10 Questions with ... Joe D
June 11, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- Start date- June 1st, 2003- intern
- Was then hired as a promo tech at the end of 2003
- Start part-time on-air with 95X 2007
- Promoted to Promotions Assistant in 2008
- Promoted to APD in 2010
- Promoted to PD of 95X at the end of 2012
1) What was your first job in radio? Early influences?
My first job was here in Syracuse as an intern for all four of our stations. Dave Frisina was an early influence for me. He was the APD of 95X when I first started and has been doing radio here in Syracuse for 35-plus years. He's always been very well liked and respected here and was good to me when I first started out. That left an impression on me.
2) What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
It kind of happened by mistake. I was going to college for music performance (I have a degree in music performance, have played bass for 20 years and toured for 2 years) and I happened to see a flyer that 95X was looking for interns, so I applied and the rest as they say was history.
3) How long have you been at WAQX (95 X) and what makes this station so unique?
I've been with our cluster for 10 years and just with 95X for about four.
4) You have the dual role as PD and midday host ... how do you balance your time so you can handle both roles effectively?
It can be pretty challenging some days, but I have a system of sorts for it. I'm definitely a guy who is very organized, so that helps a lot. My on-air time is kind of my escape from everything else. I try really hard to not do my PD duties while I'm on the air so I can stay focused on my air shift, but that can be difficult some days.
5) You are also following a relatively new morning show (The Robinson Show) in the market. How long has the show been on and how is it doing?
Our previous morning show walked out one day and went to the competition, which to be honest, was the best thing that could have happened. The Robinson Show started in January and it's really starting to build. Robinson did nights for us a while back and then went to Rochester, where he had a lot of success for two different Rock stations in that market. Newman is also a part of the show. He's relatively new to the on-air side of things, but has been with 95X for five years now. I really like the direction of the show and they're building a lot of momentum right now.
6) What's your take on current Active Rock music? Is it as good as six months or a year ago, better, or about the same?
The format is stronger right now than it has been in previous years with the return of bands like Alice in Chains and Soundgarden and the continued success of bands like Halestorm, Shinedown and Five Finger Death Punch. That being said, I think it's important that programmers be open-minded to what's happening in the Alternative world. There are some records working at Alternative that are having or have had success at Active radio, too. (The Black Keys, Foals and Imagine Dragons are examples.) That's really important for the overall well-being of the format. Programmers can't let themselves get too predictable with their music. We're a blue-collar town that loves to rock, but some of the Alternative records that kind of toe the line between the two formats have worked well for us and keep us sounding fresh.
7) You also do a Metal Show every Saturday evening on 95X. Who are some bands you're playing on that show that could cross over to regular airplay on your station or Active Rock stations nationally?
It's called Saturday Night Scream. I've been a big metal head since I was 13 years old. There aren't a lot of bands that have had success crossing over mainly because a lot of stations are afraid to give them a try. Killswitch Engage is a band that could easily go into regular rotation and have success at a lot of stations. Asking Alexandria and Bring Me the Horizon are two bands that have recently crossed over and are starting to build a case for themselves. Black Veil Brides are another example of a band that has its roots in metal that have crossed over and had success, same with Five Finger Death Punch. It goes back to my point of programmers being willing to take chances on records, despite the label put on the band. A good song is a good song. Period
8) How much does 95X use social media like Facebook and Twitter to interact with its listeners?
We use it quite a bit. Twitter isn't nearly as popular here as Facebook, but it's growing. Social media is just another way to interact with your listeners, which is vital to the success of a radio station. You have to be able to interact with your listeners, whether it's through phones, social media or texting. I do think that stations need to be careful how much they rely on social media, though. I worked with a programmer who put way too much stock in what happened on Facebook and Twitter and he lost sight of what was important.
9) What can we be doing with our station websites to better our stations as a whole?
It's important that stations tie in their social media sites with their website and use their websites as an extension of the station. We tag almost all of our live liners with "more info at 95x.com." It trains the listener to know that they can go to the website for any info they're looking for. It's worked well for us.
10) Your big summer Music Festival (X Fest) is coming up in August. Give us the scoop on the artist lineup and any other special surprises you have in store for your listeners?
Yes we do. 95X fest was something we did for four or five years in a row back in the early 2000s that just kind of went away do to several different factors, the main one being some poor decision making. One of my goals was to bring it back again for our 35th anniversary, which is this year. I wanted to make the show affordable, so we went with the theme of 20 bands for $20. Our lineup consists of Sick Puppies, Adam Gontier, formerly of Three Days Grace, Nonpoint, Trapt, Devour The Day, Allele, Another Lost Year and Girl on Fire. We're announcing two more national acts later this week and filling in with some great local talent. Like I stated above, this show is all about value. We kept the ticket price low; food and beer will be affordable, too. We want everyone to be able to come out and enjoy themselves without breaking the bank.
Who are some of the best live bands you've seen this year and why?
I saw Killswitch Engage this past Friday and they killed it. They've been one of my favorite bands for a long time and they bring such an intensity to their live show that few bands can match. Great show