10 Questions with ... Tod Tucker
April 8, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started my career in Corpus Christi at the age of 14. My first programming gig was at KZFM/Hot Z95 in Corpus.
On-air stints include: KJ103 and 101.9 The Twister/Oklahoma City, KHYS and KRBE/Houston, and KALC/Denver.
- 2001-2002 PD, KRUF/Shreveport.
- 2002-2010 OM, KHTT and KBEZ/Tulsa.
- 2010-2011 Producer and on-air host, KRMG/Tulsa.
- 2011-2013 PD, WPUP and WGMG/Athens-Greater Atlanta.
- 2013-Present PD, NOW 96.5, and swing for Tyler Media's KOMA, KMGL and KRXO.
1) What led you to a career in radio?
My dad was in radio before I was born, and I caught the bug by teething on a microphone. My parents weren't excited about my career choice, but they did name me Tod Tucker, and spelled Tod with one D. What did they expect?
2) What makes your station unique? How would you compare it to other stations you've worked at?
Taking on a heritage brand like KJ103 with a 125-watt translator, it's been very important for us to find a niche and super-serve it. While you can pick us up just about anywhere in the OKC metro in a car, we are making sure that we focus on generation now, which listens to terrestrial radio online and on apps. We are currently jockless, so we're using our imaging to stay local in the interim. Keeping in mind that today's music consumer picks up new music faster than ever before, I keep my ears to the ground and am not afraid to break a song. I'm happy to let KJ103 play Montell Jordan, while we play the new Austin Mahone, or the Zedd track.
3) What's the coolest promotion you've EVER been involved with?
When I was OM/PD at KHTT in Tulsa, we did "Cheap Gas Summer" for about three years. We offered 1.09 per gallon gas at a select Quik Trip, every Friday all Summer. We had cars lined up for miles, and I came close to being arrested for tying up traffic. Fortunately, a police supervisor walked up and told the officer to leave me alone, and go direct traffic.
4) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
My all-time favorite was Kidd Kraddick. I've never known a radio personality who connected with the audience the way he did. He was best when he was local. Kidd was plugged in to the Dallas/Fort Worth community, and everyone from cradle to the old folks home knew who he was. I'm also a huge fan of Bert Weiss. Some of the most real radio I've heard has come from the Bert Show. I listened often when I was working for Cox Media Group/Greater Atlanta. Bert knows how to relate!
5) What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
WKY/Oklahoma City, KILT/Houston, and, of course, WLS/Chicago.
6) Do you have a favorite hobby outside of radio?
I have always wanted to have a room dedicated to model railroading. I've been a huge railroad fan since before I could talk. Our Chief Engineer in Tulsa, Richard Hardy, and I used to go train spotting as often as possible. Claremore, OK is the best place to watch trains.
7) What music do you listen to when you're not working?
Everything from Elton John to Garth Brooks to '90s Alternative to Loretta Lynn.
8) What advice you would give people new to the business?
Understand that nothing comes to you without hard work. If you want it, work for it. In the age of consolidation, there is no room for C and D talent. Learn to wear as many hats as you can, and be able to do any shift, and any format.
9) What is the current state of the radio 'talent pool?'
Sadly, with the age of voicetracking and syndication, there aren't a lot of places to groom new talent. I was blessed in Tulsa to be able to bring people in, coach them, and watch each of them grow their careers. Radio has got to stop relying on a handful of talent who tracks multiple markets, and start getting back to having talent who lives, eats, breathes, and sleeps where their listeners are.
10) What would you like to do to save radio from its "dying-industry" image?
In spite of radio's best efforts to run them away, baby boomers to millennials still have passion for radio. If they just wanted music, they'd use Pandora or Spotify, but they still want the local interaction between the hits. Stations that fill those needs will succeed.
What's the best sweeper/liner you've ever heard?
It may not be the best sweeper I've ever heard, but it ranks toward the top, and that's KHKS/Dallas' "Texas ya'll" on their top of the hour ID. That's what I call relatable! Patrick Davis hit a home run with that one!