10 Questions with ... Jill Strada
June 3, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started as an intern at WJHM/Orlando, where I worked my way up in the promotion and programming departments. I moved to Cox Media's start-up station, WPYO (95.3 Party) in 1999 as the Marketing & Promotion Dir. In 2004, I flipped the station to Power 95.3 as the acting PD. I later earned my PD stripes with WPYO, taking the station to #1 before heading to New York to work as APD/MD at WQHT (HOT 97). In 2009, in addition to being the APD/MD of HOT 97, I became the PD of Emmis sister WRKS (98.7 KISS-FM). In 2011, I moved to Miami to program WPOW (POWER 96) and in February 2013, I moved to Boston to start up Greater Media's WBQT (HOT 96.9). Now I'm the Dir./Branding & Programming for Cox Media Group's WFLC (HITS 97-3)!
1) How would you describe your first radio gig?
Life changing. I started as a college intern at WJHM/Orlando, and at the time I was undecided on my major. After my internship ended, I knew that radio was in my blood. I was hired in the promotions department, expanded into an on-air personality, and eventually into programming.
2) How would you describe the radio landscape in your market?
The Miami market is very competitive. The ethnic diversity of the market is reflected on the radio dial. Listeners have multiple choices of Top 40, Urban and AC stations, as well as Country, Sports and Spanish-language radio alternatives.
3) What makes your station unique? How would you compare it to other stations you've worked at?
WFLC is a new start-up station with a tremendous amount of potential and upside that has been created to fill a gap in the Miami market. I've worked with Cox Media Group in Orlando to start up WPYO back in 1999. When I left to go to New York in 2007 to work at WQHT (HOT 97), I left WPYO with a #1 ranking P18-34. I've just now left Greater Media's WBQT (HOT 96.9)/Boston, where I was a part of a very successful start-up, to come to Miami. I love being in an underdog battle. I thrive in it! And I don't stop until we win! Coming back home to the Cox Media Group, with many of the people who were a part of WPYO's launch in Orlando, is in itself unique.
4) Are you wearing more "hats" than you have in the past?
No, the job of a programmer has just evolved over the years. We no longer just play songs, write great imaging and plan cool promotions. We constantly analyze areas of opportunity to increase our PPM ratings, strategize ways to maximize our brand potential through all of the station's media platforms and collaborate with our sales teams to increase the company's revenue share in the market. But most importantly, we lead, we coach and we mentor. Nobody can take a station to #1 by themselves. It's a team effort ... and I'm only as good as my team.
5) What is your favorite part of the job?
Balancing the art and science of radio.
6) What is the most challenging part of the job?
Patience .... and knowing that success will not come overnight, especially with a start-up. But success will come!!
7) What's one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
I'm all about making sure there's good energy around me, so I buy sage and cleanse my home and work space. My staff in Miami doesn't know it yet, but we're going to sage the studio soon!
8) What is it about our industry that keeps you wanting to do it for a living?
The connection to the listeners. Music evokes emotion and it brings people together.
9) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
People might not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.
10) What would you like to do to save radio from its "dying-industry" image?
Fire everyone who believes in that image, and hire leaders and innovators who embrace change and understand the importance of constant reinvention.
Which character on a current TV series most reflects your personality?
Scandal's Olivia Pope. She gets the job done by any means necessary ... and she looks great doing it!