10 Questions with ... Shadow
March 22, 2016
1) What was your first job in radio and early influences?
My first gig was at WJJO/Madison, WI doing weekends/promotions. I couldn't have asked for a better first gig. Can you imagine? It was the early 2000s. I was in my early 20s. I was seeing Linkin Park, Disturbed, Mudvayne in bars (Kits Korner, to be exact). That was fresh out of the gate from Madison Media Institute.
When I was a kid I couldn't go to bed without the radio on. I used to bother the f*ck out the night/overnight DJs with requests hoping to get on the radio. I listened to Paul Harvey "The Rest of the Story" on my way to piano practice. I f*cking LOVED Delilah. Then JJO launched in Madison. I had already been getting into Metallica, Pantera, etc and now there was a station playing it. I became a P1 instantly (not knowing what the hell is a P1 is). I loved the DJs. Johnny & Greg, Blake Patton (I still love him to death) and Dee the nighttime "biatch." She ended up becoming my roommate, but it was her edgy personality at nights that I loved. She influenced me more than she knows. I left to go to KQRA just as Randy Hawke was coming on, but he is a great mentor to have on your side! His ideas just put me in awe and envy.
2) Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is what I'm going to do for a living?"
When I left Madison, WI for Springfield, MO. To leave such a fun environment (and my family) for the unknown really solidified it for me. I wasn't sure where the ride was gonna take me but I was willing to find out.
3) How long have you been at KQRA (Q 102.1) and what makes this station so unique?
I've been here since the launch, May 2002. We kicked off with Beastie Boys "Sabotage" (a little jab at our competition at the time) and promptly went off the air. We got back up again but had to broadcast from the tower as there was a communication snafu between the studio and the tower. I don't know what any of that means; I just know it was a very interesting time in my life. We had 3three CD players and a stack of CDs and each of us took six-hour shifts and played music with no talk. I've digressed from the question though ... KQRA is unique because we've kept doing what so many have lost. Local. Rock. Radio. I'm not a slave to anyone else telling me what to play. We let our personalities shine. We get to be part of our community and we do it well.
4) You have the dual role as PD and midday host; how do you balance your time so both roles are effective?
Middays are great for a PD. I'm at work. My listeners are at work. I'm informative, topical and entertaining but can still answer e-mails. I don't have to be as intense as mornings or afternoons, which enables me to balance.
5) You just hired Sean Knight to replace Brock Havens in afternoons, plus he'll also handle Imaging and MD. What can you tell us about Sean?
The only thing I truly know about him is that he has cats and likes to hang out with them and shoot Jager. Ha! Actually I've had a TON of conversations with Sean. We talk well together which I hope translates to a good work husband/work wife relationship. Even though he's coming from mountains to big churches, I think he's going to like Springfield, what we have to offer and the fun we have.
6) Now that you and Sean will be handling music, approximately how important by percentage is gut, research, sales, video play, and chart position when determining the status of a record?
All of the above. Gut is easy, but my gut doesn't speak the same as my listener's guts (I keep thinking about The Walking Dead). So then comes everything else. Streams are high on my list. Actively seeking out a song that you dig speaks volumes. Shazam, too (although I rarely seek rock tracks on there). Download/sales are an okay reference but just because someone downloaded it doesn't mean they're playing it. I mean, I got some iTunes gift cards for Christmas, too. Just because I downloaded The Weeknd "Can't Feel My Face" doesn't mean I've played it a ton. Okay, bad reference. That song was a smash. I use it all. Chart position a tad but not always. Charts remind me of the age ol' saying "If so and so jumped off a bridge would you?" Sometime I do, sometimes I don't. I'm currently working on getting some local research.
7) What's your take on current Active Rock music and the Active Rock format overall?
I still get excited about rock but obviously the upsurge is Pop and Hip-Hop. It's the parent's jobs to not let their kids listen to shitty music. Then again, if rock wasn't working, then 120,000 moms, dads and kids wouldn't have bought tickets to Rock on the Range and my radio station wouldn't be here.
8) What are your three favorite artists or songs of this year so far and why?
Shaman's Harvest "In Chains." They are so fun! They hail from MO so we've been playing them since "Dragonfly." They are finally starting to get some national recognition. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Avatar and have a pretty unhealthy obsession with the lead singer. Please don't tell him that. I need them to come to Springfield again. Highly suspect.
9) How much does KQRA use social media (Facebook and Twitter) to interact with its listeners? Give us an example of a social media campaign that worked.
All the time. How many times have you picked up the phone to talk to someone? I don't even call my grandma anymore. Hell, SHE doesn't call ME anymore. I don't have a specific campaign. Social is an extension of who we are, so we keep it specific to station events that are fun (and the listeners want to come to) and cat videos.
10) Finally, is Shadow your real name or is there an interesting story behind that name?
Shadow is my REAL name. I was destined to be a DJ or a Stripper.
What do you like to do for fun and relaxation when you're NOT in "radio" mode?
I'm a rock mom. My kid is showing me what it's like to be a kid again. We go to kid-friendly stuff, play at the park, build Legos ... I've got some pretty stellar concerts coming up like Peppa Pig LIVE! And Daniel Tigers Neighborhood. Radio is how I "adult" now.