10 Questions with ... Tina Smash
November 4, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- Clear Channel, Youngstown, OH 2001-2007
- Next Media, Wilmington, NC 2007-2010
- Digity, Greenville/New Bern, NC 2010-Present
1) What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
There was a defining moment for me. I was at a local club back home hanging with my girlfriends and one of the local DJs (I won't say who because he's still in radio and syndicated now) was doing a live broadcast. I watched him all night and couldn't believe he was getting paid to do this! He must of thought I was watching him because I liked him or something. He ended up asking me out and I thought ... why not? It'll give me a chance to pick his brain about radio. The date was not good, but I did get a tour of the station and that night I went home and Googled Broadcasting schools ... and here I am. So I guess a really bad date got me into radio ... LOL!
2) How long have you been the PD at WXQR and what makes this station so unique?
I have been the PD for two years. What helps set us apart from other stations or what makes us unique ... I don't have any "suits" telling me what to play. I have a very unique market; they LOVE rock, they love that we aren't scared to play the harder stuff, and they come to WXQR to hear what new bands we are helping to break! They come to live shows on weekdays! Our listeners help make us unique! I'm not a chart watcher ... just because the masses are playing a song doesn't make it a hit. If it kicks ass and fits what we do on XQR, then we play it.
3) You also do afternoons on the station. How do you balance doing an air shift along with your PD duties?
I have no idea ... LOL! I get to work before anyone else in the morning, so I can get my work done before the "work day" starts. I'm not sure if I balance it. I just get crap done! You do what you gotta do! Although I am the only full-timer right now, I have an amazing PT staff; they help out tremendously. Now if I can hire someone to return phone calls and e-mails for me...
4) Let's talk about the music on WXQR. I know you're very passionate about music and the station has a reputation for being aggressive and taking chances on new music. Is that a reflection of your passion or do your listeners expect to hear the best new rock on Rock 105.5?
It's both. We've been doing this for almost 40 years. We have always been the station that is edgier and known for the best new rock. If the PD doesn't have passion for the music, then why are you there? I can't imagine trying to program a station I didn't love. Just like a listener isn't going to listen to a station they don't love. I'm just spreading the love! I love it when a listener gets turned on to a new band and thanks Rock 105 for bringing it to their ears! (How many times can I say love in a paragraph?)
5) You're also in the very unique position of having a direct Active Rock competitor in WXNR. How is that battle going?
First off, how awesome is it that we have two Active Rock stations in the same market? It's an ongoing battle that keeps us on our toes all the time! On a personal level, I like the guys across the street. Rock 105 is the little engine that could ... our signal is half the size of theirs but we are still able to kick ass! We aren't scared to be edgy and play the bands that they won't unless it hits a certain number on the charts.
6) What's your take on current music in the Active Rock format? Is it as good as six months ago, better, or about the same? Give us your take on the Active Rock format as a whole.
I am so sick of hearing that the format is going away! Are you fricking kidding me? Shame on everybody who jumped on the Alternative bandwagon! It goes back to the passion you have for the music, I guess. I will attend rock shows during the week, and the place is packed with the demo we play to, and I'm talking about bands that aren't "mainstream" that you won't hear on the station across the street! The album sales and the hits on the music videos tell a story! I think the fans of Active Rock are alive and kicking and waiting for more!
7) What are your three favorite artists or songs of this past year and why?
Hands down, NOTHING MORE, THE AMITY AFFLICTION and BRING ME THE HORIZON! NM blew me away with not only the album but the live performance as well! Johnny Hawkins is our modern day Jim Morrison! TAA and BMTH are both bands that are awesome live as well! They have such an awesome connection with their fans! And the music speaks to you! You feel the songs! You relate to them! Especially with the young rockers, struggling with everyday life. They turn to music for support and help.
8) How much does Rock 105.5 use social media like Facebook and Twitter to help enhance the overall listener experience?
We use it a lot. That's where everybody goes now to get the latest news and gossip! We post teasers on there for contests and if we are playing a new artist/song and any type of big announcements. We time-stamp it so they know when to listen! Pretty much if we are talking about it on-air, we post about it! It's just another channel to get information. And people love to comment on posts, good or bad, its feedback!
9) I'm assuming that Smash isn't your real last name. What's the origin of that handle?
Doesn't Smash sound Italian enough? Ha! The name came from a baby band that came to the studio, they were opening up for a national act that night and I let them come play radio with me that afternoon before the show. They were so grateful for giving them some airplay. They announced on stage that night that I was part of the "Atom Smash" family. Hence, Tina Smash ... it just stuck! Thanks mostly to Wes Styles, who was PD at the time, he took it and ran with it! Besides, it's a lot easier to spell then Eduardo!
10) Finally, I've often said you are probably the hardest working woman in Rock Radio. Besides your radio gig, you recently launched your own fitness center called Smash Studios? How is that endeavor -- pardon my pun - "working out" for you?
I do keep myself pretty busy. Smash Studios is actually doing really well! It has really become the talk of the town. It's not your traditional fitness center. We cater towards females, although I do have a few male students! I teach Pole Fitness, Aerial Silks, Burlesque and we have Yoga and Zumba as well. I was driving 45 minutes to attend a similar place to work out and I thought it would make more sense to open one here so I didn't have to drive. Duh! Right? LOL! I also like to challenge myself! I am looking at opening a second Smash Studios in the near future. Thankfully I have an amazing man in my life who supports all my crazy adventures. Life is too short to be boring! I never want to look back and say "I wish I would have."
You're stuck on a deserted island and you only have five CDs with you. What are they?
Can I bring my record collection instead?