10 Questions with ... Nina Blanco
August 25, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Started as an intern in a small market, northwest of Chicago; moved to nights in Southern Illinois, worked part-time at an Alternative station in Missouri, moved to nights for new Top 40 station in MO, transitioning to mornings on same Top 40 station.
1) How would you describe your first radio gig?
Lots of free work. At 18, I interned as much as I could for a station that gave me a chance. When my counselor said I could no longer intern, they offered me my first real part-time job in radio.
2) What led you to a career in radio?
Completely accidental. My serving job was on hiatus so I was looking for work. My mom suggested TV or radio. I told her she was crazy. She went for morning coffee where a station coincidently was broadcasting. Asked if they were hiring, then I became an intern and fell in love. THANKS, MOM!
3) How would you describe the radio landscape in your market?
Currently very competitive. We launched a new station right from under everyone and we are competing with stations that have been here for forever. NOW 96.3 is taking over STL and it's exciting!
4) What makes your station unique? How would you compare it to other stations you've worked at?
I have never been a part of a newly launched station. And we did it in such an unexpected way that every day is a milestone and getting our monthly numbers gets better and better each time. This is also my first time being in a market in the top 100, let alone top 25! Everything is new and sparkly. I am in heaven!
5) Are you wearing more "hats" than you have in the past?
I am finally able to take a small break on working. At one point I was working 2 jobs, had an internship, went to school full time and helped my mom with babysitting. I don't ever want to do that again. But it taught me a lot so I'm glad it happened.
6) What are you doing social media-wise?
Social media is so important. I am all over it. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are my main outlets. I like to connect ... and my posts are pretty relatable.
7) "Local, local, local" has always been radio's mantra. How do you keep your station visible and involved in the community?
Local is exactly what this new station is all about. Our competitors in this town are mainly syndicated shows from all over. Which is okay SOMETIMES, but not for every time slot. We also do a lot of video shoots at local recognizable places around St. Louis and we talk about what's happening around town daily.
8) What artist would we be surprised to find on your iPod?
Almost everything on there is surprising. I like a VARIETY of music. I'm talking everything from Lady Gaga to Frank Sinatra to Marilyn Manson!
9) What's one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
I'm seen as the life of the party, but really I am a hermit crab and love staying in just as much as I do going out.
10) Who were your mentors? Who would you say has influenced your career the most?
Joe Cicero at Star 105.5 in the Northwest suburbs in Chicago was the first person to really take the time to show me the ropes. I came in at 4a for his morning show and he put me through "Board op bootcamp" and let me run the board and taught me so much. To this day I still keep in mind the things he has taught me.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a pop star. I secretly loved attention and was always trying to make people laugh ... only problem was I was a pretty shy kid and I have a terrible singing voice. Took me a while to bust out of my shell, and learn my talking voice is much better than my singing voice.