10 Questions with ... Nathan Graham
July 1, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started at KMXV in Kansas City as an intern, then board op, then on-air overnights and weekends. After three years of working with one of the most talented staffs in the country, I moved on to my first night gig at KSPW in Springfield, MO!
1) How would you describe your first radio gig?
Life changing! My first radio gig was literally starting from the bottom, an intern, and just working my butt off so that I would stand out above the rest. Once I was hired part-time just to run the board and drive the station vehicle, I knew I could keep working hard and eventually I'd be on the air. That's exactly what happened. I fell hard in love with radio and couldn't imagine doing anything else.
2) What led you to a career in radio?
College radio. One day I found myself on a late-night R&B show called "Love After Dark." I played the role of a scrawny white guy playing Jodeci songs very well. At times I despised college radio because of the teaching methods, but it helped me get my foot in the door at a real station, so I'm thankful.
3) What makes your station unique? How would you compare it to other stations you've worked at?
We are live from 5a to 2a. I'm so lucky to work for a PD, Natalie Randall, who truly believes we should be live all day. It does make a difference. You can call, tweet, Facebook anyone on our staff and we'll be there to respond. Unfortunately, as great as some of the syndicated guys are, they aren't there to provide a local heartbeat for their stations. This has been the case at both stations I've worked at.
4) Are you wearing more "hats" than you have in the past?
I'm so new to the industry that I never got to see the days where somebody worked a four-hour air shift and hit the door. I've always been doing many jobs. Right now its doing promotions, the night show, helping with music and occasional janitor.
5) What are you doing social media-wise?
I'm on my personal Twitter and Instagram ALL DAY (@TheNathanGraham) and using our station's Facebook page to connect with our listeners. Our Facebook page does really well in this market; 30,000 likes in a market this size is outstanding! Live-tweeting popular shows is really my time to shine on social media. I feel like it's me and everyone on Twitter sitting in the living room watching together.
6) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
Dave-O at KMXV/Kansas City. I may be a little biased because he is my best friend and has taught me A LOT, but I think he is one of the best pure talents in radio. He is incredibly quick on his feet with his comedy and connects with listeners in an awesome way. He is the exact same person on and off the air. People in Kansas City have embraced the fact that they have a cat lady playing their favorite hits in the afternoon.
7) What music do you listen to when you're not working?
Hip-Hop all day, and also brand new Top 40 music. I like to go into my PD's office and make bets on what songs I think will hit top 10. I'm only right about 30% of the time.
8) What is it about our industry that keeps you wanting to do it for a living?
This is the coolest job in the world. I may have the worst day, but at the end of the day I tell myself, "You spin Katy Perry songs and talk about Justin Bieber getting into trouble for a living. Life could be a whole lot worse."
9) What advice you would give people new to the business?
If this is something that you think would be "kinda cool" to do, or you are only one foot in on wanting to do radio, get out now. It's hard enough to get a job in this industry, and you have to be blindly optimistic and work your tail off for a long time before the right opportunity comes across. I tell everyone who says they want to do radio to keep working hard, be around every single day, volunteer to do anything and don't worry about getting paid. An opportunity will come for someone who works hard enough.
10) What is the current state of the radio "talent pool?"
Thin. I don't know if it's a lack of passion for radio by kids growing up, or lack of money in the industry that turns people off from wanting to get into it. Regardless, we have to find a way to get young people interested in radio again, or the industry will die out.
What's the biggest gaffe you've made on-air?
It was a few weeks ago. I was running a contest and just as I was about to say the request line number, I completely blanked. I just started rattling off random numbers hoping it would end up being the right one. After a five-second brain fart, I remembered it and brutally made fun of myself for forgetting.