10 Questions with ... Brian Michel
November 22, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- Dec 91 to Oct 98 - Norfolk-Virgina Beach at WPTE (everything from part-time to promotions to nights to creative services and anything else I could get my hands dirty with)
- Oct 98 - Apr 01 - PD of WCKZ/Fort Wayne
- Apr 01 - Apr 02 - PD of KXUU/Denver
- Apr 02 - Present - OM, Millcreek Broadcasting and later with Simmons Media after merger
1) What led you to a career in radio?
I knew from about age four that I wanted to work in radio. It was magical and still is. Growing up in the Norfolk-Virginia Beach area allowed me to hear some of the best talent on the planet on a daily basis, including MJ Kelli and Paul Cubby Bryant. In my teen years, I remember visiting 97 Star and seeing Cubby doing a show on the air and then it was really cemented in my head that I was going to do this.
2) Are you wearing more "hats" than you have in the past?
Absolutely -- everything from writing web server code to engineering initiatives to make the signals and processing better are forefront everyday alongside programming, air shifts, and working with sales.
3) What is your favorite part of the job?
Being able to affect change and make a noticeable difference every day. I go in every day with the idea that I won't leave without making at least one thing on the air on these stations better -- in addition to all other duties. The best part is that you can hear that improvement on the air immediately.
4) What is the most challenging part of the job?
Thinner margins and creating enough efficiencies while maintaining content, a local edge, and a unique product without the resources of the much larger companies.
5) What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
I really had a couple -- Z104 (WNVZ) and 97 Star (WGH).
6) Do you have a favorite hobby outside of radio?
I love writing web code and applications. I love the idea of just building something cool and code allows you to do that in a virtual setting.
7) What music do you listen to when you're not working?
My top-rated list on my iPod Nano, which includes many typical things you would expect (Hip-Hop, Electronic, Alt Rock), but also a heavy dose of Steely Dan, the Beach Boys ("Good Vibrations" is the best rock 'n' roll song ever written, by the way), ELO and indie pop acts like The Pinback and The Thrills.
8) What advice you would give people new to the business?
Radio stations are brands far beyond their terrestrial towers. Therefore, learn about and learn how to execute every other possible distribution method for your brand. People who can do more than just bark orders are indispensable.
9) What is the current state of the radio "talent pool?"
It is certainly less from the standpoint of talent with technical radio skills. However, there are still great personalities out there. It's no different than any other workplace -- there are always people who have magnetic personalities that others seem to gravitate towards. You can still find them; the only difference is you have to teach them to run the board, as well as pay attention and participate in your various forms of brand distribution.
10) What would you like to do to save radio from its "dying-industry" image?
Ha ... sit in a room with the people who spread this nonsense and educate them with the facts. Last time I checked, radio listening has risen every year in the last 20 years and that is with the onslaught of additional choices like satellite, online streaming and many more. I would also like to see the NAB do a better job of telling our story. After all, much of this business relies on communicating and I think the collective industry has done a poor job in a communicating our value.
Which character on a current TV series most reflects your personality?
Danno on Hawaii Five-O.