10 Questions with ... D.J. Lopez
December 6, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I didn't get into radio the way most do. I was a true "prize pig" when I was younger living in Santa Fe. A friend of my dad's was a sales person at an AM/FM combo, and they were looking for a board-op/office person. Sungroup bought the FM station and moved it to Albuquerque, and applied for new calls (KKSS). I was still in high school so was going to have to quit. I ran into the PD of another FM station (Q-106) in town. I used to win a lot of prizes from them and he asked if I wanted to come work for him.
I worked there for a couple of years, then they moved to Albuquerque, too. I worked at a music store and a couple of movie theaters for the next three years, then moved to Albuquerque to go to college.
I started working at KKSS in 1993 doing nights full-time...(found out that going to college and doing radio full-time don't mix)...til about 1995, then went to KKOB as a "floater"/morning stunt guy. I came back to KKSS in 1998 with Tony Manero and Jackie James and worked there until 2001.
Then I went across the street to KYLZ and was successful in beating KKSS for a couple of years with a bad signal. Then Univision and Pete Manriquez and Co. (Dana Cortez, Kandee and Crisco) came in and showed the whole damn city how it was done!
KYLZ flipped to talk radio in 2005 (yeah, and look how that turned out!). I came back to KKSS AGAIN later that year, working parttime for a year, then became full-time Promotion Director. That lasted a little over a year. Our PD, Homie Marco, got the opportunity to program KBBT/San Antonio and recommended me for the PD position here at KKSS in January 2008.
1. Why Radio?
No sweat, dirty hands, or heavy lifting involved...jk! It was just a job I happened to get when I was in high school...no particular reason. It wasn't until I started seeing what radio was all about that I let the infamous "radio bug" take over my life.
2. To date, what is the highlight of your radio career?
I'd say becoming PD for the 1st radio station I ever worked at.
3. Isn't KKSS celebrating a special anniversary in 2011? How long have you been the PD?
25 years this year! When I started at KKSS in April of '86 their call letters were KAFE-FM. There was also an AM in the building. New owners came in and changed the station name to KISS-FM that summer. I've been PD for 4 years - the 2nd longest tenure.
4. What's the biggest challenge doing Top 40 in Albuquerque now?
There are four Top 40 stations in Albuquerque with a population under one million. That's insane! I don't even know of a Top 25 market that has the same amount
5. When you've had a rough day, what do you do to get back to your happy place?
Watch a movie, drink a beer, plan a trip!
6. You have a dynamic morning host at KKSS. What makes your morning show so special?
Believe me when I say Dana Cortez is one of the best female talents I've ever heard and worked with! Either you love her strong, independent opinions, or you don't...either way you're going to listen! And, Kandee does compliment her very well. They've made Albuquerque their home. They've been here for almost nine years - longest tenured morning show KKSS has ever had.
7. Think back to being a 10 year-old. What did you want to be when you grew up?
Shoot, I can't even remember ten years ago much less WHEN I WAS 10! I asked my mom, and she said I would always imitate the DJs on the radio...who knew?
8. Does Albuquerque have a pretty live club scene?
One of the casinos did a remodel and now it looks exactly like the ones in Vegas! People are pretty excited
9. Have you noticed changes in the Hispanic make-up of the market?
I believe we've gone up almost 10% over the last 10 years...which is currently around 46%. Keep in mind, there are many 1st, 2nd, 3rd, even 4th generation Hispanics that make up that percentage.
10. What do you think is Albuquerque's best kept secret?
Always the chili - not hot sauce - homegrown red and green chili.
If you were to leave Radio and music today and you could choose any other occupation, what would it be?
Would like to do something with kids, maybe teach? Or work towards getting a PhD to become a psychologist.
If you could only watch one movie, one TV show and listen to one CD, which would you choose?
The first Pirates of the Caribbean, Lost and Bob Marley "LEGEND"