10 Questions with ... Jonathan Shuford
September 25, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 2003-07: WABB/Mobile, nights/MD/board op/callout guy/janitor
- 2007-12: KTBT/Tulsa, nights/APD/MD
- 2010-12: KTGX/Tulsa, PD/middays
- 2012-present: WNRW & WLGX, PD/PM drive
1) How would you describe your first radio gig?
Eye-opening. Having the opportunity to work at a legendary station like WABB during the Bernie Dittman years and work under a great programmer like Jammer really allowed me to see how a good station is supposed to run. The station and the air staff became so engrained in the community that the day it flipped formats, people literally cried. Just a reminder that even though the industry is constantly evolving and we have so many tools at our disposal, a great station is one that speaks to the community it serves.
2) How would you describe the radio landscape in your market?
Hyper-competitive. There are a lot of great stations that have been in Louisville a long time, and a lot of really great people who have been in Louisville for a long time. It's an exciting time to be in Louisville.
3) Are you wearing more "hats" than you have in the past?
Sure, everybody is. You have to be able to constantly evolve in this business or else risk being left behind by your peers and by your audience. It poses challenges, but in the end I'm more attuned to every detail of the radio station because of it.
4) What's the coolest promotion you've been involved with recently?
We did "Polish Your Rear" here in Louisville to kick off the summer. We had three van hits a week, inviting listeners to come out and let us put "98.9 Radio Now" on their rear window in shoe polish to get signed up for a really huge grand prize. Amazing response from the community, a great chance for us to get out there and meet listeners, and even four months later, I'm still seeing people's cars with my station plastered all over the back of their car.
5) What's the coolest promotion you've EVER been involved with?
In Tulsa, there was a little girl who was abducted and sexually abused in our area - I think she was like five or six years old. We started collecting teddy bears for her ... because what's more comforting than a teddy bear for a little girl, right? The community came out in droves ... I don't remember the exact number of teddy bears, but it was outrageous. Further proof that running a radio station isn't just about playing the right music and making bad jokes on the air.
6) What artist would we be surprised to find on your iPod?
Taylor Swift ... I'm a happily engaged man, and I'm secure enough in my masculinity to admit that I'm a Swifty.
7) What's one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
I'm a huge fantasy football nerd, and even have a podcast on the air in about a dozen or so markets (@FLFantasyShow) - cheap plug!
8) If you could add one full-time position to your budget right now, what would it be?
Social media coordinator. In today's environment, how you're engaging with your audience on Facebook, Twitter, and through texting is almost as important as what you're doing on the air. We do a pretty good job here with the staff that we have, but if I could hire a guy to do nothing but social media for eight hours a day, I can't even begin to imagine what it would do for the brand.
9) What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
I grew up listening to WZYP in Huntsville in the late '80s and early '90s when Ace & TJ were on mornings. I still remember a bit when the night guy decided that "Rico Suave" was gonna be his theme song and he played it over and over again ... I don't know why that sticks out to me, but I remember staying in my room for hours listening to that God-awful song for some reason.
10) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
You're judged far more on how you handle adversity than how you create success.
What's the biggest gaffe you've made on-air?
Back when I did overnights in Mobile, we were still on CDs, and I had one start to skip on me. On the air, I was super-professional, cracked a joke, and hit the next song. Then, I threw the CD across the studio and let fly a string of profanities that would make a Tarantino movie seem tame, not realizing that the mic was still hot. (Thankfully, no one airchecked me the next day :)