10 Questions with ... Tim Clarke
December 4, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- MD, WBLI/Long Island, NY (2005-2009)
- PD, WAPE/Jacksonville, FL (2009-2011)
- PD, WPOI/Tampa, FL (2011 - Current)
1) At WAPE/Jacksonville, you successfully programmed that heritage station against a newer competitor. Now, you're the proverbial "David" taking on "Goliath." How does that feel?
It's a much different challenge, but the same "marketing warfare" philosophies apply. We spent a lot of time at WAPE attacking our own product and trying to find weaknesses that a competitor could exploit. We even took the time to design that perfect enemy. Here, we ARE that enemy. But we also spend a lot of time at Hot looking at potential weaknesses that another enemy could attack.
Different postures, but at the end of the day it's still about designing and executing a rock-solid product.
2) What were the unique challenges - and potential opportunities - that you encountered while launching a new station against an entrenched and storied competitor?
The main challenge and opportunity is how to differentiate the station. We've put a lot of thought into our musical lane and believe that the tempo and energy of Hot is unmatched by anyone. We look for strategic "secret weapon" records that really define the station. The idea is that after two or three songs, the listener knows they are listening to Hot. We've implemented features like the Hot Morning Mix (at the top of every hour in the morning) to bring the energy and momentum up even another notch.
We place a huge focus on content. Whether it's contesting, pop culture or local culture, our P1s are mass consumers of this material and we package it in tightly with the hits. Our consumers can get the music anywhere - it's the total experience that they tune into our radio station for.
3) Your ratings have been strong, often overtaking FLZ, and joining your sister Cox stations at the top of the market. What have been some of the highlights?
We're very excited with the success of "Hot Mornings with Jayde." We are very focused on developing this show and making it consistently #1. Following that, Phoebe is very strong in middays with the working audience and has successfully made the transition from a great Alternative jock on 97x into a phenomenal CHR personality on HOT. Two other notable highlights are nights and weekends. These are key dayparts for our active life group and I believe that strength in those dayparts is a key to brand strength. Chase and our weekend team are doing an incredible job.
4) What was the marketing strategy that helped to put the station on the map?
Our launch team all agreed that we had one shot to launch this brand and we had to put everything we had into it. Our primary focus with external marketing was a very aggressive outdoor campaign. "Hot" basically owned the entire Tampa billboard network for the Summer of 2011. Additionally, we ran digital campaigns on Facebook, Google, and local sites like MetroMix and TampaBay.com.
Our CMG Marketing team absolutely nailed the creative for this launch. It was clean, energetic, and it sold exactly what we were here to do without a ton of copy or clutter. If you were driving down 275 at 60 mph and you glanced at one of our billboards, you immediately knew what Hor was about. Holly Ratliff and Brittany Evans are the brilliant designers behind our visual branding, and I'm grateful to have them on our team every day.
5) Give us a feel for your stationality. Who's handling imaging? Who's the station voice?
Our Creative Services Dir. for CMG Tampa is Tim Kelly, who is quite the wizard at sonic branding. Tim designs imaging for our six radio stations (everything from Soft AC to Alternative to Top 40) and nails every single sweeper. I don't think it's easy to move back and forth between such varying formats all day and hit the mark as consistently as Tim does it.
Brad Davidorf and Suzanne Anderson are our voice talents.
6) Run down your airstaff, beginning with Jayde in the morning.
- 6-10a: Hot mornings with Jayde, Ed, and Nikki
- 10 a-3 p: Phoebe, middays (and also our Music Director)
- 3-7p: Tim Clarke
- 7 p-midnight: Chase
- Weekdays at 6a, 7a, 8a, and 10p: DJ Ekin Hot Mixes
We're currently searching for an afternoon-drive personality, as I am coming off-air to focus on our social media strategy for our cluster. I am very excited about filling this opening with a great talent and think this is a rare opportunity to elevate our team to the next level.
7) What's your favorite part of the job?
I'm all about the people. We have an incredible team of "A talent," and success comes from having the best people surrounding you. If I had my way, I would spend 100% of my time surrounded by these folks. I also really enjoy working directly with our clients and honing in on how we can collaborate and make our brand work the best for them. It's very cool to get folks excited and onboard with our station's vision.
8) What's the most challenging part of the job?
I was at an event with Scott Borchetta and he said that at Big Machine they "start at crazy and work their way backwards." I absolutely loved this and brought the phrase back to Tampa. Sometimes we're scared of "crazy" or we start trying to find problems too quickly. Or maybe we're even too comfortable with "what's worked in the past." Put all of that aside and just "start at crazy." If the idea is great enough, we will figure out how to overcome the challenges of executing it. It will take a while, but training the organization to think like this is key.
9) What advice you would give people new to the business?
Be an "idea person," diversify your skill set, reek of unique, and have high work intensity.
10) We first met in New York City when you were a "young pup" working for Jeremy Rice at WBLI. What key lessons did you learn then that helped shape you into the broadcaster that you are now?
Jeremy's a brilliant programmer because he's innovative and forward thinking, but is also disciplined when it comes to execution. There's a very healthy balance at work there that makes him successful. Everything that has to do with putting together the guts of a radio station, I learned from Jeremy; I wouldn't know how to do a music log or design a clock without him. The list goes on and on, but I'm grateful that he's been there for me every step of the way.
For someone vacationing in your market, what one thing would you say they "must see?"
Nothing beats downtown St. Pete! Beach Drive is right on the Tampa Bay and lined with restaurants and little shops. There's also Central Ave, which is another strip of restaurants, bars and night clubs. The best part is everything's within walking distance of each other.