10 Questions with ... Julian On The Radio
February 16, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Facebook: Julian On The Radio IG: julianontheradio Snapchat: julianisaninja @julianondaradio
I'm originally from Washington, D.C., and started off at Bonneville's Z104 in promotions for a few years. After a few years I went into Sales and became an AE and soon realized that wasn't for me, so I went back into promotions, and at the same time began to assist evening personality Matthew Blades with pretty much anything and everything. Eventually, I worked my way up to part-time board-opping and on-air for the Z. Short full-time stints in Harrisonburg, VA, and West Virginia eventually led me back to D.C. for part-time work at HOT 995 under Jeff Wyatt. At that same time, I was also driving back and forth doing a lot of part-time/fill-in for Z104, in Norfolk/VA Beach. It was a three-and-a-half-hour drive each way, but doing this allowed me to be on-air a solid amount of days per week between both stations. I did this for over a year and then my first BIG break came in the form of Jeff promoting me to nights at HOT 995 in my hometown of Washington, D.C. After four years in nights, I moved to Chicago for nights at B96 under Todd Cavanah and Erik Bradley. I handled evenings for close to four years, then Todd gave me the opportunity of a lifetime in co-hosting mornings on B96. Fast forward four-and-a-half years, I moved to Phoenix for afternoon drive at KZZP-1047 Kiss-FM for Steve Geofferies and Mat Mitchell. After two-and-a-half years I got a call from Mark Adams at Wild 949 in San Francisco about afternoon drive and BOOM ... here we are!
1) How would you describe your first radio gig?
My first radio gig was actually part-time at Z104 in the Nation's Capitol. But, my first full-time job was at WQPO (Q10)/Harrisonburg, VA (about 90 minutes from D.C.). It was so exciting for me doing full-time nights. I remember trying a lot of different bits, and failing quite often, LOL. But, with that failure I learned how to edit better, along with finding who I am more on-air. I've always been super-interactive and I remember capturing the attention of my audience in that market pretty quickly.
2) What led you to a career in radio?
It was never planned. I found it by accident when I interned for Z104 in the Nation's Capitol. Before that, I had interned for a TV station along with another radio station in the market. At that time, the staff at Z104 was so much fun and so embracing, it really made me fall in love with the business. I never said, "I'm interning because I want to do radio." My dream was to actually be a VJ on MTV, but I never actually made moves to make that happen. That's my bad. I was in college, and had to fill some credits and that's basically how it happened.
3) How would you describe the radio landscape in your market?
Oh man, this market without question is one of the most competitive situations I've ever been in. We have not one but two direct Mainstream Top 40 competitors, our Rhythmic sister station KMEL, along with another Top 40/Rhythmic in San Jose, throwback Hip-Hop, two very contemporary Hot ACs, and a host of other stations that play Pop contemporary music in some form or another that figure into the equation. There are five major operators in the market that all have a full cluster of radio stations, in addition to a number of smaller companies. There's actually more stations in the bay than either N.Y.C. or L.A.
4) What makes your station unique? How would you compare it to other stations you've worked at?
Well, for one, our PD Mark Adams is like no other PD I have ever worked for. He reminds me of Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society. He truly encourages talent to shine and "try things we haven't done before." Posting a phoner and technical things that we might be fixated on as "radio heads" aren't his biggest concern. It's making us re-think our approach to things, and being more aware of useful tidbits that we or others might go through every day that we can then utilize to build an emotional connection with the audience.
By the way, he is not only a great PD, but a coach! When I say that, I mean he's doing the things that morning show coaches get paid to do! Improving and helping talent with everything from cultivating ideas to critiquing and helping plan out a show the right way are just a few things. Our leadership -- from Katie Wilcox to Don Parker -- are all integral in what makes our station, and building, unique. They truly care about every one of their employees. I feel and see it. We break music and play things others may not even touch or be aware of! The Bay is truly a melting pot of culture and our air staff reflects that in every way imaginable without a doubt. Listen to our imaging and flow between the music. Dave Kampel and Travis Loughran are responsible for that, and it's awesome!
5) What is one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
Good one! Well, it's probably no shocker that I have a serious problem with collecting sneakers. So, let's go with I used to be a pretty competitive tennis player back in the day. I probably could have played competitively in college if I would have pursued it, but I think eventually my 5'5 stature, and two-handed forehand would have been an issue.
6) Who is your favorite air personality not on your air-staff and why do you like them?
Without a doubt, Big Boy is the best interviewer I have ever heard, period. I don't even mean in his format ... that dude kills it with anyone. I dig the fact that every time I watch his stuff, it's silly, goofy, and truly fun. It isn't forced like I hear in some shows. Big Boy has that relationship, and just knows how to craft his words where he can ask any artist anything and it comes off lighthearted. He truly is incredible.
7) Who would be a "dream guest" to have on your show?
Hands down, Eminem! I don't really get that excited about any artist, but I can definitely relate to him on so many levels. His lyrics and his story are as authentic as it gets. Sidenote, I heard he has a Starbucks with his own Barista inside his crib. That might be my first question :)
8) Who were your mentors? Who would you say has influenced your career he most?
I can't really hone in on one because I've taken away things from every manager I've worked for. Jeff Wyatt gave me my first major-market break at HOT 995 and really allowed me to take chances, and not be afraid to fail. Most PDs won't even let you try things unless they're within that box. Jeff has one creative mind. I credit Todd Cavanah and EB at B96 as well for similar reasons. Todd entrusted us to swing for the fences but use good sense. Talking to them is like talking to your boys. It's just super-casual and easy. I'm also blessed to have worked for Mat Mitchell and Steve Geofferies in Phoenix ... really great people who taught me patience and teamwork. Mathew Blades and Mike Klein have always been there for me from my intern days. I am thankful to now to be working with Mark Adams, who is probably the most insightful and strategic PD I have worked for. He really gets it and he's a genius! No he really is ... do your homework! :)
9) Do you have a favorite hobby outside of radio?
If you call collecting and trading sneakers a hobby, then that would be one of them! It's a serious addiction of mine and I am reminded why I am single talking about this.
10) What is one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
As cliché as it sounds, treat everyone with respect. I have always been this way. I actually relate to the street teamer and the janitor more than anyone else. I hang out with both these cats in real life here in the Bay. I'm fiercely loyal, which is why I appreciate and seem to gravitate to the individual just trying to get ahead. This is probably because I see myself in them. Treat everyone the same. No one is above the other regardless of their position.
What character on a TV series most reflects your personality?
Kramer from Seinfeld, for sure. Quirky as hell, and always up to something :)
What's the biggest gaffe you've made on-air?
I'm not sure how big a gaffe it was, but it was for sure funny to me. Here in the Bay my name is now Julian Lee, to paint my ethnicity to the audience, and I said Jason Lee on-air once LOL. Jason Lee was a skateboarder back in the day and also currently an actor. I think I was reminiscing back to my skater days.