as a resource for music in the market?
I love working with Pierre. As big a radio legend there is, but his humility and his passion have kept him at the same station for 30 years! He is known far and wide. He stops and shakes every hand with a smile and a "Greetings, Citizen" no matter how late he is, which is often. His music influence within the station is significant ... ranging from the MMaRchives (tons of historical live performances and classic interviews) and a predilection towards both the classic 'MMR repertoire and the latest artists and musicians he champions.
6) Let's talk about the music on WMMR. The station has long been a heritage rocker in Philadelphia. How do you balance the station's heritage cume while playing some of the new Active Rock out today?
We feel some of the less adventurous within the heritage cume may tolerate the newer, harder artists we play, knowing we will return fairly soon to their comfort zone. Conversely, the newer cume will understand when we play a classic song from '80s and '90s artists, that we will soon return to something more "active." Like anything, it's a balancing act.
7) Describe your weekly music meeting ... a) what is the process when you listen to new music? b) How important by percentage is gut, research, sales, video play, and chart position when determining the status of a record?
Thursdays at noon- MD Rabbi (Sean Tyszler) holds the meeting, bringing in 15 or so of the best songs he's heard. He is the primary filter. He also arms APD Chuck Damico and I with the latest research. We look at and use it all. Most times, it comes down to a consensus -- if all three of us agree on a song, it's in.
8) What's your take on current music? Is it as good as six months ago, better, or about the same?
I wish it could be better. You have to dig a little deeper and sometimes outside of the Active Rock comfort zone. Every market is different ... and competitive situations dictate in unique ways. At WMMR we are allowed to look at the active, alternative and heritage arenas from which to pick and choose songs.
9) Without giving away any trade secrets, what have been some of the most effective marketing ideas WMMR has instituted to keep the station's cume and TSL strong?
Having live, local, relatable, passionate presenters of the station's music, entertainment, and community activities is key in any marketing and/or promotion campaign. That's as specific as you're gonna get!
10) How has WMMR navigated its station website to better the station as a whole?
We try to put content online that means something, not just duplicate on-air programming. Social spaces have become easier, more expedient ways to get content up and available. The website is a more commercial platform -- to accommodate many client-based promotions.
What is your favorite TV show?
Love HBO's "Newsroom," though Sorkin is a big lefty... Like "Magic City" on Starz ... blasts from the past, "Wild Wild West" ... "Rat Patrol."
What do you like to do to relax when you're not fully in WMMR mode?
Ah, the joy and relaxation that a fine cigar brings is like a nice 40 minute vacation. I also like riding my Harley and running a four-mile loop around my neighborhood listening to music that I love -- just like when I carried that transistor radio around back in the '60s!
You're stuck on a deserted island and you only have 5 CDs with you. What are they?
- Talking Heads -- Fear of Music
- Roxy Music --Avalon
- Joe Jackson -- Laughter and Lust
- Band of Skulls -- Baby Darling Doll-face Honey
- FatBoy Slim -- The Norman Cook Collection