10 Questions with ... Aaron Rogers
September 18, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started my career in 2008 as an intern and eventually I became a part-time personality at WXSS and WMYX-FM (103.7 KISS-FM and 99.1 The Mix) in Milwaukee. Then I moved north to Green Bay for my first full-time position doing nights at WIXX.
Currently I'm Online Content Director/nights at WZEE (Z104) in Madison, and I also voicetrack nights at WMYI (MY 102.5) in Greenville, SC, along with doing weekends at WRNW (97.3 Radio-NOW) in Milwaukee. Been here since 2010!
1) How would you describe your first radio gig?
FUN! It was incredible to begin my career in Milwaukee on one of the biggest stations in Wisconsin, and one that I grew up listening to. I can't describe the nerves and how powerful of a feeling it was being thrown into the fire at 2amon a holiday (during a snowstorm) and doing my first air shift. After all, I did have a lot of practice mimicking all the jocks in my car as a teenager.
2) What led you to a career in radio?
I was living as a broke college kid in the land of green and gold (Green Bay) when I went to a Plain White T's concert. I somehow made friends with one of the part-time jocks who brought me into the studio during his air shift. Growing up I always had a fascination with wanting to be the "radio guy" who hung out with the artists and met people on the street, so I quickly tried to learn everything possible and radio ended up becoming such a passion. It's crazy how fast time has gone by, and being able to get paid to do what I've wanted to do growing up.
3) What makes your station unique? How would you compare it to other stations you've worked at?
It's difficult for me to compare the experiences I've had here versus elsewhere because every city/station has its' own set of unique characteristics.
Honestly what makes Z so special is the way we get involved with our community. Aside from being a heritage Top 40 station in an incredibly progressive city, we make such an effort to get out into the streets, parades, nightlife, benefits, and charities in the Madison area. At the end of the day, our station is an intricate part of people's lives.
4) Are you wearing more "hats" than you have in the past?
I think it's safe to say for the most part we are all wearing more/multiple hats in this business. Even though this may hold true, I can say I've definitely picked up a few more skills. Since working here I've really focused on a ton of digital/creative talents, social media, and dabbled into the promotional side of things in addition to being an on-air host. It's a good thing though - I mean you never stop learning, and it's so valuable to hold multiple skill sets.
5) Could you give us a little insight into your on-air staff?
Where do I begin? I'm so fortunate to share the hallway with some incredibly talented people. Hunter Quinn, our Program Director, along with Katie Kruz, our APD/Promotions Director ... they both are two of the most supportive and helpful people I've ever worked with. Between the programming staff and the promotions department, everyone brings unique viewpoints and ideas to the station -- even though every now and then we spat like brothers and sisters!
6) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
I hate playing favorites, but growing up I was influenced by Kraig Karson at KISS in Milwaukee. Something about his on-air foibles and quirky personality was memorable. Now I love doing impressions of him. (Oh, and he taught me what the word, "foible" meant too.) Thanks Kraig!
7) What is it about our industry that keeps you wanting to do it for a living?
There's something to be said about being excited to come to work every day. Just when I think I knew a lot, I discover so many new things about the industry and pop culture! Plus the copious amount of Pizza Hut certificates ... night guys have to eat, right?!?
8) What advice you would give people new to the business?
Coming from experience, I came into radio during some massive layoffs in 2008 as an intern -- which was terrifying. I kept thinking, "Will I ever make it or succeed when everyone is being let go?"
It's so true that if you want something bad enough in life, you have to be willing to put in every last second of work. If it means filling in each chance you get for someone, dubbing in a barter spot, or handing out soda samples at a convenience store, take each opportunity and never complain. Network and remain confident.
9) What is the current state of the radio "talent pool?"
In my opinion we need more young talent in the business. It's hard to believe that the college graduating class of 2016 included "radio" as one of the mediums they never use. If we can reach out to high school and college students quick enough, we can snag not only great "personalities," but people who are motivated with ideas, graphic design, sales, and production skills.
10) What would you like to do to save radio from its "dying-industry" image?
I want to continue to be out on the streets, hanging out at events and using social media as a tool to keep people coming back to the radio station. It'll always be my goal to make every effort to keep radio "cool" and different from all the other media outlets by providing compelling content and keeping strong community ties.
For someone vacationing in your market, what one thing would you say they "must see?"
If you're heading to Madison, you have to grab drinks at the Capitol, eat a BRAT on State Street, and be prepared to paint yourself in red & white at Camp Randall Stadium. GO BUCKY!