10 Questions with ... Dave O'Connor "Irish Dave"
July 12, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I began radio at the age of 15 in Ireland as a board op and then moved on-air. I first became PD at the tender age of 22, but my real launch in radio was aged 23 with iRadio in Ireland, where my morning show gathered huge ratings. At the age of 29 I decided I wanted a new challenge and wrote and starred in my own stage comedy show named Paddyland.
I then moved to Thailand for one year before moving to the United States to follow my dream of hosting and programming American airwaves. I am 32 now.
1) What makes your station unique? How would you compare it to other stations you've worked at?
I have never worked at a Top 40 station that has been on-air for as long as this one (30+ years) and it still amazes me the demographic reach of our product. I love it because I feel like I can truly be myself on air and the audience is at the same stage as me in my life -- which feels so comforting -- while still playing today's best music, which keeps every day so fresh.
2) What artist would we be surprised to find on your personal playlist?
2PAC - I absolutely love his lyrics and I am guessing it would surprise people that a small-town innocent Irish boy grew up listening to it.
3) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
Huge fan of Cubby from KTU 103.5 - I walked in off the street one day while on vacation in NYC in my mid-20s and he allowed me sit in on his morning show and I even did a few breaks on air with him. I will never forget the hand he extended to me that day and his warmth only further excited me about moving to this great country someday.
4) Who would be a "dream guest" to have on your show?
I would love to interview George W. Bush or Frank Caliendo as George.
5) Do you have a favorite hobby outside of radio?
I was a Reserve Police Officer in Ireland and love all things law. I currently intern with a Metro Homicide Unit in the city I live in and I love playing a small part in helping to solve crime albeit as an intern. I also love flying planes. Oh, and is Netflix a hobby?
6) What is it about our industry that keeps you wanting to do it for a living?
The connection with the audience is so intimate and real, it's as personal as a conversation can get. Always one-on-one and the relationship can be a meaningful one and that's very unique in media. For people to invite you into their daily lives is such a special honor for me.
7) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
Don't lie on-air. Of course, we all like to exaggerate a little, but overall, be honest. Listeners relate to honesty even if they don't agree with what you are saying. Don't create a persona, just be yourself and you'll be surprised how positively people will react to that. We think we need to be all things to our audience, but actually we only need to be ourselves to succeed.
8) What advice would you give people new to the business?
Don't be afraid to be nice on-air. Nice is becoming cool again. In a world full of negative press, emotions and commentary, it's now trendy to be nice. For some reason, nice is viewed as a bad word, but trust me and give it a try and also, if you ever find your ego getting out of control, rush to the closest ATM and check your balance. That will settle you down. LOL.
9) What is the current state of the radio 'talent pool'?
I think there's a lot of talent on-air, but I just wish program directors would encourage more real talk and honesty on-air. You can still do that within 10 seconds and just remember to talk to people not at them.
10) What would you like to do to save radio from its "dying-industry" image?
I hear commentary like Pandora is taking over radio etc etc.... don't react to this nonsense. If all your radio station gives people is music and sweepers with personalities who don't connect, then maybe the problem isn't Pandora, maybe the problem is you've forgotten what compels people to choose radio in the first place. Inform, entertain and connect. Don't just be a jukebox. We're better than that.
What's the biggest gaffe you've made on-air?
I accidentally told my audience that my best friend's wife was pregnant. I totally forgot that they told me to keep it a secret. Whoops!! In my defense I didn't use his name, but people knew!