10 Questions with ... Jesse Mitchell
March 13, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 1940 - Chuck Norris was born
- 1987 - Rick Astley gives me reason to live
- 1994 - Fired from McDonald's for hitting on ladies over the drive-through speaker
- 2002 - Part-time at KDWB/Minneapolis
- 2004 - Middays/Imaging at KCLD/St. Cloud
- 2005 - Overnights at WXSS/Milwaukee
- 2007 - Nights/Imaging/Music at KBEA/Quad Cities
- 2009 - Imaging at KZJK/Minneapolis
- 2010 - Nights/Imaging at WRNW/Milwaukee
1) How would you describe your first radio gig?
I was fortunate enough to have parents who procreated in Minneapolis, so I grew up listening to KDWB. Rob Morris and Derek Moran were kind enough to offer me my first part-time gig (and I say "kind enough" because we've all listened back to our early airchecks ... oooof ... rough, right?) First-class management and first-class studios are pretty uncommon to find in a first gig, but that good fortune followed me to my first full-time gig at KCLD/St. Cloud, where John Sowada and Chris Pickett also showed a commitment to building a quality product. I learned a lot from both of those positions - some lessons were easier to learn than others - but the knowledge I gained guides me even in my present day duties at 97.3 Radio Now.
2) How would you describe the radio landscape in your market?
I vividly remember driving to Milwaukee for an interview in 2005 and seeing a BUNCH of cars with various station stickers and window clings. Seriously. Like every other car. Milwaukee might not be considered one of those "sexy cities," but its listeners are FIRECELY loyal and passionate about their choice of stations. That's a pretty fantastic thing if you're one of the market's heritage stations, and it's a challenge if you're the new kid on the block. I think 97.3 Radio Now has faced that challenge by creating an environment that's like our own little club ... everything from the jocks to the imaging to our promotions ooze with "hey ... we're one of you."
3) Are you wearing more "hats" than you have in the past?
More hats, yes. Hats just for the sake of wearing hats? Not so much. I think the management here at Clear Channel Media & Entertainment Milwaukee has done a fantastic job of identifying the strengths of each of their staff members and utilizing those strengths. The fact is that we all have to do more with less these days, and having people fulfill tasks just to fulfill tasks is a recipe for disaster. On the flipside, asking a qualified member of your staff to multi-task can ensure your end-result is the same across multiple platforms. Sometimes the fewer hands that are in the cookie jar, the better, right?
4) What are you doing social media-wise?
We are all over Facebook and Twitter (http://www.facebook.com/973RadioNow on Facebook and @RadioNow973 on Twitter). The trick is to be enough of a presence without being spam-tastic. We try to give our followers enough "free content" (content that doesn't take them away from their social network) to give them enough of a reason to explore links to our website when we do post them. We're kind of like Internet drug dealers ... here ... have this free cookie ... pretty good, huh? Well if you want this cookie, here's where you need to go to get it. Done correctly you can use your social media sites to drive your station website.
5) "Local local local" has always been radio's mantra. How do you keep your station visible and involved in the community?
About six months ago, I personally called the police when my downstairs neighbor was being beaten by her boyfriend. Growing up in the suburbs with parents that are still married, it kind of shook me. I talked about it on air, and now I'm involved in helping out with an upcoming event for Sojourner Family Peace Centers to help raise awareness and a few bucks for victims of domestic violence. 97.3 Radio Now gets involved in Milwaukee not by going through the motions to LOOK like good people, but by engaging in local causes because we ARE good people.
6) What's the coolest promotion you've been involved with recently?
People who don't live in Wisconsin think that Wisconsin residents do nothing more than sit around with blocks of foam cheese on their heads drinking Miller Lite while lusting after Aaron Rodgers. That's kind of true to a point, but here in Milwaukee the Brewers are king for three-quarters of the year. Last Spring, the Brewers did a promotion where they set out lawn gnomes in the style of their mascot (Bernie Brewer) in various county parks with sweet prizes attached to them. There was an uproar when one fan took over 100 of these gnomes for herself. The rules said take one ... she took 100 ... people lost their minds. So we went to a local garden center, picked up a bunch of lawn gnomes, attached prizes to them, and hid them in the station's back yard for listeners to find. I've been a part of promotions that gave away far more fantastic prizes, but the "GNow Gnomes" promotion was probably the best locally-driven promotion I've ever been a party to.
7) What artist would we be surprised to find on your iPod?
I've imaged a Jack station and for the first three years of college, I was a music education major, so my iPhone is all over the place. Probably the strangest thing you'd find on there would be music from various drum corps that compete in Drum Corps International. Sometimes the music snob in me needs a break from auto-tune, and I find that break in the form of intricate drum passages. My girlfriend doesn't know these audio files exist. ;)
8) Could you give us a little insight into your on-air staff?
We have Connie and Curtis on mornings, and I don't even think Connie and Curtis could give you any insight into Connie and Cutis. They kind of set the tone for the rest of the day in that they're irreverent yet informed. Katie Sommers holds down middays, and I've learned more about birth control and the application of makeup I didn't even know existed from her blog than I ever needed to know. Riggs does afternoons, and the randomness that man is capable of is impressive ... he's either a genius, or totally insane. Not to overlook any of our weekend talent, we also have Scott Tyler of Kiss Chicago and KDWB fame on Sundays ... the rest of the week he's our engineer! So he does a weekend shift, and fixes the stuff we've broken during the week all at the same time! How rad is that?!
9) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
I kind of break this down into two categories... one for music, and one for talk. Java Joel out of Kiss Cleveland is a guy that gives me some use out of the iHeartRadio app. He's always on point, has his finger on the pulse of pop culture, and is one of those guys you can tell just LOVES radio. Every time he opens a mic, he does it with the exuberance of a kid fresh out of college that just got his first gig, and we could all learn a little from that kind of approach. The guy I look up to Tn talk radio is someone FSR has stuck on overnights and weekends, and I can't understand why. Ben Maller is a guy who's actually kept me in my car in my garage with the ignition on ... like in the good gripping content sort of way ... not the trying to off myself sort of way.
10) Do you have a favorite hobby outside of radio?
This time of year, I make Ukrainian Easter eggs. Maybe you've seen 'em before ... maybe you haven't. It's one of those artsy-craftsy sort of things that settles me down, and it's kind of nice to surprise friends and family with some of my creations. You can actually check out how I made one of them here:
What ringtone do you have on your cell?
I only have the standard iPhone ringtones. I figured I could get more bang for my buck by purchasing ringback tones. For those of you that aren't familiar, a ringback tone is something that the person calling you would hear in place of a standard ring. I like to tease our PD (Dave Adams) about being Canadian, so whenever he calls me, he hears "O Canada." Other ringback tones in rotation include Ke$ha's "Your Love Is My Drug," Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up," and Duck Sauce's "Barbara Streisand."
People prefer texting me.