10 Questions with ... Joel Murphy "Java Joel"
June 25, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 88.9 WNYO/Oswego, NY - SUNY Oswego 1992-1993
- 99 Hits FM WSNN-FM/Potsdam, NY - nights/middays - 1994-1995
- Mix 96/WVNC Canton, NY - PD/mornings - 1995-1997
- Hot 1079/WWHT Syracuse, NY - afternoons - 1997-1999
- 98PXY/WPXY Rochester NY - nights - 1999-2001
- 103-5 Kiss FM/WKSC/Chicago - nights - 2001-2005
- 94-7 Hits FM/Montreal - afternoons - 2006-present
- 96-5 Kiss FM/WAKS/ Cleveland - 2006 - present
At one time or another also heard on the following - Kiss 102/Utica-Rome NY, T-93FM/Watertown, NY; Kiss 107/Rochester, NY; Kiss FMs in Lousiville, Cincy, Pittsburgh, Z100/Portland, Y100/Miami, Kiss FM/Tulsa, Kiss FM/Jacksonville Florida, Y103-9/Crystal Lake IL, WXLC/Waukegan, Nine FM/Chicago, Kiss XM/XM Satellite Radio.
1) How would you describe your first radio gig?
Part-time duties at 99 Hits FM in Potsdam NY. Initially, I was the kid that board-opped Clarkson University Golden Knights hockey games and ran Dick Bartley's American Gold Sundays at noon. It was sort of a full-service Hot AC at the time - ABC news at the top of every hour. We did the "Birthday & Anniversary Club," where we'd send out birthday and anniversary wishes. I did nights, then eventually middays. They had me reading local obituaries during their lunch hour local news block. Even though it was an FM signal, they turned off the transmitter at midnight every night. Liner cards, CDs, carts, vinyl ... we had the WNBC "There's only one place" jingle package - the one Howard Stern used in 1985! (Only problem was we were using it in 1994. Sounded a wee bit dated by then.) But I had fun there. It was exciting being on the air near my hometown.
2) What artist would we be surprised to find on your iPod?
Most of my friends know, I'm a huge '80s fan. That's no big secret. But (looking thru my iPod now) - honestly, it's mostly vintage unscoped airchecks from the '60s, '70s, '80s and ' 90s. As far as surprising artists go - ambient pioneer, Brian Eno - dub reggae by Burning Spear - Detroit electro by Juan Atkins - Frank Zappa - late 70s/early 80s industrial artist Throbbing Gristle - '80s alt like Husker Du and the Minutemen, plus Nick Drake, Public Enemy, and a TON of Hall & Oates, Todd Rundgren, ELO, the Beatles and Prince. Those are probably my top 5 all-time artists right there.
3) What's one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
I'm a daddy! My wife, Rachele and I welcomed little Charles Donald Murphy into the world on January 11th. He is the single best decision I've made in life.
4) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
Howard Stern. Anyone who has ever talked honestly on the air about anything owes him a great deal. I also love Opie & Anthony (and lil' Jimmy Norton) - a really smart show that doesn't get the credit they deserve. As far as Top 40 goes, I mean you gotta give it to Kane at Hot in D.C. and JJ Kincaid at Z100 - both incredibly dynamic, funny and (something I'm not even close to mastering) LIKABLE. Mikey & Big Bob on Kiss in Pittsburgh is the most forward-thinking Top 40 morning show in America. And I'm a massive Tic Tak fan. Just the list of careers that guy has started is mind-blowing. That's a guy who gets the whole "it's what happens BETWEEN the records" thing. I just can't keep track of his career, he moves around so damn much.
5) What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
Growing up in far upstate NY, I was able to pick up stations from Montreal and Ottawa. I'd listen to morning man Terry Dimonte on Montreal's legendary Rock station, CHOM-FM. Back in the day, CHEZ 106 in Ottawa was doing this really smartly programmed AOR/Triple A-type format - everything from Steve Earle to John Hiatt to Elvis Costello to Zeppelin. I listened to them a LOT. Nowadays they're your basic corporate "Classic Rock" station. One of my most listened-to stations was actually a French station out of Montreal - CKMF (currently NRJ). In the early to mid-'80s they were doing French/Top 40/Rhythmic. They played a lot of 12" mixes and did these things called "Super Mixes," which were pretty mind-blowing at the time. Couldn't understand what the hell the jocks were saying, but I loved 'em.
6) Looking back, which years hold the best musical memories for you and who were your favorite acts at that time?
Definitely 1981-1984. That was when I was buying my first records and seeing my first concerts and listening to a TON of radio. I just wish I had recorded more (and taken care of the tapes!). My fave acts at the time were Hall & Oates, Duran Duran, Prince and Grandmaster Flash. By 1985, I had a ton of hip-hop posters on my wall - Melle Mel, Whodini, Fat Boys, Run DMC. None of my friends had any idea who these people were. They were all into Twisted Sister, Ratt and Motley Crue. I was a weird kid.
7) Do you have a favorite hobby outside of radio?
Who has time for a hobby?
8) What music do you listen to when you're not working?
When I'm in the car and not listening to the radio, I'm listening to ... vintage airchecks. Like, on the weekends, when my wife (and baby) and I are out doing errands, I subject her to unscoped airchecks. Recently I've been diggin' on early '80s KFRC, when they were really rhythmic - O'Bryan, Rick James, Dazz Band. Jesus. They had Jack Armstong AND Bill Lee - on the same station?!? WCAU/Philadelphia is probably my all-time favorite Top 40. Terry Young's the best night jock in the history of Top 40 radio. And KKHR/Los Angeles - especially Jack Armstrong. And WBBM-FM 1982-1984. I could go on, but I won't.
9) What is the current state of the radio 'talent pool'?
Honestly ... it kinda sucks. Problem is, a lot of kids these days (boy, do I sound old) have this entitlement thing going on; they go to broadcasting school and immediately expect a full-time, highly-paid radio job NOW. They don't want to move to Bumblefart, ID, make crap money and work their way up. That's how you learn. That's how you get better. BUT ... where do they go? With even the small-markets automating their overnights and syndicating their weekends, where can these kids who are passionate about radio go and hone their craft? It's something the businessmen running this biz need to figure out -- and quick. We need to be better at grooming talent. Yes, it takes money. But it's not going to put us out of business.
10) What would you like to do to save radio from its "dying-industry" image?
You hear a lot of these radio higher-ups saying that we need to "think outside the box" and "take risks." Quite frankly ... they're blowing smoke. Because the moment you "think outside the box" and "take a risk," you become a liability. And, in the corporate world, "liabilities" are no good. Nobody wants to talk about this. They put on rose-colored glasses, are completely unrealistic and say "oh everything's fineEe have researched and focus-grouped ourselves into a corner. We've allowed callout, Mscores and the like to totally dictate how our radio stations sound. Those are great tools, but when you start letting them run the radio station - that's a problem. We've decided that "low-risk" is the way to go. Well, that's not very exciting. Everyone is so shaking-in-their-boots scared. Who can blame them? It's like we're all in the mob. We don't know when we're going to get that tap on the shoulder. So, everyone stays under the radar and rather than "shake it up," we keep it contained, boring and formulaic. Part of me thinks that we need to blow-up the entire model and start over again. We need to start promoting individuality in our personalities AND in our radio stations. Radio resonates with listeners when it has a soul. Radio sounds best when it has blood running through it. The big boys need to start recognizing this again. Enough pontificating. It's time to act.
What's the best sweeper/liner you've ever heard?
As read by the great Mark Driscoll circa 1993 - "Kiss 98.5 is W-K-S-E Niagara Falls-Buffalo... Gee, would someone turn that thing off? It makes me wanna pee!"