10 Questions with ... Jay Steele
September 11, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
WKSE/Buffalo, NY 1997-99; WNKI-WNGZ/Elmira, NY 1999-2001; WBZN/Bangor, ME 2001-2002; WWYL/Binghamton, NY 2002-2005; WPXY-WZNE/Rochester, NY 2005; KMXF-KEZA/Fayetteville, AR 2005-present.
1) Congrats on a great Spring book. What were some of the highlights?
Thanks! We actually did really well in the upper demos. We were #1 21-44W with an 18.1, #1 25-54W with a 19.1 and #1 18-34W on the weekends with a 23.8. In the morning, we finished #2 12+ right behind our sister country station.
2) What were some of your best performing songs during the Spring campaign?
"We Are Young" and "Somebody That I Used to Know" were huge ..."Starships" and "Wild Ones" were big, too. "What Makes You Beautiful" rounded out our top 5 for the spring.
3) You're up against a heritage competitor with a better signal. What has been your strategy to take them on?
We've all heard it our entire careers ... be brilliant at the basics. You really have to stay on course with the music and play nothing but hits. I don't give myself much of a leash to gamble on songs, even if I really like them, and I keep the playlist fairly tight. Leading with a strong morning show makes a huge difference, and Elvis Duran has consistently given us our biggest morning numbers in the station's history.
4) Obviously you're wearing more "hats" than you have in the past. What additional duties to you handle at your cluster?
PD and mornings at our sister AC. It makes for a long day sometimes.
5) How would you describe your first radio gig?
I didn't realize it at the time, but it was good preparation for what I'm doing today. It was at WKSE/Buffalo, and I did a little bit of everything from production to promotions to dabbling in music and doing weekend and overnight air shifts. At the time I was just trying to be well-rounded and figure out what I liked, but that experience has served me very well over the years.
6) What is the most challenging part of the job?
Time management, definitely. I have to be super-organized and efficient to even think about going home at the end of the day. I'm not content with doing something just for the sake of getting it done...I want to do everything really well. That takes time and focus, and it's easy to lose track of time when you're deeply involved in a project.
7) What artist would we be surprised to find on your iPod?
Sade. Don't judge.
8) If you could add one full-time position to your budget right now, what would it be?
Probably another one of me, as long as I didn't have to deal with myself too much. Call the position whatever you want, but it would have to be somebody reliable who had digital skills and could do music, an air shift, a remote or anything else at anytime.
9) Do you have a favorite hobby outside of radio?
I like to stay in shape, and I've been running a lot more lately. And I've watched enough HGTV to fool myself into thinking I can work around the house ...I usually get about halfway through a project before I realize it was a bad idea.
10) What advice you would give people new to the business?
Learn everything you can possibly learn about the business, even if you think you won't like it. When I got into radio, I didn't want to be a PD or music director ... now, that's about 85% of what I do. Learn everything, and learn to do it well.
What's the biggest gaffe you've made on-air?
I have to narrow it down to one? I guess it would be a single break I did at my first station. I had been around long enough to know exactly what to do, but not long enough to be any good at it. I was airing a phone call over a song intro ... these were the days of carts, CDs and reel-to-reel tape. I screwed the timing, stepped all over the vocals with the caller and yelled one of George Carlin's seven dirty words ... with the mic open. And when I realized I left the mic open, I yelled it again and stared at the hotline for about 15 minutes. I really thought my career had ended that night...