10 Questions with ... DJ Skee
May 5, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
DJ Skee is chairman of the digital media agency SKEEMatic, which represents brands including Google and AT&T. He also runs Skee.TV, which airs in hundreds of venues and retail locations, and is debuting on Fuse, Thursday nights at 10:30pm. And he launched Dash Radio, which streams online. One of the most influential figures in today's entertainment business, DJ Skee has made his mark not only as a DJ, but as an artist, producer, television host, radio personality (KIIS, SiriusXM), executive, philanthropist and entrepreneur. He is responsible for breaking Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Lorde and Kendrick Lamar on the radio. Skee was named to Billboard Magazine's "30 Most Influential Under 30 Years Old" in 2010 and received an honorable mention in Forbes Magazine's "30 Under 30" in 2011.
1) How would you describe your first radio gig?
4-6a shift on a community station in Minneapolis where they didn't even have turntables, because people kept stealing them ... just what you'd imagine for a first gig at 16!
2) What media personalities (radio and other) inspired you when you were growing up?
Listening-wise, everyone from Rick Dees to Julio G and many more. Personally, Stretch Armstrong really was the first to bring me inside a major studio and show me the ropes.
3) What were the main factors that led to your decision to move on from terrestrial radio and form Dash Radio?
It's fairly obvious that broadcast is the next industry ripe for disruption. As the medium changes from analog to digital, I don't think any of the incumbents are in a strong or strategic position to take advantage of this change, and studies show listeners are overwhelmingly dissatisfied with today's product due to the commercials and lack of variety. We want to bring the excitement and magic feeling back to the medium and do it in a way where everyone wins -- listeners, DJs, artists, partners, brands, and us.
4) Dash Radio is available for free. It's also commercial-free. What's the business model?
We don't feel the traditional model of 15 minutes of commercials per hour works in the digital space or with millennials. Not only do they tune out for them (not to mention have a ton of other options and things to do), they often get angry and upset at the provider and brands. It's a lose/lose for everyone. We have a few different integrated ways to monetize in a scenario where everyone wins and benefits using the power of data we are able to get because the product is digital. No more small survey sizes and guesses ... it is live one-to-one data.
5) Talk about SKEE TV and how it differs from other music programming.
We saw a void in an old medium where a true music show like SKEE TV didn't exist. We aren't reinventing the wheel with what has made us successful and given us over a billion views online. We are just presenting it in a new format with bigger budgets, stages, artists and segments to a huge audience on Fuse.
6) How will SKEE TV on Fuse differ from the long-form SKEE TV programming that's seen in many businesses?
It really is a step up in every way. We now have a lot more that we can do from a production standpoint and we have an hour of content to fill every week so we are shooting even more than ever. We also built an entirely new stage and set on Sunset & Vine for the main portion of the show, and it looks amazing.
7) Are great entrepreneurs born or developed? How did you become one?
I don't know that answer, but for me personally it was something I naturally was even as a kid. From selling baseball cards to figuring out ways to make businesses, being an entrepreneur has always been something I naturally gravitated towards. Along the way I have tried to learn as much as I could from others as there is no way I would be here without that knowledge and experience, so it definitely has to be developed, but I had that overall drive early on.
8) What advice would you offer to others who want to step out and do their own thing?
Just do it! If you're serious, go for it. Obviously do it strategically and plan it out, but so many people seem to get caught up in thinking too much and waiting for things to be perfect (which they never will be) than to actually step out and just do it.
9) What are some of the products that you've been involved with promoting, and which campaign would you say that you're most proud of?
My first corporate client was T-Mobile with the Sidekick when that launched over a decade ago. Since then I've worked with everyone from Beats By Dre at its launch to Nike and Google and many more. Tough to say, but the Sidekick was my pet project and what we did in the market was amazing -- building a product no one knew about to taking over as the coolest and first true smartphone for the non-business community -- so I'd probably choose that.
10) What's next for DJ Skee? Not that you don't already have plenty on your plate, but what do you have up your sleeve?
Working with our incredible team to make Dash Radio the biggest broadcaster of the digital era and pushing the boundaries with SKEE TV to make it the best music and cultural show and channel in the world!
What's one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
I've never had a drink or done any drugs.