10 Questions with ... Jay Nachlis
April 5, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WYYY (Y94FM)/Syracuse - PMD/APD/MD - 1992-1996
- K101/San Francisco - APD/MD - 1996-1997
- WLCE (Alice @ 92.9)/Buffalo - PD/PMD - 1997-2000
- WLLC/WDTW (Alice @ 106.7/106.7 The Drive)/Detroit - 2000-2003
- WBBB (96rock)/Raleigh - 2003-Present
1) What was your first job in radio? Early influences?
Although I discuss my earliest experience and influences in question 2, I am indebted to Alan Furst, who took me to many sushi lunches in Syracuse in the early '90s to share all his wisdom -- and he always gave me a shot. Always.
2) What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
I was a high school intern at X100 in San Francisco from 1988-1990, when Gene ("Bean" from Kevin & Bean) Baxter was Music Director, Ellen K from KIIS (then Ellen Thomas) was doing middays, and people like MC Hammer and Stewart Copeland were roaming the halls. They let me board-op, work in promotions and research ... just about everything. I was totally sold, even though I was working when the 1989 earthquake hit. I was only 16 years old! BTW - the song playing when the quake hit was "Angelia" by Richard Marx.
3) If you were just starting out in radio, knowing now what you didn't then, would you still do it?
I was very fortunate to start in radio when I did. I was wined and dined, met many of my heroes, and even in the worst days couldn't see myself picking any other career. But if I was that 15-year-old with the same internship starting today ... I'm not certain I would choose this field.
4) What career path would you be following had it not been for this industry?
I would have been a teacher. Of all that I've done, nothing makes me prouder than seeing someone I gave a shot to have a successful career.
5) How do you feel terrestrial radio competes with the satellite radio and Internet these days?
For starters, let's stop calling it "terrestrial," which sounds like we belong in the Mesozoic era. Secondly, knock off the inferiority complex. Third, invest in talent and be hyper-local. I'm fortunate to be with a company that does just that.
6) Where do you see the industry and yourself five years from now?
I don't think even Captain Kirk could have predicted we'd be carrying around phones that fit in your pocket that download and play music, navigate traffic, take digital pictures, make movies, and send and receive mail - so I'm out of the prediction business. The advantage of programming today is that your skill set is now so diverse. In addition to traditional programming skills, you have to be proficient in mobile, social media, marketing and so much more. That's exciting, wherever the road may lead.
7) Tell us what music we would find on your car or home CD player (or turntable) right now and what is it you enjoy about that particular selection?
You would find The Black Keys, who fused a perfect blend of R&B and rock; Stevie Wonder, whose music lifts me up always; and Ozomatli, the greatest party band out of Los Angeles. Ya se fue!
8) Please describe the best or worst promotion you've ever been part of?
The two best promotions were oddly intertwined. In Detroit, we got an old Chevy and painted it red and white, put a fake Octopus on the top, took it out to remotes for listeners to sign, and then drove our "mobile greeting card" to Raleigh where the Red Wings were playing the Carolina Hurricanes for the Stanley Cup. When I moved to Raleigh, I repeated the promotion with a Ford Crown Victoria as the "Cane Vic" and we drove it to Buffalo, where the Canes played the Sabres in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Red Wings and Hurricanes each won the Cup in those respective years. You'd think the Cane Vic would have been destroyed by Buffalo fans, but it was totaled by Canes fans at the RBC Center after their Game 7 Cup win over Edmonton. During the Raleigh promotion, we actually re-named the station "96.1 The Cup" complete with new website, imaging, banners. People still talk about that.
9) What is the best advice you would give to young programmers/promotion people?
Take every opportunity - and where there's no opportunity to be had, make one.
10) As you look back over your career ... any regrets? Missed opportunities?
Honestly, no. I've loved every city I've lived in and learned valuable lessons at each stop in the road. People thought I was crazy to leave San Francisco for Buffalo in 1997, but the Buffalo experience made me a much better manager and led to a great Detroit experience which led to the greatest one of all, Raleigh. Change can be beneficial when approached the right way.
Favorite artist you have met?
I spent an hour with U2 in their dressing room in Toronto, speaking with Edge about Sarajevo, being offered beers by Adam Clayton, and riffing with Bono on music. It was one of the greatest nights of my life.
What was the first song or full-length release you purchased?
I brought home "Raising Hell" by Run DMC (on vinyl!) in the summer of 1986 when I was 13 years old. My stepfather was impressed that I purchased an album with two black guys on the cover, thinking it was R&B. When he heard it was a rap album, he wasn't as impressed.
What do you do in your spare time?
Last year, five of us 96rock DJs started a station band, Radiowave. The surprising part is that none of us played instruments and we all started taking lessons at the same time. After three months of lessons, we played for 200 people in downtown Raleigh during NHL All-Star Weekend. Singing and playing an instrument in a band is amazingly fulfilling.