10 Questions with ... Bethany Kent
January 5, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WWKX/Providence 2003-2011
- WRDW/Philadelphia 2011-2013
- WQHT, WBLS, WLIB/New York 2013-Present
1. How did you get into radio promotions/marketing?
I was lucky enough to intern at the Citadel Providence cluster as a freshman in college. I flipped that into a Street Team gig. I would travel home to Rhode Island from Boston on weekends for throughout the rest of college. $8 an hour but it was some of the most fun I've ever had. I spent a Summer in NYC interning for fuseTV and Def Jam Records. I ended up freelancing in TV a bit when I first graduated but always had the radio bug. When a full time Promotions Director gig opened up for WWKX/Hot 106 in Providence, I jumped on it.
2. What was the biggest change in the move from Wired in Philadelphia to Hot 97?
I think Philly gave me the confidence to be like "okay, I can take this thing to the next level". HOT 97 was always my dream station, it's a fun place to be and is full of creative characters who are like-minded with similar goals of winning. I was promoted to managing promotions for all three of the Emmis NY properties; HOT 97, WBLS and WLIB which has been an awesome experience especially when we're able to put on kick ass events and serve our community using three massive voices in the biggest market in the country. I find Emmis New York to be a place where I'm comfortable giving input at high levels that is taken seriously.
3. Who do you think is the most influential woman in the world today?
It's an exciting time to be a feminist. There are so many strong women working towards gender equality. I'm rooting for Hillary Clinton to hopefully make some noise that will lead to better equality long-term.
4. Who do you think is the most influential man in the world today?
Four way tie between:
- Pete Jones (obvs)
- Luke Skywalker (the force has been awakened y'all)
- Pat Walsh (Emmis CFO because he signs my checks)
- Dan Hunt (hoping he'll buy me a free dinner for saying this)
5. How did you end up going to college at Emerson?
I spent my freshman year at University of Rhode Island and wasn't feeling the super party vibes. I discovered Emerson through a friend and began focusing on kicking ass at URI so I would have the grades to be accepted. Emerson was this metropolitan, witty, liberal, sophisticated, fun, quirky and amazing place that I would go to over and over and over again if I could.
6. What kind of different challenges does heading up a promotion department in Market #1 present? Are some of them specific to Hot 97?
I've found that a lot of my gig is "same ish, different city" but it's just taken to a next level the higher you go market wise. Bigger Sales budgets to hit, more pressure, higher expectations from listeners, more events... just a ton to juggle all at once (which I secretly LOVE).
HOT 97 definitely has some unique things about it. With such a big brand you need to be protective of that and mindful of all the history that comes with it. I got into a taxi cab headed to the station one day and the driver, not knowing where I worked, said "there's a radio station in that building that had a shooting not too long ago". Ummm sir, it was 11 years ago lol. It's hard to shake things. When our competitors had an incident at their show it barely made the local news, we had a similar thing at ours and it made international news. The HOT 97 brand is just that big. You need to protect the brand from an event standpoint but from a promotions standpoint as well. WBLS is legendary and in turn, our listeners expect great things from us. I try to always make sure the prizes we put on-air have significant value for our listeners across all three of our brands.
7. What's the most important work trait for a successful promotions director to have?
Honestly, I think the ability to multitask is super important. Also, being able to get things done and make stuff happen on the fly. All successful promotions people have a little MacGyver in them.
8. If you weren't in radio, what do you think you'd be doing professionally?
Race Car driver
9. Where will we find you at 11 pm on a Friday night in New York?
In da club getting lit with Funk Flex. Jk. If we don't have a major station event, I'm usually out to dinner with friends, catching a Broadway show or concert or if I'm really lucky on my couch with Netflix.
10. Hot 97's air personalities are in the spotlight so often. Who are some of the stars on your promotions team?
Our Marketing Director Koren Vaughan is someone I feel really fortunate to have gotten to know. She came from WBLS when we merged in 2014 but was in the HOT 97 Promo Department back in the day when people like Jay Z would be just hanging around the station. She's not only a great role model for me as I look to develop myself professionally, but has become a really good friend.
Rapid fire, word association:
- State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: Home
- Ebro: Star
- Pio Ferro: Kind
- Dan Hunt: Brother
- Public Nudity: Justin Bieber
Last book that you read and/or movie you saw in theatre?
I'm currently reading The Martian which is excellent and I just saw Star Wars! It was wicked dope!