10 Questions with ... Caden
August 28, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Never in a million years would I have imagined myself in radio. I actually went to college for Audio Engineering at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, MN, and ended up working for the House of Blues franchise in Los Angeles, on the production staff and also doing freelance studio work in LA. While figuring out at the young age of 19 that L.A. is very expensive, I set back home to Wisconsin to go back to school to become even more of a computer nerd and get a degree in Computer Science. Instead, I ended up getting hired at a radio station to board op for local sporting events and loved the feel of being in a radio station. I was always a shy person, but something about being in a studio would bring out my personality, so I made a fake aircheck and thanks to my former boss, now at KISS 107 (Jare E.) ... he had faith in me and put me on the weekends! He helped out a lot in crafting me into an actual talent on the air, and two years later I was contacted by Oasis Radio Group to come and do nights for them. After seeing their amazing facility and hearing their company vision, I instantly knew I had to join the team and now I have been here in Ft. Wayne for almost a year and have added a lot more responsibility to my plate, such as Music Director. I also do a lot of imaging for our stations.
1) Congrats on getting out of "jail." Tell us about that promotion!
I have never been able to do something big for a charity before and the MDA contacted me about raising money for them. I knew this was my chance to give back to someone and put a smile on someone else's face. I decided I would lock myself into a makeshift jail cell outside with no cover until I raised the $3,000 of bail money to get me out. I ended up being in the jail cell for over 24 hours with no sleep but was able to reach the $3,000 thanks to some of our very generous and giving listeners. The suffering I went through in a 5 x 5 foot jail cell with no sleep for 24 hours, shivering cold at night, and sweating in the sunlight in the daytime, was nowhere near the everyday suffering something with muscular dystrophy has to go through. It was great seeing the community come together and help out!
2) Your station has been very promotionally active this year. Fill us in on the other cool stuff you've done.
We put on the Hot 107-9 YouTube tour, which was a completely free concert featuring YouTube stars such as Karmin, Austin Mahone, Ryan Beatty, Ahmir, Cady Croves and Megan & Liz. We make having a bumper sticker on your vehicle actually meaningful with Hot Pursuit, where we drive around and pull people over with Hot bumper stickers and give them a chance at $500. I love the promotions we do because they always tell a story and they are nothing like I have ever done at corporate radio.
3) What's the perfect 'JFX record? Give us a feel for your music position.
The station tends to lead as more of a Rhythmic Pop station. We aren't Mediabase chart-watchers. We currently have a Nicki Minaj song called "Va Va Voom" in power rotation, which is just an album cut from her record. We did the same in the past with David Guetta, playing "Turn Me On" way before it was a radio single, and that seemed to work out pretty well for us. When someone tunes into our radio station, we want them to know exactly what they are going to be getting. We will be on the very front end of some songs that we feel strongly about and hold out on songs that we feel are being played only because of "strong promotional" reasons. We aren't always right with every song, but we always try to give our listeners the best hit music that they want to hear.
4) Run down the competitive situation in Ft. Wayne. Who are you competing with?
We don't have another Pop panel station in the market but we do compete with a Hot AC station that tends to play a few more Pop hits than normal, and a Rhythmic/R&B station that tends to play some Pop records. We believe in doing our own thing ... and that you need to be one thing. If you aren't one thing, you are nothing. When someone listens to our station they know what they are going to get. If you put our station on for 10 minutes without any mention of what station they were listening to, they would know it is Hot 107-9! We engage the community more with great promotions that are fun and make the listener feel like a part of the station!
5) "Local local local" has always been radio's mantra. How do you keep your station visible and involved in the community?
It's really simple. Engage and meet your listeners. Premium Choice or Pandora can't have a local carwash to benefit a local charity. They can't go out and sit at the mall and shake hands with all their listeners. When tragedy strikes, they can't go on the air and talk first-hand with local listeners about the incident. Music is very important, but conversation takes your station to that whole new level, especially on the local side.
6) What is your favorite part of the job?
Being able to use creativity to come up with ideas and promotions and actually see them in action, along with being able to actually set someone's mood when they are listening to you. I love the idea that someone could be in a sad mood and turn on our station and get a smile out of something I say. At least, I hope that happens on a regular basis!
7) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
Jo Jo Wright at KIIS. When he is on the air he just sounds so human and he is just the nicest guy on the radio. He is the perfect example of how to be a best friend to the demographic on the air -- and I hear off the air he is exactly the same.
8) Do you have a favorite hobby outside of radio?
Golf! I try to play every day, and it's my time to relax and enjoy myself until I duff my drive or hook my ball into the water on the first hole.
9) What would you like to do to save radio from its "dying-industry" image?
Radio is the very first social media. We have the power to reach thousands of new people every week ... and we need to look back a bit at what made radio successful in the past, and take some of those things, but evolve many other aspects. The family four-packs, and "be caller 10" need to go away, but many of the community-driven things radio did in the past need to be done today to be successful, such as the human local interaction radio used to have with its listeners. Radio stations need to become more than stations ... and become brands. Hire professional video people and start to do videos on a weekly basis. Start to utilize your social media. Respond to every tweet and every Facebook comment. Thank every listener for the follow on Twitter and re-tweets. Evolve your brand with the new technology, but never forget the roots and the listener and the interaction you need with them.
10) What is it about our industry that keeps you wanting to do it for a living?
Not only the creativity it brings out in me, and the challenges of coming up with ideas that will work, but I love the opportunity to talk to people and try and make a difference in someone's life. We have a megaphone to thousands of people each week, so let's use it properly!
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I told my kindergarten teacher I wanted to be a robber so I could stay up late. I guess being a night jock sort of fills some of those shoes!