10 Questions with ... Spencer Graves
September 29, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started as a high school intern with Clear Channel/Roanoke, and became an on-air personality two weeks into the internship. I ended up working for all of their stations over six formats. I worked in Harrisonburg with KISS-FM then left traditional radio for the sports industry. I eventually landed a Talk show with WDEL and DBC, which turned into mornings on WSTW.
1) What led you to a career in radio?
I was a kid near Roanoke, VA who loved all things broadcasting. I would commentate baseball games to myself in my room. After a failed HS basketball career, I took over as the PA announcer my junior year. As a senior, I took an internship with 963 WROV in Roanoke. Two weeks later, I was on air, part-time.
2) What makes your station unique? How would you compare it to other stations you've worked at?
We're locally owned but our staff could rival some in major markets. As an example, afternoon host Joe Alan is extremely talented both with his show and imaging. WSTW has been home for me longer than any station I've worked with. I've really grown here and realized so much more about how radio really is the best way to connect communities.
3) What are you doing social media-wise?
Social media is just another platform to increase your brand. However, if you're not active or "mail it in," you shouldn't do it. The point is to be social. It's like having a phone but never using it. I try to engage with everyone and won't block anyone. Why do we block people who have a different opinion? Just so we feel like we've won? You don't win by alienating your potential audience.
4) "Local, local, local" has always been radio's mantra. How do you keep your station visible and involved in the community?
I'm really proud of the #SpreadTheLove campaigns we've launched. It's our version of Pay It Forward. We've bought groceries for unsuspecting people, and launched an anti-bullying campaign after two local kids were beaten up for being handicapped. Our goal is to BE the community, not just a part of it.
5) What is your favorite part of the job?
I love learning people's stories. People are interesting. I'm always shocked at the experiences people have gone through. Also, hearing them laugh with you is simply amazing.
6) What artist would we be surprised to find on your iPod?
My iPod ranges from Frank Sinatra to Tiesto with a lotta Country mixed in. You can't look like Charles Kelley from Lady Antebellum and not love Country.
7) If you could add one full-time position to your budget right now, what would it be?
Creative videographer. So many stations are worried about their social we can't forget how important content is. Fewer and fewer people are going to station websites because most are inundated with the same TMZ content. If you have compelling videos and graphics, you can out-market and out-brand your competition. How we are SEEN is vital to being heard.
8) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
Mornings: Fitz (Seattle). Middays: Lyndsey (WLUP). Afternoons: JJ Kincaid (NYC now AM drive, Denver). Nights: Chris Cruise (KMPS). All are super-relatable, creative and monsters with social media.
9) Who were your mentors? Who would you say has influenced your career the most?
I wouldn't be here without Bruce Reynolds, David Lee Michaels and Buzz Casey. Razz (WXTU), Karson (WBMX) and Chet Buchanan (KLUC) are very good friends. I make it a point to learn from everyone I meet.
10) What is the current state of the radio 'talent pool?'
With people like Dennis Clark, Alan Burns, Tracy Johnson, Steve Reynolds and Joel Raab, just to name a few, the talent is getting better. It's encouraging to see more people resonating with impact personalities.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I'll get back to you when I do.