10 Questions with ... Jimmy Steal
August 23, 2011
1. What got you interested in Radio?
Both my love of music and the ability to connect (entertain and inform) more people in minutes than I would otherwise have had a chance to in a lifetime was pretty alluring.
2. You came to Power 106 from a Modern AC in Dallas. Were you surprised to get the call to program a Hip Hop station?
Actually I was Operations Director for both rock KEGL and Modern AC KDMX and I had just taken KDMX to the highest 25-54 numbers in the history of that frequencey with a simply amazing team featuring Race Taylor and Lisa Thomas...and yes, I was surprised when receiving the call from Power 106! Later though, when it was explained to me that the centerpiece of Power's evolution would consist of contemporizing and mainstreaming the brand even more with emphasis on the further strategizing of programming, marketing, and talent coaching they really got my attention!
3. Do you remember some of your early thoughts about Power 106 when you first arrived?
Yes, I thought we could do a better job of being more mass appeal while not denting our street cred. This, of course, was years before the mainstream, and all the "me too" stations, had moved all the way over into our musical quadrant!
4. What do you think are some of the key elements to your success with Power 106?
Power is an amazing place that breeds/attracts people who love hip hop. While many great stations do a good job of reflecting the culture/lifestule of their audiences, Power 106 is one of the very few that actually helps invent the culture/lifestyle of our audience.
Obviously, our Emmis sister station Hot 97 in New York is one of the other select few stations who do this very well, too. We are fortunate to attract the very best in talent on and off the air like Big Boy, Dj E Man, Jeff Garcia, Yesi Ortiz, Dianna Jason, Fernando Lujan, and Felli Fell....Felli just moved up from nights to afternoons, is currently involved in two TV shows and has a big hit song Boomerang. Together this crew pushes out the latest and greatest hip hop across all our power platforms every day.
5. What do you like to do with your down time?
"Downtime"? lol! There is none, but somehow I'm trying to teach myself Mandarin with a little help from Rosetta Stone! I'm a web/new media nut and have advised a startup or two, I have 20,000 songs in my iTunes, love to read, A&R songs/groups, have two wonderful kids learning instruments and a beautiful, very understanding wife.
6. What comes to mind when someone asks you about your midday personality, Yesi Ortiz?
Yesi is one amazing personality, natural and passionate about all things hip hop. She recently discovered Kreayshawn and helped her totally blow up and get signed. I hope you had a chance to see Yesi's' recent TV show on the Style Network "Single With Seven". She is an amazing woman that is truly an angel...just the very best on and off the air.
7. Who do you consider to be your radio mentor(s)?
Anyone who loves music, fosters talent and creates environments where both can flourish is a mentor of mine, whether they know it or not.
8. Where does Power 106's ratings strength lie?
In the just released July PPM Book in 18-34 English Speaking Hispanics (our target) Power 106 is #1 in Adults, #1 in Men, and #1 in Women. In overall 18-34 Adults in the last 3 books Power has gone 6.1-6.4-6.8. In July, we are also #1 in 18-34 Men, #1 in 18-24 Men, and #2 in 18-34 Women jumping 7.0-7.6, and #2 in 18-49 Adults.
I'm very proud of our crew who rep hard...we got nominated for a NAB Crystal Award last year for raising 100's of thousands of dollars for local schools thru our E Man helmed Power 106 All Star basketball charity games! This year we are nominated again for another Marconi Award,too. Great teams make great things happen!
9. Personally, you have very diverse taste in music. Do you have many opportunities to get out and see up-and-coming talent in Los Angeles?
Yes, there is so much great new music out now out in all genres it's very exciting; Wallpaper, Kanye & Jay-Z, Noel Gallagher, The Game, Kooks, Bon Iver, Lil Wayne, Glasvegas, Pitbull, Pearl Jam, Drake, Augustana, Adele...I try to see as much as I can live. It is hard though. I have been bringing my daughter, Ally, to our Powerhouse the last couple of years and she loves it.
10. What do you think is the biggest difference in programming when measured by PPM rather than diary?
PPM as a behavioral based methodology that still has some challenges in both sample size, and the type/method of people recruited into the sample as well. I think Arbitron is working hard to resolve these things, but while we know that increasing the sample size would be the best solution for everyone, we know that's cost prohibitive and just will not happen. How much do things like seasonality, ethnicity, employment, Arbitron incentives and different recruitment methodologies potentially bias the sample, we do not have those answers today, but we do know they have some impact on "listening". Electronc measurement favors formats that are older, wider, and non ethnic. This makes our jobs at Emmis, as owners of the two biggest hip hop stations in the world, particularly challenging.
If you were to leave Radio today and you could choose any other occupation, what would it be?
It would have to be something hi-tech that mixes new media and traditional media, with great visuals and feature musical artistry.
Any advice you can offer to programmers looking for their opportunity to step up and program in a major market?
Learn early on to attract or find, nuture, and defend talent. Step away from the spreadsheets for a moment and understand what truly makes a song, artist, or an on air personality special in the room, on the air, and online. While the biggest companies in the world like Google, Facebook, and Apple all own the pipelines; we are the stewards of the next generation of great talent/content. Let's not blow this...engaging talent, and great curators of new music, are our insurance policy of not being supplanted by a digital jukebox. The new optical m-disk dvds are built to last 1,000 years with zero deterioration...as a PD what personalities/product(s) are you producing today that someone would want to preserve for that long? :)