10 Questions with ... Mark Zander
September 18, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WBUS - '90/'91
- WCFL - '91/'94
- WABT - '94
- WRCX - '94/'95
- WYMG - '95
- WCBR - '96/'97
- WCKG - '97/'00
- WLUP - '00/'05
- WZZN - '05
- KLKX, KKZQ - '06/'08
- WERV, WRXQ - '10/Now
1) What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
I grew up with it. Early on ... Larry Lujack and John Landecker on WLS. As I grew older, it was the rock wars in Chicago between WLUP and WMET that sucked me in!
2) If you were just starting out in radio, knowing now what you didn't then, would you still do it?
Yes, even more so! I've come to realize that being able to create an enjoyable experience for a listener, on-air or otherwise, is very rewarding.
3) How long have you been at WRXQ (Q Rock 100.7) and what makes this station so unique? It's a Classic Rock station that does play some currents, right?
I took the PD position in August of 2011. Although it's always been a Classic Rock station, in recent years their had been so many variations of Classic Rock played on that frequency that it had lost its identity. I took it from 100. RXQ, "The Southland's Classic Rock" to simply Q ROCK. We needed to flush out the old expectations and "cleanse the palette," so to speak. Now we have station that can be relied to play "rock," whether classic or new, for a 35+ crowd in The Southland.
4) You are also programming the Classic Hits station WERV (95.9 The River). How do you keep the stations operating in different lanes musically and image-wise?
WERV has a unique position in the market as a station that appeals to the 35+ crowd, male and female, with a mix of classic rock/hits ... from Led Zeppelin to Blondie, Billy Joel to AC/DC. The imaging is slightly tongue-in-cheek, but friendly. For WRXQ, it's harder edged rock from the '70s to the present. The imaging has attitude, and humor.
5) You do afternoons on Q Rock 100.7 as Zander. Do you do any special benchmark features on your show?
We do the "3 Thirty Threesome." It's an interactive daily feature that allows us to stretch out musically and drive listeners to the website to guess the theme in our Riff Raff listener club.
6) Both WRXQ and WERV operate from the suburbs of Chicago (Joliet and Aurora area, respectively) How do you service your local area while still competing with major market Chicago Rock stations like WLUP and WDRV?
We are locally focused and active in our communities. As far as competing with downtown signals, we are just out to own the zip codes in our coverage areas. We can do things for our listeners that downtown could never do, and we prove it to our listeners every day.
7) What's your take on the Rock format (From Active Rock to Classic) as a whole?
Rock is here to stay. While many Classic Rock stations have burned out that format positioner with their listeners, there have been new (or Active) Rock stations that have had to compromise by adding marginal music to their playlist just to stay in the "new rock" game. I have noticed, over the years, the disappearance of the generation gap between fathers and sons - and mothers and daughters -- when it comes to most music. In this case, that's much of what you might hear on a Classic Rock station. So, will Classic stations break the rule to add a chosen few new tunes that fit? ... or will Active stations welcome in to the fold those vintage songs and bands that started it all? Some already have. The future of this format relies on more those who are willing to break the "rules" that we once set.
8) How does your station utilize social media as a marketing tool?
Both brands are very active in this realm. We use it to provide unique content for our listeners, or direct them to content via our websites. We use it to entice and invite listeners to get involved with our brands interactively and otherwise.
9) You are programming a male dominated Rock cluster. Do your stations do any promotions with the Chicago area sports teams?
Not directly, but we have put together listener experiences that involve our major sports teams.
10) Since your stations are basically in the Joliet area, how many prison jokes do you hear each day, AND ... do you play any Blues Brothers tunes?
No jokes, but we are known to have played a Blues Brothers tune here and there on WERV. On Q Rock in Joliet, we have 'Elwood' doing mornings, live and local!
What do you like to do for fun when you're not fully in radio mode?
Enjoy time with my three kids and my girlfriend. I also enjoy working on my house and my classic car ... a '69 Pontiac!