10 Questions with ... Kevin Conklin
September 11, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 2005-2006 - Intern WRKR/WKMI/WKFR Kalamazoo, MI
- 2006-2008 - Weekends/swing WRKR Kalamazoo, MI
- 2008-2010 - Afternoons/Imaging WZUU Kalamazoo, MI
- 2010 - Present - APD/MD/KCLB Imaging KCLB/KKUU/KKUU-HD2/KDGL Palm Springs, CA
- 2011 - Present - Freelance Bit Production (WiseBrother Media)
1) What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
It was the ability to get paid for being creative. Not many jobs allow people to go home saying they helped someone form an opinion or laugh. Our industry is very unique and I love it.
I knew radio was for me after my first aircheck. Before my 6a Sunday air shift, Mark Keady, my PD at WRKR, told me that I'll either have "it" or I won't. If I did ... good! If not, it would be a while before I got "it." I wasn't sure what "it" was, but when he told me I had "it," I never looked back. (Still not sure what "it" is.)
2) How long have you been at KCLB and what makes this station so unique?
I've been here for almost three years and loved every minute of it. We have this big San Jacinto Mountain that blocks X103.9 and KCAL from the market and leaves us with no real competition. It's like we're broadcasting from an island.
That also means we have a big responsibility to keep the people that rely on us for new music, news, and events up to date every minute of the day. A task that any programmer would trade if it meant no competition!
3) You do afternoon drive on the station. Tell us your approach to doing the "on-air" thing?
Three steps: prep, organize, communicate. I try to talk to people and not at people. I was once told "broadcasters are going extinct, but communicators will always have a job." If I wouldn't talk about it over a beer with a friend I don't talk about it during the show.
4) Let's talk about the music on KCLB. Is there a different approach to programming Rock music in a "resort" town?
Not so much. I don't care who listens to KCLB. Doesn't matter if it's the little old lady heading to church on Sunday, a black T-shirt putting in his 10 hours, a mom dropping her kids off at school, or a tourist in town for a day. As long as they listen and enjoy it, it's a win-win. We do push our online/mobile stream more than most. Like what we do? Listen when you're back home.
5) You've only been in Rock radio for a relatively short period of time. Give us your "fresh" perspective on the "State of Rock?"
We say we want/need something new, but we don't want something new. The next Nirvana, GNR, or Zeppelin will never get a chance if we are afraid to pull the trigger.
I like new rock so I don't allow myself to believe that it's dead. Bands are being pressured to put out an album every 18 months! I've heard interviews with bands promoting their new album that was released a week ago and they get asked, "So, when can we expect more music?" If they could spend more time on their craft, the product would be much better.
6) What's the best concert you've been to so far this year and why?
I was able to go to the Van Halen album release show at Henson Studios back in February. There were only 200 of us in a room and Van Halen played a full set. I don't think anything will top that for a while.
7) You're a big fan of station production and imaging. Who are some of your imaging mentors?
Jim Fox from KRXQ has pushed my imaging to a higher level, I like what his former Creative Services guru Mike Muscatello does with WAAF, and the best promo I ever heard was produced by one Warren James Kluck for WRKR; now doing mornings on 103.9 The Bear in South Bend.
I have a lot of people that I mimic but the imaging on KCLB is very unique. My style has been swayed by listening to TONS of radio. I listen to stations across the country and mash the styles to create something that is my own. Most of the sweepers on KCLB contain no voiceover! It takes a lot of time, but it makes the station really come alive.
8) How does your station utilize social media as a marketing tool?
Facebook and Twitter are important but their main function is to drive people to the website and click the "listen" link.
We'll do the usual funny photo or video but that's old news. Your grandma can do that. I see our staff as the factory and social media as the delivery trucks. We'll create things in the factory and the delivery trucks ship it off to people that want and need the content. Then, they can ship it off to their friends, and they ship it to their friends ... and so on.
9) How has KCLB navigated its station website to better the station as a whole?
Our digital director makes our site pop with bold graphics, up-to-date info, and a big "Listen" button. Only a small percentage of radio listeners actually "see" a station. They hear it every day, but they never see the staff or the logo. The easiest way to "see" a station is the website. If it looks like a site that was programmed when the Internet was first created then we lose.
We also just launched a new mobile site that is almost as good as our actual website. The online stream is crystal clear and packs a punch! Our in-house engineer is the best in the business, no doubt about it.
10) You were recently involved in a benefit promotion for the Make A Wish foundation. Tell us about the event and the individual you personally touched in a positive fashion?
It wasn't really a promotion. I didn't mention it on the air or post anything on the website. It was all about my buddy Ryan getting his keyboard and iPad. I was honored to just be a part of it!
Ryan is a big fan and I had shown him around the station before I even knew about his situation. When I heard about it I jumped at the opportunity. It was pretty special seeing a nine-year-old kid walk into a house full of family and friends with a brand new keyboard and iPad. He's a pretty good musician! You'll see some of his music on our Mediabase playlist when he comes in to guest host, I promised to play some of his songs!
Are you more a TV or movie guy and what are some of your favorites of each?
I can't pay attention to anything for too long. I've been trained to multitask and that's a hard habit to break, so I'm more of a TV guy. I love watching reruns of "The Office" even though I've seen every episode 20 times; "Pawn Stars," I've recently got into "Survivorman," and as always ... Miami Dolphins games on Sundays.
What do you like to do to relax when you're not fully in radio mode?
I'm never 100% out of radio mode. It's a disease! When I'm about 70% out I hike, run, bike, and stay active. I sit in front of a computer for 10-12 hours a day so it's nice to see the sun once in a while!
You're stuck on a deserted island and you only have 5 CDs with you. What are they?
- Guns N' Roses "Appetite For Destruction"
- Alter Bridge "Blackbird"
- Bob Seger's Greatest Hits
- Ratt's Greatest Hits
- ... and one to break in half and use as a knife.