10 Questions with ... Grooves
December 4, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 2004-2005 - WJHT/State College, PA (Hot 107.9)
- 2004-2005 - WWKL/Harrisburg, PA (Hot 92) (part time)
- 2005-2006 - WLTO/Lexington, KY (Hot 102)
- 2006-2009 - WIHT/Washington, DC (Hot 99.5)
- 2009-2012 - WDZH/Detroit, MI (98.7 Amp Radio)
- 2012-NOW- WRDW/Philadelphia, PA (Wired 96.5)
1. What got you into radio?
I used to record tapes of Funkmaster Flex mixing on Hot 97 in New York. I'd load up a boom box with eight "D" batteries in my grandmother's attic and run all sort of wires and antennas in order to pull the signal in. Flex's presence on the air is what got me into mixing. It just felt big, there's no other way to describe it. The song selection was flawless and the energy was unlike anything the Philadelphia stations had at that time. The mixes were quick, sometimes just the hook of a song, but enough to keep you listening and wondering where he would go next. I still get goosebumps when I hear Eric Edwards say W-Q-H-T NEW YORK.
As far as who got me into being a jock, I'd have to say Tik Tac, Mikey and Big Bob during their stint at WIOQ in Philly. They made me sit through records I didn't necessarily love, just to see what they would say or do next. To this day I think they did one of the best personality driven CHR night shows in the country.
Tik Tac was also the only jock I can ever say made me want to go to a station club night. I had to see what these guys were about, they made you want to party with them. Ironically I ended up with several of his former club gigs while I was working in Detroit. To even be compared to him by a club owner was an honor. He knows how to own a room.
When I finally started working in radio I found myself liking Kane's style. The topics were creative and he was the guy everyone was stealing bits from. It was an amazing opportunity to actually be on the same team as him in DC several years later. Working under Jeff Kapugi and Toby Knapp was fantastic experience. Toby was my neighbor in DC as well. Darrin Marshall and I have plenty of fun stories about that, we may have even broke into his house once (or twice). I think my A.D.D. is kicking in, next question please.
2. What was the biggest change in the move to Philadelphia?
Philly is home to me. I grew up on Philly radio, knew all the players, and dreamed of working at Wired from the time I heard the station sign on. Not many stations launched the way Wired did. There was a sense of rebellion that you could hear in everything from the jocks to the imaging. Philadelphia radio was somewhat complacent at the time and Jerry Clifton caught everyone off guard. I was doing weekends in State College, PA (while attending Penn State) and I made it my goal to someday end up at Wired.
This is truly a dream gig and amazing team of people that GM Natalie Connor and PD Dan Hunt have assembled. I almost drove off the road the first time I heard myself on a promo with our morning host Chio (who I grew up listening to). I'm very fortunate to be here and thankful for the set of circumstances that led to it.
3. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
At the age of 14 my friends and I were sneaking into a local college station in Easton, PA while the students were home for Summer break. We'd bring in turntables, a mixer, and dozens of crates of records. From that moment I was fairly certain a career in radio was inevitable.
4. On the staff at Wired 96.5, who is most likely to win a Fear Factor-like contest eating an insect? Who is least likely? (a substantial insect with some juicy bits, not a punk-ass gnat.)
Buster, given his various OCD issues, would want nothing to do with this. Just reading this will make him uncomfortable. In fact, I can picture him reaching for a container of hand sanitizer right now.
On the other hand, morning show co-host Steve Tingle has absolutely no inhibitions. As Dan Hunt frequently says I'd give anything to know what goes through that man's head on a daily basis. I'm sure more than insects have entered that man's mouth.
Honorable mention goes to our midday girl Casey. She's a tough South Philly girl who can hold her own in just about any scenario. I don't see a few bugs scaring her. Right before I arrived in July, Shila (from our morning show) boxed the Octomom, so anything is possible with this team.
And by the way, the things that happen in the halls here on a daily basis are not unlike an episode of Fear Factor.
5. What would be your dream gig spinning for one night?
Thanks to our promotions director, Beth Kent, it almost happened recently when I was booked to open for Pauly D. I was looking forward to exchanging hair care tips with him and swapping a few fist pumping anthems, but the show was cancelled at the last second. Some day I will spend a weekend in the shore house with the Jersey Shore cast.
6. What's your favorite song on the station right now?
I can only name one? This is an amazing time to work in rhythm radio. Wired is in a great place in that we can get away with playing "Clique", "Bandz A Make Her Dance" and "Swimming Pools", while at the same time sprinkling in "Locked Out Of Heaven", "Don't You Worry Child" and "Die Young". We have the mass appeal and presentation of a CHR station, but also the aggressive feel of a true rhythm outlet.
We're big on personality here as well (not that you couldn't tell that based on the novel I've written so far). Any medium can dispense the 20 best researching records of the moment. I like to think our team knows how to deliver relevant content in short PPM friendly bursts in order to differentiate. Big props to the people involved in the programming department here at Wired for being some of the last people in this business to subscribe to that philosophy.
7. You and Wired 96.5 PD Dan Hunt are trapped in a Philadelphia alley by zombies. What would Dan suggest that the two of you do to escape a gruesome death?
(I had to defer to our fearless leader, Dan Hunt on this one, given his obsession with zombies. Understand that this is a dream come true scenario for him.)
Dan Hunt: "After a conversation with Pete Jones, who informed me that this was a zombie "herd" situation, my only options would be to sacrifice either Grooves or a homeless person to the zombies. This is the only way I ensure my survival, which is priority one in apocalypse situation. This strategy worked great for Shane when he sacrificed Otis in season 2, episode 2 of the Walking Dead. This same strategy was used in last week's episode of the Walking Dead when Rick sacrificed the hermit to a herd to ensure his groups survival."
8. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Drew Hall (93.3 FLZ/Tampa) and I produce 2 versions of a mix show that's syndicated on nearly 40 stations now, so that takes up most of my spare time. When I'm not doing that I'm still getting adjusted to the fact that my family is now 45 minutes away. It's been one of the many positive outcomes of joining the Beasley family.
I'm still fairly active in the nightlife scene here in Philly and frequently travel out of town to spin.
I'm newly married and incredibly thankful for my wife Andrea, who's now put up with me for 8+ years. We're proud parents of a 4 legged child named Mia who is quite possibly the most spoiled dog on the planet (see my Instagram for an endless stream of pics). Spending time with these two is by far my favorite non-radio activity.
9. What's the first thing in a song that usually grabs your attention on first listen? (good or bad)
I'm a beat guy. Make my head nod or give me goosebumps and I'm hooked. I still can't believe I get paid to listen to music all day!
10. If you were producing a DJ Grooves record what two artists would you feature on it?
Meek Mill and Meek Mill.....can't go wrong with anything he touches in right now. It's a great time to be from Philly and watch his national success. Lee L'Heureux and his team at Warner did an amazing job helping him break onto the national scene.
Beer and pizza or vodka and caviar?
If you guessed pizza and beer based on my slender physique you were correct.
Anytime I travel out of town to deejay clubs I have to have the best local pizza in town. When I first arrived in Detroit, Dom Theodore took me on a pizza tour that helped add to my waistline over the next 3 years. Someone at Loui's Pizza in Hazel Park, MI is putting their kids through college with the amount of money I spent there.
I've also gotten into craft beer and micro brews over the past few years (blame Laura Bender from Roadrunner Records). Coincidently, the top 2 states in the U.S. for microbreweries are Pennsylvania and Michigan. It's been a fun couple of years.
To answer the original question, pizza and beer.
And since I'm back home in Philly, obviously there's no shortage of cheese steaks. As Beth Kent, Buster and Dan Hunt will tell you, we don't do the touristy spots either. If you come visit we'll take you to the good mom and pop places.
Has a movie ever made you cry? If yes, which movie?
I may have shed a tear during the last episode of The Wire, but that was a TV series so it doesn't count :)