10 Questions with ... Julian On The Radio
August 27, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Web :: www.julianontheradio.com
Lets' see. I began as an intern at WWZZ (Top 40) in Washington, D.C. Thru the course of a buncha years I worked my way up to Promotions Assistant, Account Executive and part-time board op, which led to part-time on the air. I eventually began working full-time in Harrisonburg, VA at WQPO, WVSR/Charleston, then WNVZ/Norfolk-VA Beach. This led me to landing the night show full-time at WITH/Washington, D.C., after working part-time for the great Jeff Wyatt for a year. He gave a kid a shot in #7 who has undeniable hunger and passion but didn't have the "three to five years of major-market experience" most employers ask for. We made some noise in the next four years in the marketplace. In 2006, I went to Chicago to handle nights for the great Erik Bradley and Todd Cavanah at legendary B96. In 2009, I was upgraded to morning host for B96, which leads me to the present here at heritage KZZP/Phoenix for afternoons. I'm also voicetracking for WKSC/Chicago on a part-time basis.
1) How would you describe your first radio gig?
Well, I actually got to crack the mic in my hometown of Washington, DC at WWZZ! What a special group of people that was ... and station. I will never forget those times. I worked in promotions for two-plus years, I became an AE, and eventually I interned for Mathew Blades, who was the motivating force (along with the homie Mike Klein), to make this my career. I loved it! I wouldn't have traded it for anything. I gave up a lot of personal relationships to be at the station 24/7. But, you know what? It paid off. I got to work part-time on-air in market #7 as my first on-air gig. Thanks to the great people in that building, such as Mike Edwards, Sean Sellers, Mathew Blades, Margaret Verghese and Melissa Hawes.
2) How would you describe the radio landscape in your market?
Well, I haven't been here for that long, but the research I have done ... one word: oversaturated??! We have four Top 40 brands in ONE market. This doesn't include our Hot AC, Rock and Spanish stations, among others. I come from Chicago, and that was a tough market, but as far as Top 40 battles are concerned it was really just us (B96), and now sister WKSC (KISS FM) that went head to head.
3) What makes your station unique? How would you compare it to other stations you've worked at?
Our station takes pride in providing the very best content on-air/online and in the digital space. A lot of people "talk it." We do it. It comes from great managers and leadership. Shouts to Steve Geoffries, Mat Mitchell and Aaron Taylor for spearheading that!
Everyone takes pride in their roles and we all work as a TEAM. My first day at KZZP, I was already sitting in a meeting involving promotions/programming. Synergy and communication ... yeaah, we got that! Whether it's local, or a national pop culture story, we are on point. As far as what makes us "unique," one thing is that my managers Steve Geoffries and Mat Mitchell allow us to be the very best we can be. I know that's a very general statement but they really do, which is rare in the radio landscape, because people are scared to take risks. With PPM a lot of people go the "easy route." "Shut up and play the music." That "easy route" isn't the answer. It's a band-aid is what it is. I truly believe that. Now, this isn't a talk show outside of AM drive, BUT it is still personality-injected programming surrounded by HIT MUSIC.
4. What are you doing social media-wise?
Of course, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and YouTube are the main hits for us. We make it a point to cover anything from what's going on, pop culture-wise, to local ish, and just random acts of funny. Carina, our promotions queen, rocks! She's always point, and has weekly calls with Paige from CPR on ideas promotionally, utilizing social media and the like. Example: With the Twinkie re-releasing July 15th, we pitted three people from three different stations in a Twinkie eating contest and caught it on video.
Locally, it's simple stuff like a "Haboob," a huge dust cloud that appeared last week. We got that on Instagram, of course. Our digital team are all in the demo, and are constantly using our social media to constantly stay in touch with the Kiss listener. Follow US! :) @KISSFMPHOENIX
5. What is your favorite part of the job?
Of course, being on the air! I love being playful and genuinely getting a reaction out of people. That's what it's about, right? To inform but also ENTERTAIN! Getting to know people on a name-by-name basis. Having people call unsolicited and tell you how they interpreted what they just heard is priceless to me. Building that emotional connection is also equally as rewarding. Another thing I may add is that getting acclimated to voicetracking after seven-plus years has been pretty enjoyable. I actually get excited to listen back to the breaks created.
6) What's one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
People who don't know me would be surprised to know that I'm a sucker for '90s classic movies. When I say that I mean "Brat Pack" stuff like 16 Candles, Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink and Stand By Me. I got all of them on DVD including Can't Hardly Wait, 10 Things I Hate About You, Dirty Dancing and Clueless. Need I say more? Yea, go ahead and take my MAN card away. This is who I am ... LOL!
7) What artist would we be surprised to find on your iPod?
You'd be surprised to know I don't actually have a lot of "Mainstream radio-friendly artists" on my playlist. If it was just ONE artist, I'd have to say I listen to Chance the Rapper all day. See, I'm from Washington, D.C., but after being in Chicago for awhile the music scene is so damn vibrant. We have artists that are so talented. I'd call him "artistic rap." This isn't Gucci, or Chief Keef type music. He's like 20 from Chicago and is incredible. He's on tour with Mac Miller, then Macklemore, and then he headlines his own tour in 2014. YouTube him. Thank me later.
8) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
I've said Kane in the past so if I'm gonna change it up, I will say this time around Charlemagne from the Breakfast Club on Power 105 in NYC. I watch a lot of their interviews and dude is raw, blunt, genuine and knowledgeable about his craft. He is also funny in a silly way. In a lotta ways, he reminds me of myself personality-wise, except I can't be that raw in the format I'm in. Aside from that, you can hear it. His personality is so different, it takes "consistency" and throws it off the tracks. He adds that conflict and that's a GREAT thing. You can have conflict without it coming across that serious and I'm glad a guy like that is in this business.
9) Do you have a favorite hobby outside of radio?
I'm not sure if you could call it a hobby or an obsession. But, I'm a huge sneaker collector. My Mom was a fashion designer in her younger years, so I definitely got her genes. Totally diggin' the fashion thing and what's "current" and what's not. Everything from the "slouchy fitted pants" to Givenchy, and this Pyrex craze are things that I may follow and keep myself aware of. That doesn't mean I rock it, but I am very aware of where the kids on the come up are headed in the fashion world. I feel like kicks are the first thing people see, and the first thing I look at which gives an opportunity to really show the personality of a person. So if you're rockin' brown orthopedic shoes ..."No Comment." :)
10) What would you like to do to save radio from its "dying-industry" image?
I'd love to give us "personalities" the ability to do just that. Unfortunately, I just don't think a lot of managers entrust or believe that their talent has something worthy to say. So instead just "shut up and play the music" because it wins, right? Well, that doesn't really help the image that radio has. Most people think we play the same 10 songs an hour, and can't even name much of what the jock does or says outside of morning drive. I definitely don't have all the answers, but I would love to invigorate and put that passion behind us personalities again. When I say that, I don't mean "talk just to talk." There's gotta be a balance. And, right now it seems like it's at least 90% music, 10% everything else. As the digital space advances and becomes even an more widely used platform, I'd love to build content that touches all walks of life to create those real connections.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I always dreamt of being an MTV VJ. I remember watching peeps like Martha Quinn, Kurt Loder, and even more current, Sway. I guess MTV doesn't like short Asians :)