10 Questions with ... Don Parker
May 14, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Started at Bill Drake owned KYNO-FM/Fresno, then crossed the street to program KBOS. On to Programming stops at The Edge/Las Vegas, KTBZ/Houston, KKFR/Phoenix, and Mega 100/Los Angeles before joining NextMedia Group as VP/Programming. Started consultancy in 2005 and launched Energy 92.7/San Francisco. Then the economy tanked, Energy was sold, and consultants became an easy expense reduction, so business wasn't good! I was thrilled to have the opportunity to join CCM+E/San Francisco in my current role in November of 2009.
1. What got you into radio?
Listening to KIIS/Los Angeles as a kid living in Redondo Beach as it was on its ascent in the early 80's. Wow, what a bigger than life station. I wanted to be every jock on the station - even the part-timers, like Larry Morgan, during that time.
2. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A TV news anchor, so at least broadcasting has always been the root of my passion.
3. What were the magic words that got you to move from consultancy back into day-to-day operations/programming?
Recession...oh, that's just one word, but pretty much sums it up. However, I couldn't be happier how things have turned out. There is so much innovation happening at Clear Channel, and our entire industry for that matter. I'm excited to be part of it!
4. Do you ever talk about KMEL's rich history with the younger members of your team?
Absolutely! When I started in radio in Fresno, the two stations everyone looked up to on the West Coast were KIIS/LA and KMEL/SF. I never thought I'd have the opportunity to program either station, but once you actually do take over such a legendary station, you want to be sure everyone on the staff knows about that rich history - and to appreciate every minute of being part of this incredible radio station.
5. Who on your staff at KMEL would go the farthest on Wipeout? What about The Voice?
You're trying to get me in trouble, aren't you? Our Morning Show Producer, Pacey, is a part-time trainer, so he'd no doubt be the shoe-in for Wipeout. As for The Voice, let's just say I wouldn't expect any chairs to be turning around.
6. What's your favorite song on the station right now?
Anything Kendrick Lamar - he's my favorite artist of the last year for KMEL.
7. If you were a high school teacher and your staff were your high school students, what would you write in Chuy's yearbook?
As you head out into the world, remember tardiness can get you something much worse than detention.
8. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Hang out with great friends - very few in the industry, actually. I love travel, good wines, spending time with my partner of 18 years, Todd...and playing with our new 9 week old puppy.
9. Idol, X-Factor or The Voice?
The Voice all the way.
10. Any advice for programmers trying to land the first PD gig?
First, learn as much as you can from other Programmers that you know to be GREAT Programmers. Don't be afraid to reach out to them - most are pretty good people (if they're truly a great Programmer, that is - it's the jerks who'll never talk to you). Don't think you have all the answers, because you don't. None of us do. Be confident, but not over-confident. Always be open to learning and changing. Both are constant.
San Francisco has been on a sports roll. How does KMEL balance the A's/Giants and 49ers/Raiders?
Don't forget about the Golden State Warriors and the San Jose Sharks, both in the playoffs this year! It's a great sports town. There are certainly die-hards for each team, but the entire Bay Area gets that their opposing team has a lot of fans living among them. The Giants and the 49ers certainly have the majority of fans, but A's and Raiders fans are a more passionate bunch. We're Switzerland when it comes to sports - we root for everyone and share the pain of big losses for all.
San Francisco and the Bay Area is an amazing area for a foodie. What's your favorite meal in the area?
Taco's from Tacolicious in the Mission. I could eat 'em every day!