10 Questions with ... Marc Summers
May 28, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Brief, really?!?! I started at a small AM New/Talk that played MOR. Remember that format? I interned with John Summers at BJ105 in Orlando, bounced from small market to smaller market .. .finally landed a PD job at WXMK in Brunswick GA, moved to Huntsville, AL as PD of WZYP, then to Salt Lake to flip KZHT to Top 40, Phoenix to KZZP ... a few years on the beach, a forced sabbatical compliments of the Federal Government, and finally, back in radio at WVVE and WILN in Panama City.
1) What led you to a career in radio?
I grew up outside of Washington DC and at the time there was a three-way Top 40 battle raging with some of the greatest Top 40s of the time. WAVA, Q107 and B106 (WBMW) were fighting for the top spot and I was mesmerized by the imaging, jocks and personality of each station. I would listen and daydream of a chance to do it myself
2) What is your favorite part of the job?
Imaging. I love getting lost behind a computer, putting together promos and sweepers. I get so focused on each piece that hours fly by ... and then the final product, if it's good, gets me so pumped and lets me recapture that feeling I had so long ago, before corporate radio jaded me. It brings me back to feeling the passion and drive I had when I first started.
3) What is the most challenging part of the job?
Finding the time to program two stations, do an air shift, image two stations, manage a staff and still have enough quiet time to just meditate on creative promotions and strategy. By the time the daily "gotta do" gets done, I'm often too beat for the "like to do" part of my job.
4) What's the coolest promotion you've EVER been involved with?
Hanging my morning guy, Dangerboy, from a cherry picker outside the competition's studio window during their show and getting him arrested. Then finding out he would be charged for a sex crime if the other station didn't drop the charges, so we gave out their studio hotline number so listeners could call and beg for mercy so that DB wouldn't have to register as a sex offender.
5) If you could add one full-time position to your budget right now, what would it be?
Imaging person. Yeah, I like to do it, but sometimes it's a chore, and having someone really amazing in that job can make the difference between a great station and an AWESOME station.
6) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
Great radio, with engaging talent, creative fun imaging, and an active promotion team will always win against the boxed, cookie-cutter stations that play it safe.
7) What advice you would give people new to the business?
Don't ... it was hellish for driven, talented people to get a break in the past, but now, with no overnight opening, few small-market live shifts, and the erosion of audience, radio is just a dream for most people starting today.
8) What is the current state of the radio "talent pool"?
We recently had a morning opening at Island 106 and I had more than five major-market, well-known jocks interested in the gig. These guys were incredibly talented and they were having a tough time finding work ... so if you need talent, it's there.
9) What would you like to do to save radio from its "dying-industry" image?
Bring back Jacor. We could have the days of GREAT radio, tailored to the market, with BIGGER-THAN-LIFE talents. Aggressive, take-no-prisoner street warfare. And big fun promotions. The recipe to succeed has never changed. People want CONTENT, and if you give them that, they will stay with the medium.
10) What was your last non-industry job?
Cleaning the showers in the prison dorms.