10 Questions with ... Frank Pain
May 17, 2016
1) What was your first job in radio?
First paying job is the one I'm currently at - KEYJ Rock 108. Although, while at Sam Houston, I did intern at the almighty KLOL. That experience was cool because the station was legendary, but if I was a remote grunt for any other station then I probably would have quit. The downside is I actually failed the class I needed the internship credit for - so there's that
Early radio influences were Randy Jones and Duane Doherty. Early music influences range from Rolling Stones to Blondie to KISS.
2) What led you to a career in radio?
Apparently a lack of morals and direction. No, my buddy, Floyd Sixx, told me there was a gig open and for some reason I was hired. Been here ever since.
Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it?"
Right before my first morning-show shift, the owner (we were mom-and-pop back then) came in and told me not to talk about "religion, gays, and the Dallas Cowboys" (his exact words) or he'd fire me. We knocked that out in the very first break. I didn't get fired. At that point I had a hunch the gig was rad.
3) How long have you been at KEYJ (Rock 108) and what makes this station unique?
Twenty-plus years. I could tell you the exact number but that would mean admitting my age and I'm currently in denial. Actually, what makes Rock 108 unique is the insanely loyal listeners. Rock n roll is not just a format - it's a lifestyle and our listeners live it. We have a tremendous amount of respect for our listeners and consider them family.
4) You're also the OM with Townsquare in Abilene. Give us a list of the stations and formats in your cluster.
KEAN (Country), KMWX (AC), KULL (Classic Hits), KSLI (Classic Country), KYYW (News/Talk)
5) Besides your OM/PD duties, you also do afternoons on Rock 108. How do you balance your time so both roles are effective?
There is no balance in today's radio. If you can't juggle multiple job duties and learn how to prioritize, you will get swallowed up. It's as simple as that. I'm still effective on air because I absolutely love my job. I can't believe I get paid to do what I naturally love. As far as the other stuff goes - 100% prioritization based on current landscape.
6) Let's talk about KEYJ (Rock 108). What kind of Active Rock station is it? How aggressive is the station with New Rock?
We're a '90s-based rocker, like many out there now, but we definitely have a strong new rock focus. Because the attention span of the listener is being pulled in multiple directions, you have to be smart with your new rock by sandwiching it with solid gold tracks. Not tracks from the Solid Gold TV show, but the bad-ass tunes from your gold library. I'd like to think we really give new rock a great platform - along with our regular playlist, we also have shows like Loudwire Nights to gives new rock a voice.
7) Speaking of playing New Rock. Approximately how important by percentage is gut, research, sales, video play, and chart position when determining the status of a record?
I'd like to think that gut is the most important factor. As long as you stay entrenched in the format, then you can rely on it. But you also have to be honest with yourself and not pretend you're in tune with the format just because it's your job. Gut: 100% -- if it doesn't evoke some form of feeling in my soul, then it's tossed. That's primarily how a song gets on air ... I then use research, sales, videos, and charts (equally) to determine its life.
8) There's been lots of discussion lately on the Active Rock format. What's your take on the format and current Active Rock music?
It's weird, really weird. First off, there will be no more new 'rock stars'... but that's not necessarily a bad thing. What previously made a rock star was the fact that the artist was so out of reach. Now days, with social media, we're all interacting with our favorite artists - as if we're best friends. That takes away some of the allure - ya know, the mystery is gone. With that being said, we still need artists to step up and take command of their 'stage.' We also need radio to take more chances on new artists and allow them to take command and become rock stars again. Case in point: There's no reason why Avatar's "The Eagle Has Landed" shouldn't be a #1 song. All in all, I think the format is just fine. We have stronger core artists than any other format and new artists, like Nothing More and Avatar, are breaking the mold and doing things their own way. Life is good.
9) Ok, now let's talk about the GoFundMe campaign to BUY Dave Grohl which has obviously blown up as a major trending topic on social media. How did this idea originate?
Honestly, I was super-tired (due to lack of sleep) and got all wired on Monster Energy drinks and it just came to me. I don't know what it is about Monster, but I'm somehow able to find creativity that's normally not there. I was sick of the negativity on social media and the idea of buying Dave Grohl, via GoFundMe, just popped in my head. I thought it would be a hilarious distraction to the political BS and get a couple of laughs.
10) What is the latest update on the campaign and money raised for the Autism Speaks charity?
Once donations started coming in, I quickly decided to donate it to charity (Autism Speaks). We are currently over $1,800 and counting.
Have you heard from Dave or his camp?
Haven't heard from Dave's camp or record label. At this point, I'm happy with how it has turned out. It's, literally, inspiring people to #BeAGoodHuman as well as forget about the BS in their daily lives. It's been an overwhelming and humbling experience.
What do you like to do for fun when you're not in your "radio" mode?
I enjoy spending time with my wife, especially when we're out on our motorcyles.