10 Questions with ... Nathan Graham
April 28, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 2011-2014 KMXV/Kansas City - intern to overnights
- 2014-2014 KSPW/Springfield, MO - nights
- 2014-Present WXS /Milwaukee - nights
- 2015-Present WZPL/Indianapolis - nights
1) How would you describe the radio landscape in your market?
Ultra-competitive. We have two other Top 40s in the market, an Urban and two Hot ACs, including one in our building. It's super-important for us to make sure we sound better than everyone else, day in and day out. We can't afford to be lazy.
2) What makes your station unique? How would you compare it to other stations you've worked at?
WXSS is the most unique station in the country for many different reasons. We are blessed to have a PD, Brian Kelly, who believes in being live around the clock, including weekends. We don't VT. That's not even in our vocabulary here. The music is completely unique. We are a Top 40 that isn't afraid to take chances on songs or artists nobody has heard of. And Kraig Karson, who does afternoons and imaging, images this station like a monster. It always sounds fresh and hilarious.
3) If you could add one full-time position to your budget right now, what would it be?
Cliché answer, but social media. We post on our Facebook 48 times a day. I know, ridiculous, right? It would be a lot easier if we had someone full-time that could handle this.
4) Who were your mentors? Who would you say has influenced your career the most?
So many so I'll just give quick shout-outs. Ponch, Dave O, Natalie Randall, Tony Lorino, Chase Daniels, Dan Holiday, JR Ammons and of course, Brian Kelly. All have played key roles, but I'd say BK has figured out how to channel all the advice I've ever got into one cohesive thing. Now I feel like I can go to him for anything and he'll know the answer.
5) What is your favorite part of the job?
I put on pants at 4p and go into work. I get the opportunity to work for a couple of the best stations in the country and have a hell of a lot of fun doing it. We can all complain about money, but I'd much rather be doing this than hanging drywall.
6) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
I'll pick two here. Dave O at KMXV in KC. He is hilarious and is always "on." The other is Scotty Davis at FLZ. That guy could make a CD giveaway sound like the biggest thing in the world. He does the "theater of the mind" thing quite well.
7) Do you have a favorite hobby outside of radio?
It used to be gambling, but I got tired of giving my paychecks away. So now it's cooking and golf. Those two things are therapeutic for me.
8) What advice you would give people new to the business?
Work your butt off, no matter how much money you are getting paid. I didn't see a check over $100 until I was two years in. Opportunities come to those who stay patient and work extremely hard. Also, network. I don't think this is stressed enough. I wouldn't have landed either of my last two gigs if I didn't know a guy who knew a guy. Be the guy who knows a guy.
9) What is the current state of the radio 'talent pool'?
There is a generation gap right now. There is a strong young crop of night jocks like Chris Cruise, Elizabethany, Ashley Nickels, Nathan Fast, Shorty, Kristie Kay and MANY others who "get it." They know what they have to do to be successful in this age of radio. My generation doesn't have as many of these "stars" as 10 years ago or so, but I'd like to think that there will be more to come.
10) What would you like to do to save radio from its "dying-industry" image?
If radio dies, it's because it committed suicide. The numbers are there. People still listen to radio. The key is to evolve to keep them around. There are a lot of dinosaur radio jocks who think that people don't want to see you on video, social media, out and about. Those are the people who won't stick around. These days you have to be more than just a four-hour shift. Your life is the show, 24/7.
For someone vacationing in your market, what one thing would you say they "must see?"
All the bars and breweries. If you come to Milwaukee, expect to be drunk most of the trip.