10 Questions with ... Borna Velic
November 20, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started at WDGC in Downers Grove, IL during high school. In college, I worked at WPGU in Champaign, IL. Post college, I was out of the business for 3 years until I got hired to do nights at WAPL in 2002. Added MD duties 6 months later, added MD/On-Air at WZOR in 2007.
1. What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
I was 14 years old and one day my buddy's older brother flashed his FCC Broadcasters License. This is back in the pre-deregulation days. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Since I was too young to get a driver's license, I thought a radio license was the next best thing. WDGC was a 250-watt station shared by the two high schools in my hometown. I took the class, got my license, and got on the station. Been hooked ever since.
2. If you were just starting out in radio, knowing now what you didn't then, would you still do it?
Absolutely! This is what I've always wanted to do and I don't want to do anything else. I truly look forward to coming to work every day. I've had jobs that are just "jobs" where you go through the motions and live for the weekends. Not nearly as much fun, trust me.
3. How long have you been at WZOR and what are your duties there? I understand you are also MD for a couple other stations in your cluster ... true?
I'm MD for both WZOR and our heritage Rock monster WAPL. I do daily music logs for both stations, hold down afternoon drive on 'ZOR and nights on 'APL (although it's mostly voicetracked). So I pretty much make sure that everything coming out of the speakers is right for two stations. No pressure there.
I was also MD for our Classic Hits station, although we recently flipped it to Christmas music for the season. So, yes, I'm doing Christmas logs in between Korn and Zombie records.
4) You are running the nationally syndicated Free Beer & Hot Wings Morning Show. How is it working for you?
It's been great. Prior to Free Beer, we had gone through a stretch where we weren't really doing much in mornings. We wanted to give morning drive and the entire station a huge dose of personality. Free Beer & Hot Wings, being a Midwest-based show, made a lot of sense. We were pleasantly surprised how well those guys did right out of the gate, and we've seen nothing but growth since. We had Producer Joe come in last year for a station promotion, and the next step is to bring the whole show to town.
5) You do afternoons on the station and call it "Borna-Graphic Radio." What's so Borna-Graphic about it?
Ha! I never thought a nickname given to me a long time ago by a girl I used to work with would turn into the stupid name of my radio show. It serves a couple of purposes. First, since Borna is my real name, it makes the show more easily memorable. Second, I think it conveys what I'm about and what the station is about, reflecting the lifestyle of our listeners. Being straightforward and real on the air, talking about things guys here in Green Bay are interested in. Whether it's music, Packers football, women, whatever.....
6) Let's talk about the music on Razor 94.7. What are you doing musically that makes this station unique?
We brand ourselves as "The Cutting Edge Of Rock" and we have one of the strongest brands in the market. We always try to be a little bit ahead of the curve musically. We're not afraid to take a chance on a band or a song as long as we feel it's the right fit for our audience. If it hits, that's great. If it doesn't, our audience will let us know. And that's okay, too.
7) What's your take on current music in the Active Rock format? Is it as good as six months ago, better, or about the same?
That's a tough question as sometimes it feels like it takes six months to know what you have in a song or a band. On the other hand, a band like In This Moment blew up for us in about two days! I do think 2012 has been a phenomenal year for the format. Lots of the heavy hitters released new material and there were some really good bands that cut through the clutter. I hope that continues. We need our superstars to be superstars, and we definitely need to find some new "stars" for the format.
8) How does your station utilize social media as a marketing tool?
Social media is a fantastic way to strengthen our brand. It allows our listeners to further weave themselves into the fabric of our radio station. We approach social media the same way as doing a show on the air. Reflect what the listeners care about, be entertaining, topical and to the point. I've found it's a great way to filter content on the air. I'll post something on Facebook and gauge the reaction. If it's working on FB, I'll bring it on the air.
9) How has WZOR navigated its station website to better the station as a whole?
It's a similar answer to your social media question. It's all about strengthening the brand. I keep using that word, but to me, branding the station better than the competition is what wins. Our website is there for our listeners to get even deeper inside the station. Whether it's through artist videos and interviews, concert info, contesting, etc. ... I love the fact that ours "pops" off the screen at you and it's easy to navigate. I'm amazed at how many websites, radio or otherwise, make it difficult to find what you're looking for ... or maybe I'm just a little bit slow......
10) I understand you're originally from Chicago. What's it like being a Bears fan in Packer country?
Ha! It's a lot of fun. There are a few Bears fans in our building and there are more here in town than you would think. I've got a good group of fellow Bears fans who get together to watch games on Sundays. But, obviously, I can't overstate how important the Packers are to this community, both economically and emotionally. When the Packers are successful, everyone wins. It would just be nice if the Bears could hang a win or two against them. It's been a rough head-to-head match-up for the past couple of seasons.
What do you like to do to relax when you're not fully in radio mode?
Come summertime, I love being out on the water. I'll probably make the huge financial mistake of owning my own boat someday. Otherwise, I earned my Black Belt in Taekwondo earlier this year; I love traveling, and I'm slowly teaching myself to play the acoustic guitar. Have to do this stuff now as next year I'm planning to go back to school part-time to earn my MBA.
Who is the best live band you've seen so far this year and why?
Tough question. I've been fortunate to see so many great shows this year. I'll go with Linkin Park, since it was my first time seeing them, and it was on my birthday.
Give us your Top Five Rock bands of all time?
You're asking me to narrow it down to 5?!??
- Alice in Chains
- Nine Inch Nails
- Foo Fighters
- Linkin Park