10 Questions with ... Shawn Rock
November 10, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 2001-2004 - KILO (part-time "do whatever you ask me" jock),
- 2004-2006 - KUPD "The Big Red Radio" (Promotions Assistant, Promotions Coordinator),
- 2006-2015 - KMKF "K-Rock" (Morning Show, Promotions Director, PD)
1) What was your first job in radio and early influences?
My first job in radio was here at 94.3 KILO. I started out doing whatever needed to be done as an intern. Went to broadcasting school at Pikes Peak Community College (just so I could work at KILO!) and Ross Ford gave me an on-air weekend shift. My earliest radio influence was a DJ at 94 ROCK in Albuquerque. I believe her name was "Renee" (Ray-Nay). I wanted to BE HER AND SOUND LIKE HER. I never met her or even saw her. She made me want to be a part of whatever radio had to offer. Anyone know who/where she is now?
2) What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it?"
My defining moment was when Wendy Campbell (Promo Director) offered me an internship with KILO. Blew my mind. I couldn't believe I was getting the chance to work at KILO. It was a dream come true.
3) You recently did mornings and were the PD for KMKF (K-Rock) in Manhattan, KS. How did that job prepare you for your new one with KILO?
Working at Manhattan Broadcasting with 101.5 K-Rock helped me develop, learn and grow so many of my radio skills. When you are PD for a station like K-Rock you wear many hats. You're responsible for the imaging, the music scheduling, training and managing your staff, promotions, social networking, production, digital promotion, working with sales and working with the community. So, once you get all that figured out, you can take on just about anything in this industry. I have Rich Wartell and Corey Reeves to thank for giving me the opportunity to work at 1015 K-Rock. At MBC, you work as a team when you have a four-station cluster. I learned how News/Sports, Country, and Top 40 stations function. They really have a great team at MBC.
4) I know you started out at KILO years ago and have just returned to the station. Give us your history with the station and what makes KILO so unique?
I got in with KILO by participating in a station promo as a listener and fan. The end giveaway was to go backstage at Ozzfest, a year of free pizza, and the Pantera CD library. I won and that's when Wendy Campbell dropped the bomb on me that they were looking for an intern. That was the whole point of the promotion. They figured if anyone would dress up as a fairy for three weeks and follow KILO around they were probably committed to the station. That's a true story. See kids, dreams do come true! I don't think I ever got that pizza, but I get plenty now at remotes so I guess we're square.
5) Before we jump into the music on KILO, you're now doing middays on the station. Do you do any special midday/lunch time benchmarks?
My time so far on mid days at KILO has been spent getting used to a studio/equipment/software, new promotions, new listeners and new clocks. As far as my own benchmarks I have a few cool ideas I hope to work in ASAP.
6) Describe your weekly music meeting with PD Ross Ford. Approximately how important by percentage is gut, research, sales, video play, and chart position when determining the status of a record?
Ross and I have spent our time together since I've been here going over KILO's scheduling techniques (it's magical), and what has changed and not changed since I was here last. I think Ross Ford still takes into consideration first and foremost what the KILO listener will want and expect from KILO. Of course, research and chart position will always play a part, but I've never known Ross to just add a song if it doesn't have some kind of "KILO Worthiness." I plan to follow that ideal as well.
7) 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?
Active Rock has never gone anywhere. It's been here. I just think heavy corporates chose to follow numbers and jump ship. There's no reason to get into my deep thoughts on Arbitron/Nielsen. I think those that stuck it out in the Rock radio industry know what happened. You can't kill rock & roll, but you can certainly water it down and mainstream it. I go to shows/concerts, record stores, and watch online sales. Active Rock is alive and well. It's better than a year ago and will continue to improve.
8) KILO has long had a reputation as a "tastemaker" station ... especially when it comes to metal ... how do you balance that so it doesn't adversely affect the station's cume ... especially during the day?
KILO has been consistent when it comes to its daily delivery of the rock. It refuses to change and that's a good thing because rock fans are loyal and hate change. Besides, what was metal 20 years ago is now mainstream rock gold. I believe you can condition your listeners if a single is strong and good enough to appreciate it in the morning/day just as they would at night. Bands like Slipknot, In This Moment, Metallica, Lamb of God and Ghost all have singles that fit just fine in the day as they do at night. Throw in the strong heavy golds from Black Sabbath, Led Zep, Hendrix, Ozzy, and Dio and the mix sounds great all damn day. By the way, can we all just agree that even classic Slayer needs some love on Rock radio at this point? At night? C'mon!
9) How much do you use social media like Facebook and Twitter to help enhance the KILO experience between you and the listeners?
We have a digital director that helps update and monitor our social networks. I have started adding content to KILO's Twitter and Facebook in small doses. It's important to know that your station's feed should reflect the personality of the station and the staff. Keep it real. Know what they expect from your page. Followers love to see pics. There's something to that. Twitter is great to get "in this moment" information out to your followers. For instance, our morning traffic personality updates KILO's Twitter with traffic updates all morning. I would like to see KILO get into more video though; that would be a cool new adventure and would give a glimpse into the KILO universe.
10) What are your three favorite artists or songs of this past year and why?
It will be difficult to choose just three. I think there are so many strong contenders. I really love Slipknot's "Killpop" and Shinedown's "Cut The Cord." I guess I have to choose though...
- Ghost - "Cirice"
- Foo Fighters - "Congregation"
- Royal Blood - "Figure It Out"
I chose these three because they are "stand-outs." Foo Fighters can sound pretty mainstream at this point but "Congregation" is damn catchy and strong.
You're stuck on a deserted island and you only have five CDs with you. What are they?
I'll have a CD player on this island? Electricity? Sweet!
I hate this question. These rotate with a few others like Social Distortion, Deftones, and Joan Jett, Black Flag, and Mastodon...
- FEAR - The Record
- The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers
- Ramones - Rocket to Russia
- The Clash - London Calling
- Metallica - Ride The Lightning