10 Questions with ... Rob Walker
August 9, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started doing Top 40 in Connecticut back in high school, in 1985. I did some time at WICH, WILI, WKSS and WQGN. Then off to New Hampshire for two tours at WERZ..first PD gig at WZPK in '93, Creative Director at WZID.
I moved to New Jersey as Nassau Broadcasting's Creative Director and then the PD at WJLK. After that it was off to St. Louis to WALC as Creative Director and then APD/middays after a format change to Active Rock WXTM.
The next move was to Little Rock at KLAL and flipping it from Modern AC to Top 40. I took a quick trip as PD at WXLO/Worcester then back to St Louis as Creative Director for KSD and the St Louis Rams. KSD flipped to Country and I became the PD.
I did some consulting and was recruited as Ops manager for a group of four stations in Bend, OR. Then off to Michigan as OM for the Clear Channel cluster in Ann Arbor. Scott Mahalick asked me to come to Seattle to help launch KKWF as APD and PM Drive and I eventually became the PD there.
I took a break for a school for a few years and now I'm here in Savannah. Whew. I logged some frequent flyer miles and U-Hall had a truck with my name on the door.
1. What got you into radio?
I loved the magic of a well-produced show complete with phoners, jingles, talk ups and segues. The dance of a prepared jock was more than skill, it was art.
2. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a paramedic, like Johnny and Roy on Squad 51. In 2008, I left radio and became a paramedic and worked on a 911 squad for several years.
3. What's your favorite thing about living and working in Savannah?
The food and lack of snow. Growing up in Connecticut and spending several years in New Hampshire and Michigan, I never want to shovel snow again. And really, Southern cooking is amazing. I mean, Paula Deen lives here!
4. What would probably surprise most people about Savannah?
The fact that you can drink on the street in the Riverfront district. It's got a total New Orleans vibe, without the jazz. It's a non-stop party downtown, and it's got a gritty "we go hard" vibe. If you're not down to drink some beers, the Riverfront isn't for you.
5. You have experience working in so many markets and regions the U.S. Is there a market or region that you haven't worked in that intrigues you?
I love the Pacific Northwest and New England. I've been lucky enough to work in both, so not really. Although, I do dream of owning a small FM in the middle of a small, mountain town.
6. If you weren't in radio, what do you think you'd be doing professionally?
I'd be working as a full time paramedic again. I love the work. It's meaningful.
7. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spare time? I'm programming three stations. Actually, I have a wife and an almost three-year old and it's all about family time for me. That's the most important thing, a lesson that took me a while to learn.
8. Who were/are some of your radio mentors?
I always loved to learn from friends and bosses. Steve McVie on the Cape is one of my best friends and has always been there as a sounding board and told me I was a decent jock back in the 80s when I wasn't. Scott Mahalick is the guy I always look to for advice and wisdom. He's more than a mentor, he's always been my biggest fan and I'd set myself on fire for that guy. He has incredible vision and drive. And whether they knew it or not, I learned from all the jocks I grew up listening to or worked with later. Far too many to mention, but a big shout to Pete Falconi, Willy B, Franco, JoJo Cookin' Kincaid, Kid Kelly and Jeffery T. Mason.
9. If you could be on any TV reality show or game show, which would you want to be on?
Jeopardy. I kill on that show. I get the try out emails, but I've never don't it. I think it's easier when you're shouting the answers out at the TV.
10. Hypothetical question...What actor would play Rob Walker in the HBO series about you and WXYY?
Brian Cranston. I'm the one who knocks.
If you had to eat one type of meal every day for a month, what would it be?
It would be some type of comfort food. Mashed potatoes would be involved.