10 Questions with ... Wes Styles
September 8, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WWIZ (August 2003- April 2008)
- WXQR (July 2008-October 2012)
- WQBK (October 2012-July 2014)
- WQLZ (July 2014 - Present)
1. What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it?"
At 11, I met Jim Loboy (who would become my first PD at WWIZ eight years later ... small world) and loved the idea of radio. At 14, Dom Nardella, formerly WNCD, took me under his wing and showed me the ropes. I knew then that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. So I spent whenever possible learning what I could at the studio, events, concerts, etc. I pretty much got fired from one job because I was spending too much time chasing this crazy dream.
2) If you were just starting out in radio, knowing now what you didn't then, would you still do it?
Without question YES. No matter the ups and downs I've seen, I am the person I am today because of it all, and I am happy - professionally and personally. I really can't see myself doing anything else. Like most in the radio biz, this isn't a job, it's my life.
3) Last summer you joined WQLZ and WLCE as OM/PD coming over from WQBK/Albany. With a year under your belt, how has WQLZ been performing?
Exceptionally well. The sales team has a new vigor about the station. The passion in the building is at an all-time high. We have great things happening all the time and the audience responds. We've been able to get the concert scene going again. Just recently we had Bridge To Grace come through for a headlining show - 250 people showed up on a Wednesday night to see them. Tell me radio doesn't work! They killed it in merch sales, too. All this because the audience is passionate about the station and their music.
4) You just recently announced a new morning show on QLZ featuring you and Kaytie Lee replacing Free Beer & Hot Wings. I know you guys have only been on in mornings for a week or so, but how are things going with the new show?
We're still finding our groove and niche. We had about four months to prep for this doing afternoons, but mornings is a completely different beast. Getting the sleep schedule in order has been the most interesting ... this whole going to sleep while the sun is still setting is a little odd; it used to be while it was rising. Outside of that we're plowing forward and bringing local mornings back to the station - which has been missing for almost a decade.
5) How are you marketing your morning show change in the market on-air and off? Are you doing any special promotions to help launch the new morning show?
The first week we had bands like Five Finger Death Punch, Adelitas Way, and others on-air as special guests to help with the kick-off and to show the connection we have to the artist and insight the show can bring. We plastered the airwaves with the fact we were moving to mornings ... Ran print ads ... Digital advertising in local establishments ... etc. Springfield knows we are here (for better or worse, LOL)
6) Now that you're doing mornings on QLZ as well as OM/PD for QLZ and WLCE, how are you planning to balance all of these duties?
It's a slight adjustment in how my days would normally go. I used to show prep, hit the office and get the scheduling, imaging, web stuff done before going on-air. Now I show prep, hit the air, and do everything afterwards. It's actually kind of nice because now I don't feel pressed for time because I have to get on the air at 2p
7) Let's talk about the music on QLZ. Just how Active are you in playing new rock as opposed to your library catalogue?
We're a Rock station that plays just about anything from Crue and Metallica to 5FDP and Shinedown. My target are guys 25-54; give them the new they want with the hits they know. Not the obscure, fringe hits but good stuff from the '90s that brings back fond memories. (Borrowing from my mentor Randy Hawke) We pull out the "Nothing But '90s Saturday" on occasions and it goes over huge. It's one of the most-requested specialty weekends we do.
Our currents have pretty good depth in numbers and we're helping to make names of some of the newer bands (example: Bridge To Grace). Sure that might not answer your question but just listen to QLZ ... It's a nice balance.
8) What's your take on current music in the Active Rock format?
The mainstays keep dropping hits and it seems like we have a nice flux of new bands that could have some staying power are getting some exposure.
Am I glad Disturbed dropped a new single and album? OF COURSE! The fans were excited and we need that excitement in the format. Do I want some new faces to step up and start to claim the top spots? OF COURSE! We need to cultivate the next generation.
Prime example ... I'm really digging Red Sun Rising right now ... those guys have a solid album that could go three, four singles deep if things really take off for them. I hope to see more from them down the road.
9) You're very active with social media personally on Facebook. How active is 'QLZ with social media like Facebook, Instragram and Twitter?
VERY! Our air talent are also content creators at WQLZ.com. We write stories, blogs ... post podcasts and more. All that gets shared on Facebook and Twitter. We're tweeting what's next on the morning show, contest times, etc. Is there a show going on? You'll be seeing what's happening on our Instagram account while it's happening.
I have to give huge credit to our afternoon guy Kyle - he is a master of all things tech and is a huge resource for not only QLZ but the entire building. His production skills on videos of bands in studio is borderline music video level. Kid is a genius and I'm extremely honored to have him on board this team.
Kaytie has been on top of keeping the website up-to-date with tons of content to keep them coming back. August was easily our greatest web traffic month and it's because of her and Kyle's hard work.
10) Finally, I know that "The Simpsons" TV show is set in the fictional town of Springfield, but how often do people mention that show when you say you're working in Springfield, IL?
Every time I talk to someone who's never been here I get asked that (LOL). Sadly, we lost out on the national contest to be named THEE SPRINGFIELD when The Simpsons movie first came out. Yet! We have a Shelbyville just up the road AND a power plant... so, yeah ... to me this is where Bart lives and QLZ is his station. We're also the home of Lincoln so there's a ton of historic stuff to see and do here ... OHHHH and you need to come get a horseshoe. Best damn thing ever served on a plate!