10 Questions with ... Matt Gapske
January 22, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 96.5 The Buzz/Kansas City - Intern/board-op/morning show producer - 2006-2007
- 98.9 The Rock/Kansas City - Weekends - 2007-2008
- 99.7 Kiss FM/Kansas City - Kidd Kraddick Local Producer - 2009
- Gen X Radio 99.7/Kansas City - Imaging/Weekends - 2010
- 99.7 The Point/Kansas City - Nights/Imaging Director - 2011-2012
I was born and raised in Kansas City, and that's where I got started in radio. After working my way up in KC's Entercom cluster for six years, I decided to break out of my part-time job there, and snag a full-time gig. I landed at WMRV in Binghamton, NY last June as middays/Imaging Director, and in six months have become the PD/afternoon host of my station. It's been quite a ride.
1) What led you to a career in radio?
It was a combination of a few things in quick succession. First off, I was taking a mass media course in college, and we toured a Kansas City radio cluster. I found it fascinating. Next, one of my best friends simply remarked one night that he thought I had a radio-sounding voice. Okay, noted. Lastly, I was driving pizza delivery at the time. I didn't have a CD player in my crappy car, so I listened to the radio A LOT. I had KC's Alternative station, 96.5 The Buzz, on all the time. One day, I just told myself, "You know what? I want to do that." So I applied for an internship there, got hired, and started to work my way up.
2) How would you describe your first radio gig?
My internship at the Buzz was a ton of fun, but somewhat rocky at the start. I worked in the promotions department, and learned very quickly that I wasn't going to be working in the magical land of programming. I know that I probably pissed some people off with my rough organizational skills, but I think I eventually won them over with my positive attitude and willingness to do anything to help out. When I wasn't "on the clock," I spent tons of time in the air studio: shadowing, asking questions, just trying to be around to observe how a radio station functions and how jocks do their thing. If it wasn't for people like Jeriney, Jason Ulanet or Brian Prince letting me pester them during their respective dayparts, I wouldn't be where I am today.
3) Are you wearing more "hats" than you have in the past?
Oh absolutely. We're a very small staff at our six-station cluster, so everybody does. From what I've been told, I got hired here initially not just for middays on Star, but also to help image the cluster. It's been fun imaging for different formats like Rock, Sports, AC and Classic Hits. So on any given weekday, I could be checking music logs, producing spots, jocking my show, writing and producing imaging, doing a remote, or going on a sales call. It can be crazy busy, but I love it.
4) What's the coolest promotion you've been involved with recently?
It's an event that Star has been doing for years called Thanks-4-Giving. We partner up with Catholic Charities for it. Last November, Lori from my sister station, Mix 103.3, and I "lived" in an RV outside of Wal-Mart in order to collect turkeys and other non-perishables for needy families in the area. We did our shows from there for a week-and-a-half, and had a blast! Tons of listeners came down to donate, and it was wonderful to meet all of them. And the community really came through, donating nearly 5000 turkeys, shattering the previous record by over a 1,000. It's just one of those events that showcased the true power of radio, and being able to help out so many families made it that much sweeter.
5) What's one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
Since I'm a huge movie nerd, people find it baffling that I've never seen The Godfather or Casablanca. I've just never gotten around to it. Sure, I could tell you how Luke Skywalker built his light saber (got a few minutes?), or how many gigawatts of electricity a DeLorean needs to go back to the future (1.21). But ask me about The Godfather or Casablanca, and you'll get a bit of a blank stare. It's sad, I know.
6) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
Jason Ulanet. He was a mentor to me when I was first starting out. He's not in the business anymore, and that's a shame, because he had a gift. The man was one of the most conversational jocks I've ever listened to. He was a walking music encyclopedia, and easily the smartest guy in any given room, but you'd never know it. He just came across as your friend on the air. In fact, that's how he referred to himself on-air: your amigo de Jason. He was so much fun to listen to and a good man to have as a friend. Too bad the field of psychiatry called him away from radio.
7) Do you have a favorite hobby outside of radio?
I love to snowboard. When I was a bit younger, I dreamed of maybe making it to the X-Games one day, but once I came to terms with that fact that my body just doesn't work like that, I came to enjoy it even more. Nothing is more relaxing than cruising down some fresh powder with nothing but the wind in your ears.
8) Looking back, which years hold the best musical memories for you and who were your favorite acts at that time?
Since I'm only 27, I don't have a ton of time to look back on, but it'd have to be the mid-'90s. My first CD ever was Third Eye Blind's self-titled album. I have major love for all of those Pop Rock bands from back then: Gin Blossoms, Sister Hazel, Counting Crows, Everclear, Barenaked Ladies. I can't get enough of them.
9) What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
My parents always had the radio on in the car, and it was always on Oldies 95. I think it gave me a good foundation. It's funny, I wasn't even really aware of any of the other stations in KC at the time because I was too busy listening to the Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Mamas and the Papas, The Byrds, The Temptations, Buddy Holly and more. If you told me all I could listen to for the rest of my life was the "American Graffiti" soundtrack, I'd be a happy camper.
10) What advice you would give people new to the business?
First off, stay positive. Next, the whole "get your foot in the door" phrase is a bit cliché, but it's so true. Get your foot in the door, and don't let it out. Make yourself the most available person in the building, and help out with anything you can, in every department. Be a sponge, and soak up everything! If you want to work in radio these days, you've got to be able to wear multiple hats. Lastly, find someone who's willing to show you the ropes. Many of us realize that the talent pool is shrinking fast. We don't want to see it dry up.
What ringtone do you have on your cell?
My ringtone is the sound of a dial up modem connecting to the Internet. Anyone over the age of 20 knows exactly what sound I'm talking about. It's a head turner if my phone goes off in public. My text alert is "Mr. Scream" from the fictional Handsome Dan radio show in Wayne's World 2. Makes me laugh every time.