10 Questions with ... Stroke Mastro
April 2, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
In 2004, I applied for an internship on my favorite radio station in my city 97X. After a few months interning, I was hired to host the night show .Through the years, I have had the stripes as afternoon-drive host, APD, M.D, and currently hold the title as PD -- and morning show host.
1) What was your first job in radio? Early influences?
I am a rare commodity in the industry. I started my career the same place I am today. After a few months of interning in 2004, I was hired as night host on 97X.
I have always admired great entertainers such as Howard Stern, Tom Leykis, Wolfman Jack, Glenn Beck, Johnny Carson, Neal Boortz and Robin Quivers. I may not agree with all of their opinions and/or stunts, but they all are great entertainers and know how to captivate an audience.
2) What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
I was that kid who was always trying to make others laugh. One day, my sister mentioned I should consider radio. I thought she might be right. The job seemed fun. My degree in Psychology kinda seemed boring. So, I applied as an intern on my favorite radio station and so my career began.
I think every jock remembers the first time they opened the mic. I remember thinking this is not that bad; I can actually do this and get paid. Honestly, it felt great! I remember how natural it felt. I felt as if I found my calling in life. I still think that way. It feels great to entertain and make someone's day better in some way. It's an honor to crack the mic each day.
3) How long have you been at WYYX (97X) and what makes this station so unique?
I have been with 97X since the spring of 2004. I was an active listener of the station since I was a kid. I have always loved the music, but the personality of the station really stood out to me.
One major thing that we have that most stations do not is bodies. We have a staff of seven, which allows us to be very active in the community and visible. The entire staff works together and interacts on each other's show. We just have fun! In our studio there is a sign that states," If you are not having fun, you are not doing your job." That is our philosophy. If you're not having fun, then the listener is not either.
4) You have the dual role as PD/MD/morning show host ... how do you balance your time so all roles are effective?
Keeping a notepad on my desk is such a help. It is impossible to remember everything. The notepad is a simple method that helps me daily. I may only spend a few hours in the office after the morning show, but my job doesn't end there. I am always near my laptop and phone. I am always working on something throughout the day. The job takes up a large portion of my day, but I love what I do.
5) Tell us about your morning show. "Stroke and Shortbus Radio Show." and some of the antics and bits that you and your partner Shortbus have done recently?
Shortbus and I have worked together since 2005. Over the years, we became really good friends and that has a lot to do with our success.
In 2010, he joined me in the afternoons and we hosted "Afternoon Riot" together. It worked out so well we dominated the market 18-49 persons. So, in January of 2012, we moved into mornings on 97X and became the first local air talents in the history of the station. We hired an ex-con to produce the show. Yes, I am serious! Clay is a big part of our show, being an ex-con. He always has stories and helps us understand prison life and the life of crime. Makes great radio.
Our biggest stunt was working our way on national television and brawling on the "Jerry Springer Show. That circulated a lot of attention and was one of the best moments in my life. We have fought with Westboro Baptist Church in lieu of them protesting a family's funeral. Recently my producer and his finance had a baby boy. So, I requested the placenta and we cooked it for him on-air.
Once at Christmas, I brought Shortbus a gift. When he opened the box, he freaked out to see the dead roadkill I retrieved. Our show is centered around phone pranks, stunts, current and odd events happening in the world. One weekly bit we do is called Prison Poetry. Inmates write the show and we read their poems. Never a dull moment.
6) Have you ever gone too far with any morning show bits that caused any trouble in the market?
I must admit I am shocked we do not get in trouble. I've tried!
Honestly, we are probably one of the more edgy shows in the country ... located in the Bible Belt. With 100,000-watt signal that covers Northwest Florida, South Alabama,and South Georgia, you would think we would have more complaints. Maybe it is expected coming from the "Spring Break Capital."
However, at Magic Broadcasting II they have made policies because of the show. 1) No leaving vomit in our sister station's garbage. 2) No undressed granny blowup dolls. 3) No hacking sister station's Facebook accounts and advertising our show.
7) Let's talk about the music on 97X. How does the Panama City, FL area effect your music choices?
Panama City is like most markets. However, we live in a party city and if I hear a song that mentions the beach or getting wild,I will really consider it more than what the charts say. We aren't afraid to venture away from the charts from time to time. I wish more stations would venture out and give some of the upcoming bands a shot. It might set you apart from competitor in a positive way.
8) What's your take on current Rock music? Is it as good as six months ago, better, or about the same?
Rock is always evolving. I wouldn't say it's better or the same. It's our jobs to be excited about the music ... and the audience will get more evolved with it. Rock isn't going anywhere!
9) How much does 97X use its website and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to help enhance the 97X experience with its listeners?
Hourly! I require every jock to post at least once a day on the sites. However, everyone is posting much more than that. Social media is a great way to drive listeners to content on the station's website. Plus, it is a great way to test out a potential topic before you do it on the air. It allows a jock to make any adjustments, r-eword, or drop the topic all together. It is free advertising for your station and a great way to show personality and make new fans. If done right, you can convert P 2 to P1s.
10) What can we be doing with our station websites and social media to better our stations' interactivity with listeners as a whole?
Station sites need to be eye-friendly. I hate when I go to a site that's difficult to navigate. Make it simple for the listener. People are very impatient and want things instantly. I have noticed a lot of stations websites don't have the request line available or easy to locate. Also, make the "listen live" icon easy to locate. Make it simple for the listener. Have a reason for people to want to visit the site. We use a VIP Zone that is constantly giving away prizes by listeners earning points by playing games and trivia.
Social media is very important to the life of the station. A big thing now on Facebook is images or funny pictures. People are "liking" the images and sharing them. When they hit "share," you have just got free adverting of your show or station.
Who would be your dream guest on your morning show?
Howard Stern. I admire a man that thinks outside the box and did not let anyone discourage him from his dreams. I love people who don't let a group or individual define them.
You're stuck on a deserted island and you only have 5 CDs with you. What are they?
- Dope- Felons and Revolutionaries
- Dope- American Apathy
- Pop Evil- Lipstick on the Mirror
- Five Finger Death Punch-American Capitalist
- B.B. King- Greatest Hits