10 Questions with ... Dave Numme
September 13, 2016
1) What was your first job in radio and who were your early influences and mentors?
KZEL/Eugene, OR was a Progressive Album station with amazing credibility and social influence. It was not my first station, but made the biggest impact on me. I was a 17-year-old kid who was inspired by the coolest cats of '70s Album radio. My dream finally came true! I came into the studio for my first overnight show and freaked out to find the entire air staff completely loaded, hanging out, waiting for me. I was baptized with a joint before my first break during which they took a Bic lighter to my promo copy. I then played "Thunder Road" and was on my way. It was awesome. And we played walls of vinyl. Early mentors: Chris Mays, Ken Martin, Jon Robbins, Jeff Salgo, Dave McDonald.
2) You worked for many years in the Bay Area (KSJO, KRQR, Live 105) and also in Portland (KUFO). Of all the places and stations, what are some of the best career highlights of note for you up to now?
Programming in San Francisco was a lifetime dream and being a part of the seminal Live 105 was a pinnacle. Working with Aaron Axelsen and Woody pushed me to become a better programmer.
It was KUFO, which was the defining period for my career because I was the station's first PD. During my 15 years as PD, we built a Rock institution that served the community and made a mark on the industry. So many people came through that station; in particular, Cort Webber, who became a great talent through so many incarnations of the station. Prescott was our first morning show star and was amazing; and Craig the Dogfaced Boy and Porkchop were a Cinderella story.
3) Congratulations on your new position as the PD of KVRQ (Rock 98.9) in Seattle. As a start-up Rock station, can you give us a short chronology of when the station went on the air and how it's progressed since then?
The New Rock 98.9 launched in March, and I joined the station in June. It began rather broadly and made very strong first impressions. Since then, we've focused our music, imaging, messaging and moved the station forward into pre-adolescence. Our voice is starting to change, but it still cracks sometimes.
4) You recently added market veteran Kim Monroe to the station as APD and air personality. What shift will she be working and what's the latest on any new air staff additions?
I feel so fortunate to have Kim and the wealth of knowledge and passion she brings to Rock 98.9. She's done it all from programming, to promotion to developing new streams of content. She's hosting afternoons and making a huge impact with her market cred. Kim is my partner in crime. We are on a very active search for talent for mornings and all other dayparts. Hubbard is dedicated to live-and-local talent and taking risks with great people who want to grow and that is really the most fun part of this job!
5) Now let's talk about the music on Rock 98.9. While the station plays a considerable amount of Classic Rock, how would you describe the station musically and will New Rock be a part of the mix in the future?
KVRQ is agnostic about the era of the music we play. Seattle is a Rock market and if there is a style of Rock the audience wants, we will play it regardless of when it was released. It just needs to fit into the overall expectation and create passion.
6) Seattle has always been considered a great Rock town and was really the birthplace of the Grunge Rock movement in the 90s. How much does that history influence the music on Rock 98.9?
Without a doubt, Seattle has a rich musical lineage and with it huge pride and continued fanaticism for the music created here. It's a big part of what we play. Temple of The Dog are performing their first show in 25 years and fans are stoked to celebrate the music that grew from our home.
7) Now let's talk about the competition. With heritage Rock stations such as KISW and KZOK as competitors, how are you differentiating yourself in this Rock battle?
Each station occupies its own lane and we are focused on expanding ours and going faster. If you spend time with three Rock stations, you'll quickly and obviously hear a difference in cadence, pace, music and imaging. We have our own attitude and position and are excited to offer a different option. And a big part of that will be adding entertaining personalities to Rock 98.9.
8) There have been some recent success stories with the Classic Rock format from stations like KFMB (KFM-BFM)/San Diego and the legendary KLOS/Los Angeles. What's your take on the Classic Rock format?
Every radio station be it Classic Rock or any other format must continue to evolve and be relevant to the market. Many in the format have resisted change and become stale and gotten much older. Not only do millennials love Classic Rock, but our advertising partners want to reach 18-49 adults, so we have to be there.
9) One of the programming challenges of the Classic Rock format has always been how to keep the station sounding fresh and relevant while it's playing Rock music that's sometimes 30 or 40 years old. Your thoughts?
To be relevant, have something to say, be creative and engaging, fulfill an expectation that the audience wants ... if you're doing history lessons about the first Cream sessions, then forget about it. And, don't sound so crusty.
10) Finally, if you were giving the station a grade on how well it's being received by the listeners in Seattle, what would the report card say?
"Your child is always disrupting the other children and acting out. He shows great potential but must harness his emotions, they will be his undoing. And we are happy to also tell you that little Johnny will be skipping ahead two grades because he's so bored with the material around him."