10 Questions with ... LA Lloyd
April 29, 2014
1) What was your first job in radio? Early influences?
First job in radio was at WKZQ/Myrtle Beach. It was a dream job for me and two other friends (John Kilgo and Chris Faw) working at campus station at Western Carolina University. Funny thing, we all landed a gig there right after graduation.
Early influences were Freakin' Deacon at WKZQ and John Lisle, who I had the chance to work with as PD at 99.5 KISS in San Antonio 20 years later. From there, WYAV/Myrtle Beach SC, KCAQ/ Oxnard-Ventura-Santa Barbara, CA; WROX Norfolk-Virginia Beach VA; KROX/Austin TX; Capstar Star System/Austin, TX; KPEZ/Austin TX; KISS/San Antonio, TX, Austin American Statesman (Newspaper)/Austin TX; KLBJ/Austin TX.
2) You've been quite a fixture on the Texas Rock radio scene for years. Before we talk about KLBJ, when and how long did you work for the legendary KISS in San Antonio?
Some of the best years of my career were in San Antonio at 99.5 KISS. I was there 2005-2010. I learned valuable experience from Virgil Thompson who was a great mentor during that era. Also getting to work with one of my biggest on-air influences John Lisle from the Lisle and Hahn Morning show was definitely an added bonus. The rock listeners in San Antonio are very loyal to the 99.5 KISS brand. It wasn't easy convincing those hardcore Spurs fans that a guy named LA Lloyd would fit in. Finally, when they saw me at all the major events with them having a great time, and of course being a Spurs fan, I was welcomed with open arms. Many of these great listeners still stay in touch with me today at my new job with KLBJ. Did I mention "Go Spurs Go?"
3) You returned to Austin and KLBJ early last year to program and do afternoons. What makes KLBJ in Austin such a unique station?
Returning to KLBJ was seamless as many of the same employees were still there from the time I worked at sister station KROX back in the '90s. Leading the way is Scott Gillmore, Emmis/Austin VP. During my interim between KISS and KLBJ, he introduced me to Chase Rupe, Emmis VP/Programming. After being on their radar for months, finally the planets aligned and the KLBJ PD position opened and they asked me if I was I interesting in applying. From my first interview with Rick Cummings, Emmis President of Programming, I knew this is where I needed to be.
I have had the opportunity to be PD at two of the best-branded Rock stations in the nation. I am so honored to have the KISS and KLBJ call letters on my resume. KLBJ is unique in that it has not changed formats in 41 years. It has remained true to Rock since 1973. While so many keep writing off Rock, KLBJ's ratings remain strong and is still one of the top-billing stations in Austin. We have a great team of on-air personalities who utilize social media better than anyone I have worked with. They constantly use blogs, Facebook and Twitter to create content that sets up appointment listening on-air, which has been a major help in PPM.
Finally, the Dudley and Bob morning show is now the longest running and one of the most successful morning shows in Austin. They have been true to their brand in their nearly 25 years together. While consultants were saying "play more music" on successful morning shows, Dudley and Bob continued with an all-talk format that is engaging and is constantly the highest-rated daypart on KLBJ. Matt Bearden, stand -p comedian, was added to the show a few years ago and added a fresh element of humor and engaging conversation.
The team embraced digital technology at its earliest incarnation and has seen the benefits. The latest was a subscription-based uncensored podcast called the Dudley and Bob Sideshow, which is streamed and recorded immediately after their on-air show. The Sideshow did their first end of the year live broadcast at Cap City Comedy Club back in December. It was set up in a variety show format and sold out immediately.
4) You have the dual role as PD and afternoon show host ... how do you balance your time so both roles are effective?
I was a jock before I became PD and I still get a thrill being on the air every day. Some PDs feel better, sitting behind their computer and calling the shots. For me, I have to be there with my team going through the same things they go through daily, pulling an air shift. However, there is a juggling act when you have to meet with so many different departments to make sure the brand is being taken care of from marketing to sales to programming. While I am not against voicetracking, I stress to all of my on-air personalities to use this as a tool for your time management and not a crutch to be lazy. There is definitely an art to successful personalities who can track part of their shift to enhance it and use this extra time to set up appointment listening using social media and digital means of video, photos, etc.
5) How much does the Austin music scene influence the music you play on KLBJ?
First of all, the music and this city is horrible so don't move here ... had to get that out of the way since approx. 150 people are moving here daily. No, seriously, Austin is the best city I have ever lived in regards to music. Anyone who has visited Austin for SXSW or Austin City Limits Music Festival knows there is music on every corner of the city. As far as a scene, there are a lot of musicians here but with the change of the music industry, I can't say we have a lot of bands breaking out of Austin. That's not to say there aren't great bands here, but it seems no one is really working together because individually, they are all trying to create a name for their band. We are a gold-based Rock station and thank God for Stevie Ray!
6) What's your take on Rock radio today? Whether it be Active or Classic, is it as good as six months or a year ago, better, or about the same?
I get the best of both worlds here as I program a Classic Rock station and host a national Active Rock countdown. While so many just keep trying to write off Rock radio in general, there are still some very successful Rock stations getting big ratings and getting huge billing in their respective markets. From a Classic Rock perspective, fortunately we have the greatest music library to choose from. Finding a way to bridge 40 years of rock and finding the right songs that work for your market and your listeners is the challenge. A PD has to know their audience. If I tried to program KLBJ the same as KISS in San Antonio, I would have found out rather quickly what a mistake that would have been. The great Rock radio stations, whether Active or Classic must do research for their audience and the music. Once you have that information, come up with a strategic plan and stick with it. You must give your plan a chance to work. Knee-jerking to a bad monthly will be the demise to any radio station.
7) Now let's talk about the LA Lloyd Rock Countdown. It was originally called the LA Lloyd Rock 30. How did that show originate and how is it doing today?
LA Lloyd's Rock 30 was first syndicated July 4th, 2000 with Dial-Global. The show had been a part of the Capstar Star System stations two years prior to that with the help of Don Cristi. He came up with a plan to get the same show voicetracked to several stations via the WAN. (This was 1998 ... a little head of our time). As time moved on and easier means of getting the show to affiliates, it continued to grow and has been on every week since. The show features a guest co-host who is on for the full three-hour show with a song on the chart. All of rock's biggest artist has been on the show in the past 14 years. The show changed to the LA Lloyd Rock Countdown in 2012 after I signed a new deal with June Colbert at Colbert Media Group. The reason for the name change was essentially to adjust to operating more efficiently in a tough syndicated environment. With the new name, a radio station could run a two-hour or three-hour version of the show. The original name was more definitive and had to be the "top 30." Now it does not sound weird if you only run a two-hour version if that is all the time a radio station can allow for their weekend programming.
8) How much do you use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to promote the Countdown show -- and how much interaction does your national audience have with you?
In regards to interacting with the audience, hosting a national radio show was way more challenging before Facebook and Twitter. While we have always had a nationwide call-in line; it was quite difficult to ever take any live calls since the show ran different times on all of the stations. Facebook and Twitter have definitely allowed me more real-time interaction with the audience. Also, if you are savvy scheduling your tweets, you can do a lot of this in advance and have something compelling come out just as the show is running in the listeners' city on their local affiliate. I never lie to the public and make it sound like I am in their city doing the show, but it is as local as any national show can be. Also, the countdown is based on the top 30 spins of the affiliates instead of pulling the numbers from a national chart. This makes it much more inclusive for the stations airing the show.
9) After all of these years doing the Countdown, I'm sure you have many great Rock star stories. Care to share any of them with us?
There are so many but one that really sticks out is when I was interviewing Shinedown, Seether and Flyleaf for the Winterfresh Sno-Core tour 2006. After I wrapped up the interviews, this shy girl walked up to me and introduced herself. She told me her band was the opening act on the tour. I had not heard of them and she asked me would I mind bringing the band on before they started their show. I agreed and told her I would see them later that evening. When I came back, this shy girl had gotten a little "rocked up" ... leather, heavy make-up etc. and I thought "what happened to that shy girl from earlier today?" From the first time I ever mentioned, "Please welcome Halestorm" from that stage, I have been preaching the gospel about Lizzy Hale and the band ever since. They have been great supporters to the LA Lloyd Rock Countdown. I am so proud of their accomplishments including winning a Grammy! Love it when things like that happen to talented people.
10) Okay, finally, being that you are in Austin and all, how many times have you hung out with Willie Nelson?
I have had many Willie sightings and have seen numerous shows ... even invited to his granddaughter's house last Easter. However, there was only one time I actually "hung out" and that was when I first moved to Austin back in 1995. When you "hang out" on the bus, you usually don't remember too much about it and I think Willie likes it that way.
What do you like to do for fun when you're not in "radio" mode?
My wife Kathi and I enjoy tasting new wines and we are finally getting some decent vineyards here in the beautiful Hill Country of Texas. It's not Napa Valley but it's a start.
We have two daughters. Taylor, 14 and Ava, 10. They are both heavily involved in softball so I am usually at the ballpark three to four nights a week after I get off the air. There is nothing more satisfying than watching these girls work so hard together as a team. I find myself trying to motivate them the same way as I have always motivated my on air personalities ... lots of parallels there in radio and sports. Also, my youngest daughter has been taking guitar lessons since she was seven. I have never really learned to play an instrument outside trumpet in high school band. So I have been trying to learn guitar with her now, but she's already kicking my butt. She asked for an All-American doll if she learned how to play "Eruption." She's still working on that one but I will definitely hold my end of the deal.
You're stuck on a deserted island and you only have 5 CDs with you. What are they?
Oh this is where I love music because everyone has such diverse tastes.
- Prince "Purple Rain"
- Guns N Roses "Appetite For Destruction"
- Lady Gaga "The Fame Monster"
- Elvis "30 #1 Hits"
- Alanis Morisette "Jagged Little Pill"