10 Questions with ... Nikki Reed
May 27, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I helped program and schedule music on my college radio station, WICR/Indianapolis (U Indy); middays on WJAA/Seymour, IN; producer and promotions for WIBC/Indianapolis and Emmis digital properties; morning show host at WRZQ/Columbus, IN; morning traffic rReporter WIBC, WLHK, and WYXB/Indianapolis; afternoon drive and MD on WZPL/Indianapolis..
1) What led you to a career in radio?
I started at the University of Indianapolis on a Theatre scholarship but quickly realized that along with not being that great of an actor, I was a TERRIBLE barista, so I decided to be a TV news anchor. Who knew that TV news frowned so much on dirty comments from the peanut gallery? Luckily, the amazing and talented Scott Uecker (WICR GM & all-around great professor) pulled me aside after a particularly rowdy day I had and told me he was going to "put me in radio" and that was the day my life changed.
2) What are you doing social media-wise?
Twitter and Facebook, yadda yadda but my real joy is my cartoon blog! I draw stupid stick-figure cartoons on Microsoft Paint and it's the highlight of my day. Anyone else's day? Hard to say ... but I'll take whatever views I get! :) (Ed. Note: See a sample below.)
3) What is your favorite part of the job?
I will always feel like the most tedious or hard job in radio is still WAY better than any other job I could have -- and honestly I have fun doing it, no matter what it is. Even when I catch myself grumbling on a bad day, all I have to do is stop and think "hey ... they PAY YOU to play all day ... shut up." It really is so rare to be able to do this and I can't believe I'm lucky enough to be a part of it. Oh ... and the free WZPL orange can cozies.
4) What is the most challenging part of the job?
The social media negativity. Having a negative caller in studio, I still feel like I can set my balls on the table and handle it but when it's written up on a social media site it's harder for me to deal with. What I would REALLY like to do is go find that person and make them tell me to my face that they think my voice is annoying, but it's harder than I thought to get into people's mom's basements. LOL ... honestly though, I always want to handle it with grace and not start more trouble, but carefully choosing my words takes some effort. I'm still amazed at the way people go out of their way to be nasty to strangers online just because they can or because their parents didn't hug them enough. So odd.
5) What's the coolest promotion you've EVER been involved with?
Nikki's Box! (I named it.) We gave away a trip to see One Direction in London and 100 people lined up in the rain to reach their hands into my big, red box and pull out a prize. My mom was THRILLED about that one. ;)
6) What artist would we be surprised to find on your iPod?
Probably all the dirty, scandalous rap I'm desperately trying to learn all the words to so I can feel bad-ass rapping it out loud in my light blue Ford Focus. Big Sean, Slum Village, Tyga, etc. I'm getting pretty good at it! LOL.
7) What's one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
I'm a member of the American Sailing Association and can barely sit on a sailboat without yakking. My dad is a sailboat captain in Michigan and we were all certified when we were younger, but this ginger chick is about as land-loving as they come. There's more barf in Lake Michigan thanks to me than probably anyone else.
8) What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
97.9 WGRD in Grand Rapids, MI! I'm a huge Alternative Rock fan and I grew up on Rick, Scott, & Leslie, Bush, Soundgarden, and all of that ridiculousness. Still love it. :)
9) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
Honesty. On-air, the more real I am the better I feel like I'm connecting to the audience. I love when I can get on the mic and tell a story about my dog, Marbles' giant cement head giving me a black eye and how many people tell me they've had the same experience. It's also been true in taking on the role of MD at WZPL. God bless JR Ammons, our GM, who puts up with the things I say that can never be repeated, but I find the more honest I am about my thoughts on music, rotations, and how things are working, the better we do as a team.
10) What advice you would give people new to the business?
LEARN TO WORK HARD! If I had a nickel for every intern or radio student who had a bunch of talent and zero work ethic, I could buy at least four people Starbucks. You can't be afraid to take whatever freaking job you're offered to get your foot in the door, because even if you don't think it's awesome, it's still better than a "real" job and it could GET you to your dream job. Listen more than you talk, too. Nothing you have to brag about that early on is going to mean squat to the guy who's been in the business 20 years and once touched tongues with Madonna -- silence can be golden in those moments. Stay late, ask too many questions, offer to help, make friends, and show people that you're worthwhile to work with again. I don't give good references for jerks. ;)
What's the biggest gaffe you've made on air?
I found a statistic that the average guy's perfect day included four hours of sex. I TRIED to make a joke along the lines of 'what AVERAGE guy can hold it down for four hours? Nice try, dudes ... in your dreams.' Instead, what I ended up saying on the air was "you show me a group of average guys who can go for four hours and that's MY perfect day".... I basically asked the city of Indianapolis to gangbang me. *Classy...* My boss asked me if I needed security to escort me to my car that night.