10 Questions with ... Doug "McKenzie" Stremmel
December 3, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WDSY/ Pittsburgh - Summer Intern 1997
- WDSY/ Pittsburgh - Overnight Board Op/ Production Assistant 1997 - 2000
- WTPA/ Harrisburg - PT On Air 2000 - 2002
- WSSH/WZSH/ Lebanon, NH - PM drive/ MD/ Promo Director 2002 - 2003
- WGXL/ Lebanon, NH - AM drive/ PD 2003 - 2007
- WDSD/ Wilmington/ Dover, DE - AM drive/ MD 2007 - 2008
- WKDB/ WZEB/ Salisbury/ Ocean City, MD - PD 2010 - 2013
- WZBH/ Salisbury/ Ocean City, MD - PM drive/ APD/ MD 2009 - Present
1) What was your first job in radio? Early influences?
Overnight board op for Y108 in Pittsburgh. Also helped with production, and some on-air work. Early influences would be the great people at CBS Radio in Pittsburgh while I was there, as well as Paulsen & Kren at WDVE in Pittsburgh & Kirk, Mark, & Lopez at WIYY in Baltimore.
2) What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
Honestly, when I was getting ready to go to college I didn't know what I wanted to do. It was suggested that since I was so into music, maybe I should try radio. The defining moment came when I started at the college radio station at California, U. of PA, I got on the air and I was hooked.
3) How long have you been at WZBH (93.5 The Beach) and what makes this station so unique?
I started at ZBH in March of 2009. Being part of an independent broadcast company lends to our uniqueness. Also we try to really push the unique personalities of our on air staff.
4) You have the dual role as APD/MD and afternoon host ... how do you balance your time so both roles are effective?
I try to structure my day so I can focus on each, although that doesn't always happen. Typically I do my show prep at home, so when I get to the station I am working on the APD/MD roles, before jumping in the studio to do my show. If need be after my show I will tie up any loose ends for the day.
5) Describe your weekly music meeting and who is involved in it ... 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?
In our music meeting, PD Sean McHugh and I will sit down and go over the research, charts, etc., as well as listen to the new tunes. We will take the research into account when deciding our rotation, but also look at input we get from our listeners, as well as gut feeling. I would say probably a third to each.
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?
Right now, there are a lot of cool songs out, so I think it is better. Of course there is always an ebb and flow of quality of tunes in the Active Rock format as it is with other formats.
7) It looks like The Beach is very aggressive in playing new music from not only Active Rock artists, but some Alternative artists as well. How do you balance these two diverse formats so it doesn't adversely impact the station's TSL?
We certainly put a lot of thought into melding the two genres together. We have an idea of what we want the station to sound like, sometimes we will not add an Alt. track even if it is #1 if it doesn't have the right sound or feel.
8) How much does The Beach use social media like Facebook and Twitter in interacting with its listeners?
We use both Facebook and Twitter all the time. It is a great way to communicate directly with listeners. The jocks will utilize them during there shows, and we utilize it for some contesting as well. Plus, more and more clients like to see a station with a strong following.
9) While your home market of Salisbury is part of the Maryland coastal communities (thus The Beach moniker), how much influence do Rock and Alt stations from Washington, DC or Baltimore have on WZBH?
Honestly, not much. Of course we will pay attention to what stations in other markets do with programming and promotions, but there are certain things that don't translate well into our market. This area is a bit more laid back, until it's tourist season, then there is a lot of hustle and bustle, especially around the beaches. With promotions, we have a smaller budget so being creative on a shoestring budget is key.
10) What are your three favorite artists or songs of this year and why?
Devour the Day ... because I dig what they are doing, plus we have had a good relationship with the guys over the past few years when they were Egypt Central, and Devour the Day is cool spin-off from that band.
The new STP with Chester Bennington ... mind you I love STP in its original lineup. I think bringing in Chester brought new energy and a good sound to the band.
Imagine Dragons ... these guys have a cool sound and they work well with both Alt. and Active and works well with what we are doing.
What do you like to do for fun and relaxation when you're "not" in radio mode?
I like sitting back chilling out and listening to all genres of music. Spending time with my family is very important to me as well. Trying to be active outdoors is also a great way to decompress.
You're stuck on a deserted island and you only have five CDs with you. What are they?
- AC/DC - Back in Black
- Dave Mathews Band - Under the Table and Dreaming
- Jimmy Buffet - Songs You Know By Heart
- The Who - Whose Better, Whose Best
- They Might be Giants - Flood