10 Questions with ... Jason Knight
November 4, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 2004-2005: Nights on WLTO (HOT 102)/Lexington, KY
- 2005-2006: Afternoons on WYDS (The Party)/Decatur, IL
- 2006-2007: MD/nights on WCIL/Carbondale, IL
- 2007-2008: Production Dir./nights on WQQB (Q96)/Champaign, IL
- 2009-Present at WVAQ/Morgantown, WV
*Voicetrack experience includes: WSTO, WQZK, WABX
1) What led you to a career in radio?
I've always been passionate about music. It was always playing in my home. I taught myself to play. I knew from an early age I wanted to do something with it. There was a point in my youth I realized doing the band thing and being the starving artist wasn't the avenue for me. Being the starving radio personality sounded more appealing. All it took was the first job shadow in high school. The bug is in me!
2) How would you describe the radio landscape in your market?
Morgantown is a really unique college town. There is nothing quite like it. Spend a weekend on a Mountaineer football Saturday and you'll see what I mean! My station has a pulse on WVU, but an emphasis on the year-round residents. My company, WV Radio, operates a majority of the stations. It's a company built by radio people for radio people. We have smart, experienced, programming veterans calling the shots. Loyalty is a big deal here. If management notices that you go above and beyond to help grow the station and company, you'll have a long future. Coming in to just do your show won't cut it here.
3) What makes your station unique? How would you compare it to other stations you've worked at?
Being in the market we are, WVAQ is the most unique Top 40 I've been involved with. It truly is a "diamond in the rough." We do things on our station that make us stand out and our listeners love us for it. Musically we are the go-to Top 40 in the market but there are programming and promotion elements that are very much outside the box. Our local morning show has been syndicated for years from our home studio in Morgantown to our sister stations in WV and Maryland. In my time with VAQ, we have won five Marconi Awards (another nomination this year) and we are multiple-time Top 40 Station of the Year winners at the WV Broadcasters Association annual awards banquet. From the jocks to sales, promotions, interactive and management departments, everyone contributes to the success of WVAQ. It's a great collaboration and it works!
4) Are you wearing more "hats" than you have in the past?
I am ... and at this stage in my career (where I see programming/management in the near future), I am okay with it. I think anyone who doesn't wear more than one hat in this industry won't be very successful. Know what you signed up for. You need to find life outside of radio for the mental health, but care about the product and opportunities or perks it affords you. Learn everything you can. Be everything to your team as you try to be for your audience.
5) "Local local local" has always been radio's mantra. How do you keep your station visible and involved in the community?
There is no other station in Morgantown that is as visible and tied to the community as VAQ. It goes back to what I said about our unique market. Being a college town there is always something going on with the University, but we do our share of charitable events such as Q For Kids Radiothon for the Children's Hospital, Full Service Food Drive-Through, Relay For Life, and most recently ,Color Me Rad 5K. We are at all the major festivals and parades in the area and have great relationships with local schools that we do a lot with such as the Stop The Bullying campaign and Earning For Learning. Having a larger-than-life HD boombox that we broadcast out of ain't too shabby for visibility either!
6) What is your favorite part of the job?
Connecting. Being where the listeners are and if they say I love your show/station and you can level with them ... what is better than that? I also really enjoy my role as APD/MD. Programming has been my goal since I got into radio. I'm at the point in my career where I am ready to lead.
7) What is the most challenging part of the job?
Most recently for me it has been time management. I just bought a house and we're planning a wedding for December (she's suffered this long). Working around my on-air schedule plus station events and owning a mobile DJ biz has been difficult, but it's only temporary. At a certain point in your life you learn to balance work life and family life. My time is now.
8) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
Lacy Neff. I know the question said NOT on your staff and there are so many talents I've listened and looked up to, but Lacy is special. If you don't know his story, search Neffstrong on Facebook or Google. Lacy had to leave VAQ last year due to a medical condition that forced him to get a heart transplant. Five years ago, he took a chance hiring me for nights and from the day we met there was an instant bond. On the air he is witty, charming, energetic, raspy, inviting. You're listening to a friend when you listen to Lacy. PDs say all the time: "Smile when you're on-air, the listeners will feel that." With Lacy, you feel it.
9) What music do you listen to when you're not working?
I like everything but mostly jam bands like Dave Matthews and OAR. I'm also a rocker at heart, so lots of Classic Rock and the Alternative bands I grew up with. I would love to program a Classic Alternative station if there were a niche for it in my market.
10) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
Dropping a Gary Buseyism on ya ... HELP yourself.
- Humble yourself. Know your worth but don't shove it in their face. You're replaceable.
- Engage. Do or say something that will get others to connect. Listen as much as speak.
- Loyalty. Be loyal to those who help your success. Go above and beyond when you can.
- Passion. Be passionate in your work and goals. When it stops being fun, stop doing it.
Which character on a current TV series most reflects your personality?
John Cena: Hustle. Loyalty. Respect. #ProWrestlingNerd