10 Questions with ... Cat Thomas
January 7, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
2 years college radio at WFAL/WBGU at Bowling Green State University, Interned at WCOL-AM while finishing college at The Ohio State University. Then on to WNCI/Columbus-Traffic Reporter, Y106 (now XL106.7)/Orlando, FL -Marketing Director/Research Director/Weekend Air Talent. KLUC/Las Vegas-Nights/Afternoon Drive-MD/APD/PD and currently Dir./FM Programming
1. Think back to starting out in radio for a second. What are some of the common things that excited you about radio then...and now?
The fact that I got to wear tights as Chuck The Duck and I still get to wear tights...although now it is voluntary. Actually the passion and the excitement of doing fun stuff. Also the listeners' excitement when we do cool stuff. In some ways it's more fun now due to technology. We can actually interact more with listeners and get feedback on the fly. You actually feel like you are living with them in the moment.
2. What have been the biggest changes in the market since you first came to Las Vegas?
Size and population. Better youth sports programs and teams. It's actually seems more Midwest here at times. Block parties, school spirit, etc. Also, more local bars rather than clubbing. There is much more separation between locals and tourists. When I first got here, the hot clubs were full of locals and tourists...50/50. Now you find locals off the strip and not in the clubs. If you hit the clubs now, it's probably 95%+ tourists and locals go to places like PT's Pub, Buffalo Wild Wings, Roadrunner, Town Square or other locals spots. Clubs are too expensive now and don't really cater to locals except of Industry Nights. However, they do draw big money into our economy so that is a HUGE plus!
3. Aren't your kids doing some radio now, too?
They did. We had KYDZ Radio on AM. We switched it to CBS Sports Radio at the beginning of the year. It was a great concept and was easy to utilize voice work and interviews. They did a bit of acting and theatre too but now have started following other passions. My daughter does competitive cheer with California All Stars. You will probably see her team on ESPN or CBS Sports when they cover the The Summit this year in Dallas or The Worlds in Orlando. My son has gotten into computers and at 13 has built Minecraft servers on our home computer and is writing code for animation programs. He applied for Digital Media programs for High School next year. The funny part is they actually did really excellent interviews and even had local TV stations use their interview footage for news coverage of concerts for Justin Bieber, One Direction and more. It's just nice that they have lots of interests and opportunities.
4. Any sage advice for them...or anyone else getting started?
The best advice was given to me by my Dad and I'll pass it along.
"Do something you love. Find out what your passion or their passion is and help them with it. Once you find what you want to do remember this. When you are in your teens and 20's, time is your most abundant asset. Use your time to do everything. Don't chase money...chase experience."
Spend HOURS or DAYS working toward your goal. Do the jobs no one else wants to do and do them better than anyone else. When everyone WANTS to be at the concert/backstage/etc...be the person who volunteers to run the board. Be the one that volunteers to go to the schools. Be the one who covers every shift when someone calls in sick. Even if it means working a double. When I was 23, I worked for Gerry Cagle at Y106 (now XL106.7/Orlando) and did 33 hours straight because no one else could cover Remote set ups, Live Show set ups, Rick Dees Weekly Top 40, Overnights and another Remote Set Up the next day. When I turned in my time sheet, I had 82 hours for a week. He called me in to explain. When I told him what I had worked...he said "don't do that again" and paid me. I ended up as his Promotion Director & Research Director. If you are that go to guy...you will do well.
- When you are in your 30's money and lifestyle will matter more. Your time will begin to have more value. People will begin to pay you not only for the time you put in to work but also for your knowledge. Continue to learn everything!
- When you hit your 40's and beyond. People will pay you more for your knowledge and experience than for your time and ability to do the physical work. You still have to educate yourself but your knowledge and experience will be your most valuable asset and the one that is the most sought after. And if you haven't become smart by the time you are 40...get a job with a name tag because that is all you will be qualified to do.
So that is the lesson from my Dad. I've had some great life experiences & lessons, tried to understand that stupidity and ego will ruin everything and try to have fun along the way.
5. Had you been a fairly regular visitor to Las Vegas prior to moving to town? If so, do you miss the feeling of coming to Las Vegas to 'play'?
Not really. I actually had only been here once before. I had won "Employee Of The Year" at Y106 (now XL106.7). The prize was a trip to Las Vegas on the client trip. Big Bill Mitchell (currently at 92.5 WBWI in Wisconsin) was our overnight guy and went with me. We stayed at the old Sands hotel. We listened to the radio everyday and it was the first time I listened to KLUC. We also drank like madmen and ate at most every buffet. When I got back to Orlando, I sent out 65 tapes and resumes to stations all over the country. KLUC's PD, Jerry Dean was one of the first to respond and told me he liked my tape. I stayed in touch with him, sending him more and more. Seven months later, he had a night opening and flew me out. I interviewed, got the job and have been a curse on the Las Vegas landscape ever since.
6. You have a new puppy. Adding or subtracting years and/or grey hair?
Crash is awesome. However, the deal was I do the fun stuff, the family has to clean up after him. Luckily, we have a dog door and he was 90% potty trained after 2 weeks!
Here is a picture...
7. What's your favorite song on the station right now?
Got a couple. Love, Love, Love Eminem & Rihanna "The Monster". Actually I love the ENTIRE Eminem CD. It is friggin' brilliant. Love Imagine Dragons "Demons". Also a couple new bands New Hollow "She Ain't You" that just won The Pulse's Breakthrough Song of the Year...and a local band LoveSick Radio "Numb Me Up". I actually bought that ring tone at iTunes with my own money!
8. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spend time with the kids. I really get into my son's soccer games and my daughter's cheer competitions. Weird, huh? I also look forward to hanging with the guys at Buffalo Wild Wings on Thursday or Friday nights and argue sports. I like hitting some cool local spots like Backstage Billiards & Bar, Fremont Country Club, Gibson Acoustic Showcase at the Hard Rock Café with Ricky Duarte. Just cool places to see new and upcoming bands. We really have a cool local music scene beginning to build here in Las Vegas with artists like American Cream, LoveSick Radio, Ours For The Taking, etc.
9. Can you recommend a show for a first time Las Vegas visitor?
I have three go to shows. BLUE MAN GROUP! CARROT TOP! ROCK OF AGES! All three are friggin' awesome and can't lose shows. All the Cirque shows are good too, but not as interactive and fun as those three.
10. When I think of my KLUC staff, I _________?
Am Proud. It's not a staff it's a family. I'm very lucky to be associated with a group like this. This is one of those places in time that some day we will all talk fondly about what we did here. I would think that a few years from now, we will have created legendary stories on the Las Vegas radioscape. It would be fun to get everyone in a room 20 years from now and hear the stories that surround this very special group of people. Everyone has been together so long and we've created a lot of special moments over the years. We've also created some great Alumni. Rayne in Detroit, Nathan Fast at Channel 93.3 in San Diego, Nick Steele doing mornings in Indiana, my boy Bo Jaxon/PD & Afternoons at Mix in Denver and the list goes on and on. Even those before me...Jay Taylor in Columbus, Jerry Dean, Bill Richards, Craig Hunt, Tom Humm (who gave me my PD gig), Dave Ryan in Minny, Hollywood Hamilton, etc. I'm sure I missed several so if I did, please don't be offended...it's late on a Friday and my brain hurts! I know the day your print this..I'm going to go "OH CRAP...I FORGOT..."
Go to romantic dinner spot in Las Vegas?
Weird as this sounds. SC Prime at the Suncoast. It's a great Steak House out on the West Side with an awesome view of the entire Las Vegas strip. Amberly and I dig it there. I think she deserves to go there more. You just reminded me that we need a date night!
Round of golf with Ohio State University Head Football Coach Urban Meyer or vacation in Tahiti? (think this through carefully)
If my wife is going...Tahiti. If she's not, golf with Urban Meyer. After all she set up golf with OSU greats Archie Griffin and Pete Johnson for me, so I owe her one! Besides, Urban and I were both born right there in Toledo, Ohio. Ironically Urban, Jim and John Harbaugh and myself were all born in Toledo within a two year period. Guess who is the loser in that group? Yeah...this guy! I guess Toledo is good place to be FROM!