10 Questions with ... Mark Feather
February 5, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
In chronological order: WVUR/Valparaiso, IN; WHVR/York PA; WERQ/Baltimore, MD; KISF/Kansas City, MO; KQKS/Denver, CO (twice); KJMN/Denver, CO; KISV/Bakersfield, CA; KGGI/Riverside, CA; HITS Magazine, KYLZ/Albuquerque, NM; XM Satellite Radio; WRQX/Washington, DC; WBIG/Washington, DC; Westwood One/; and now, I'm here in Boise, ID.
In addition to the music biz related gigs above, I have also worked for a Broadcast PR firm in Washington, DC, sold print advertising for Aviance Marketing in Washington, DC, and also was in sales for The Regis Corporation (the hair people) for a while before I decided to get back into programming and radio full-time.
1. Where have you been?
Basically, after the XM gig blew up on me, the phone did ring-Wanna go to Little Rock, AR? Um, no. That kind of thing. Rather, I decided to take a little time away from programming and radio and see what else I could do with the very unique skill set I have developed over the years. So, I was COMPLETELY out of the business for a couple of years, but I missed it terribly. So, I started sending around tapes and resumes to anybody in DC who would listen. Kenny King (then OM for Cap Cities/ABC in DC) at MIX 107.3 was the first one to call me back, and by the grace of God, he let me do overnights in DC to get back in. And it didn't matter that it was the middle of the night-I was back to doing what I loved. Shortly thereafter, I moved across the street and back into daylight hours working for an old friend from Denver, Dan Michaels, who was programming BIG 100.3 in DC (Classic Hits) at the time. Stayed there for almost four years doing Swing. Meanwhile, I did full-time Affiliate Relations/Affiliate Sales for WW1 while simultaneously doing the part-time air work in DC...and waited until the exact right thing came along. There were a couple of "close calls" along the way, but nothing that ever felt right until I hooked up with these folks in Boise.
2. What brought you back to radio and day-to-day programming?
The bottom line is this Ã¨ I tried a whole mess of other things after I got kind of burnt out with programming and completely tired of moving, and I quickly discovered that NOTHING gets me going like being involved in producing great radio 24/7/365. The hours are crazy these days, but for better or worse, programming and being on the air is what makes me happy. And also, having done Sales now, too, I think I'm a little more easy to deal with in the PD office than I might have been in the past. LOL...
3. What got you into radio, to begin with?
Thought I wanted to do television weather forecasting originally, and I was doing that when I got my first taste of radio...and I was HOOKED. Completely. Haven't done TV since. There's just something magical about doing great personality radio that makes people sit up, listen and enjoy what you're doing. Plus, when I found out I could GET PAID to pick the music on the radio, I was like-SIGN ME UP!
4. What's the most significant change in the job of PD since you left programming?
Most of my gigs in the past had been OFF AIR PD jobs. They basically don't exist anymore unless you're in the biggest of markets. So, I would say that that is the biggest change BY FAR...That and also the "single station" PD gig also seems to be a thing of the past these days. And that's OK, so long as you can surround yourself with really, really talented people...and I've been able to do that here in Boise, so I'm not losing my mind or anything at the present moment, despite programming two stations and pulling a daily air shift...
5. How's the adjustment to life in Boise been?
You know, if this situation had come up several years ago when I was single and looking to mingle constantly, I don't think I could have taken it. However, my partner and I are going on four years now, so my priorities have changed significantly. I don't need to be out tearing it up every night anymore...and needless to say I'm older-much older-too! Time to slow down a bit, and Boise is perfect for that. Don't get me wrong, I work hard, but it's not like living in the hustle and bustle of NYC or something. Rather, I do this radio thing, and my partner is back in school finishing up his degree at BSU, and all is well. Like I said, this really was the perfect situation for us. And, it felt comfortable, as well. We live downtown, right up against the foothills of the Rockies which reminded me of my days in Denver/Boulder. Plus, Boise is the state capitol...which felt a bit like the Capitol Hill area of DC where we lived back East.
6. What's your favorite song on the station right now?
That award has to go to Trey Songz, "Simply Amazing"-what a great record...especially after coming off two ENORMOUS songs before that...
7. What do you stress the most when coaching your talent?
Two words: Be Yourself. The audience can smell "fake" and "hype" from a hundred miles away, and once you're branded as anything but legitimate, you might as well forget it. You get one chance to make a genuine connection, and you better not blow it! That, and the traditional - "one thought per break." On the latter front, the more things change, the more they stay the same, huh-PPM or diary market...it makes no difference. Get in. Get out. But while you're on, make certain you have something to say that causes an emotional reaction of some kind.
8. What do you like to do in your spare time there?
It's funny...I warned my partner that I would have NO LIFE for about 6-9 months...that's just the way it's always been, and this time has been no different. So, we're just now getting around to the "spare time" thing, and we've decided to embrace fully where we live. So that means we've gone to the Boise Zoo, zip lining before it got too cold, and into the mountains now and then, too. Now, if I could just get him to TRY skiing...
9. If you could be on any TV reality show or game show, which would you want to be on?
Let's roll the clock back a bit and put me on with Howie Mandel on "Deal or No Deal," and let me tell you what...the MINUTE the banker offered me ANYTHING over 100k---TAKE THE DEAL, FOR GOD'S SAKE!
10. How is Wild staffed?
In AM Drive, it's Rick Moorten who's been here for almost four years now from San Diego. He's teamed with Edina Macic who is a student at BSU and is one of the most naturally talented people I have ever encountered in my more than twenty years in radio. We work hard at it (Rick is a prep ANIMAL and Edina's talent becomes more evident by the day), and the show has really taken off in the last six months. Then, I do middays, with APD/MD Tony Tecate in PM Drive. Talk about another stroke of good fortune...I gave Tony his first-ever job in radio back in the day in Bakersfield when he was just 17 years old. Then, he spent so many valuable years in Sacramento and even programmed for himself in Honolulu...and now he's here...in Boise before I even took this gig? Really? Wow...like I said, the stars just lined up here on so many levels. Tony is my right hand. Period. Can't do it without him. Then, it's Dee Garcia in nights, and Jake on the weekends. Meanwhile, we've got Mona and Kate heading up Promotions along with the Street Team.
This is a very talented crew and we're making our presence felt once again in Boise. The station had lost its way a bit, but the Fall ARB just came out, and WILD zoomed from 6th to a tie for 1st in P18-34, is now Top 3 P18-49, and is even #4 P25-54. Now, we've got to build on that momentum...
Which record company promotion exec did you miss the most while you were away from day-to-day programming?
I can't say there was any ONE person I missed interacting with more than anyone else, really. It's been fun to catch up with everyone again...at least those who are still doing it. Needless to say, it's been a rough go of it of late in the music business...just another reason why I am elated to have found this terrific situation. Thanks to both Mikey Fuentes at KKFR in Phoenix, and consultant Anthony Acampora for this Boise opportunity...and of course, to my GM, Darrell Calton-great guy!
Beer and pizza or sushi and sake?
Fish and sake...I'm trying to not get fat. Been there, done that...and don't want to go back!