10 Questions with ... Sean "Rabbi" Tyszler
April 16, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
1998 - 2003 WXRK-FM K-Rock New York, 2003 - Present WMMR-FM Philadelphia
1) What was your first job in radio? Early influences?
Interning at K-Rock New York. I would have done anything to get my foot in the door and thought no place better to start than at Howard Stern's old station.
2) What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
I have always lovedr music and loved listening to the radio to hear what was new. I loved being the first to tell my friends about a cool new band that I discovered. Plus I heard you get free CDs, get to concerts and meet rock stars.
3) How long have you been at WMMR and what makes this station so unique?
I have been at WMMR for 10 years now and still loving every moment. There is no other station out there like us. Bill Weston (PD), Chuck Damico (APD) and I have total control of what we play. Bill respects and trusts my opinions when it comes to the music that we add and play on air. I do not know many other radio stations that function like we do. WMMR is a Rock hybrid and we can play the big mainstream Rock song along with some big Alternative and Active names -- and our listeners "get it".
4) You have the enviable role as an off-air MD, but I know you have many responsibilities at the station. Give us an idea of your weekly list of duties.
I am the ears of the station when it comes to the music. Everyday I create the music logs for our main WMMR signal and HD 2 signal -- a live music channel. I am also responsible for making sure all the music we play is in our studio computer systems and making sure that our air talent air informed on the new music we play and events in our area.
I have a certain method that I use everyday when I create the logs and hear the station in my head before I print and send it for the day. I also do a lot of daily website updates from music news, to top-10 lists and post new music and new releases keeping our listeners informed on everything WMMR. I also deal with our fellow record people and listeners via e-mails and phone calls daily. My e-mail box and voicemail get filled quickly but it is my policy to get back to everyone.
Plus our goal is to present our listeners with the next big thing. I also put together the weekend/ fill-in jock schedule, publish our weekly weekend memo that inform jocks of station happenings and cover off any specialty programming. And I do a regular weekend air-shift Sunday night.
5) Describe your weekly music meeting ... a) what is the process when you listen to new music? b) Approximately how important by percentage is gut, research, sales, video play, and chart position when determining the status of a record?
I go through my stack of rock records and pick out about 20 that I think would work for WMMR. If I do not think it is something for us, I do not bring it in. I get to the "prioritiesÂ¨ first and then play a few new records that I think fit the station. Bill, Chuck and I rate the songs on a scale 1 to 4 (4 is the best) and we base our decisions there. We look at some charts and some research, but rely on gut most of the time. The figures help make our choices stronger.
6) Does WMMR do any music research and if so, what kind of research do you do, traditional callout or online research?
We do some online research which we use as a guide, we get an objective point of view from Keith Cunningham with the Jacobs Media gang, and also take a peek at Mscore. All give good indications but none have ultimate say.
7) What's your take on current Rock music? Is it as good as six months ago, better, or about the same?
Music is about the same as six moths ago. As the only station in the market exposing new rock to our audience, it takes a while to catch on. That is a reason why our powers do not turn over as fast as other Rock stations. By the time we get to 300 spins, that is when a song starts to take off for us. There are a lot of smaller and heavier bands out there, but will not see the light of day on MMR because of the way we rotate new records. Why get off a record that is working for us just because the rest of the country is done and the record companies are moving on to follow up singles after six weeks of airplay?
8) What are your three favorite artists or songs so far this year and why?
Volbeat, The Hangman's Bodycount - Love these guys they are next big thing. Shinedown, I'll Follow You -- another band that can do no wrong, great song great ballad. Bullet For My Valentine, Temper Temper - wish we played more of them, but they are great heavy band with a good buzz.
9) This month WMMR is celebrating its 45th year as a Rock station. What are some of the music features you have planned for the month?
Everyday we are featuring a few years of our history during our noon hour that we are calling MMR@45. One day you will hear 1976 followed by 1991 and the next day 1969 and 2007. It's great to have 45 years to work with to give the listeners variety and really make them aware of our rich history. On the weekends we are featuring different years once an hour and we have enough years not to repeat. We also have a special T-shirt that we are giving away and a virtual "45" that will spin on YouTube -- a 1968 aircheck from the first day featuring Dave Herrman's Marconi Experiment and some airchecks from today on the B-side. Our listeners are like family to us so everyone here wants the best.
10) Where did "The Rabbi" nickname originate?
When I was an intern in NY my old boss, Steve Kingston, saw my yarmulke and asked another employee who is this Rabbi who is always here. One day he needed me something and called me "Rabbi" and it stuck.
What do you do to relax when you're not in "radio" mode?
Try to spend time with my wife and family.
You're stuck on a deserted island and you only have 5 CDs with you. What are they?
- Metallica - Master Of Puppets
- Guns N' Roses - Appetite For Destruction
- Nirvana - Nevermind
- Slayer - Reign In Blood
- System Of Down - Toxicity
- Green Day - Dookie (had to add this in)