10 Questions with ... DJ Buck
August 23, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Started in college doing a small campus only station WXIN with a buddy. After that worked with various other college station WBRU, WDOM and did work for Skippy Whites for years. Did clubs for years and that's what got the attention of my former PD Jerry McKenna at WWKX. He brought me in to do a weekly hip hop mix show and from there I had to sacrifice a lot but at the end of that run I was the PD. I don't know why but I caught the attention of Steve Salhany, OM of the CBS cluster in Hartford and he sent the boys down to get me and twisted my arm to take the job. Oh yeah and you're doing mornings too.
1. You've been waking up Hartford for many years now. What excites you about getting into the studio in the morning?
I think the thing that excites me is not knowing exactly what will happen in that studio. We pretty much know how the show is structured but everyday something happens that can't be predicted. The art of taking something that wasn't planned and turning it into something exciting and entertaining is what gets me going. In the morning there's me Nancy Barrow and Melissa Lopez that are in the studio but we have our listeners who are our extended partners. Everyday these people add something special to the show. I always expect the unexpected and run with it.
2. Do you ever daydream about being an off-air PD?
I never really gave much thought about it because it's all I've ever known. A long time ago when I first started doing radio I told myself that if I got the job as a mixer on Hot 106 in Providence that I would watch what everybody did and learn everything. The production guy was out sick, well, I did the spots. The night jock was sick, well, I'll do that shift...no street team, well, I'll go set up and breakdown. So doing less has never been an option for me. I've heard that in order to go to that next level I need to give up the on-air and focus on programming and that may be the case. My story is I like being in the studio and being a part of what my jocks go through. Hearing how my listeners talk and understanding their concerns. I take all that back to my office and use that information to make Hot 93.7 what it has become.
3. Did love or music or desire to entertain on the radio get you started in the business?
All of the above. I think you need all of those elements to understand radio. Those are all things that you can't teach. I remember as a kid listening to my older brother's records and wanting to be in those bands. I taught myself how to play the bass guitar and from there it never stopped. I sold the bass for turntables and drum machines. I had a rap group back in Providence and the whole nine. I worked at Skippy White's for years. Music has always been inside of me and my desire to make people react to what I played was something I couldn't get enough of as a DJ. There isn't any school on this planet that can teach you how to love music. I'm not sure if that makes you a successful Program Director but it does help me.
4. What would be sleeping in to you?
That's funny because I have FOMO...Fear of missing out. If I sleep until 8:00am on my day off, I think that's late. I know that lack of sleep will catch up to me, sooner or later.
5. American Idol or The Voice?
The Voice. To hear true talent and not know what this person looks like is amazing. They say image is everything but The Voice can make you forget about the image.
6. What do you like to do in your spare time?
I take pictures all the time now. I started capturing pics of my son in high school playing sports and never stopped. If you see me at one of my shows I'm probably one of the photographers, too. I wish this spare time thing wasn't so expensive. lol
7. Away from New England, we tend to lump the entire region together. What are some of the differences between Hartford, Providence and Boston?
Boston has always been the big city with all the pro teams and they have their own language, it seems. My hometown of Providence is a city on the rise. We talk a little strange as well and our chowder is the best out of the three. My new home in Hartford is a very vibrant city. There are a lot of different types of people in Hartford, too. Great diversity.
8. What's Up Next all about?
I started a show on the station called Up Next. What I wanted to do was give unsigned artists a chance to get their music played on the station. I have always been for the underdog and I believe that some of these guys have real talent. They just don't understand what it takes to make it. What I'm doing is educating them on the business. It takes more than just rapping or singing. Technology has made it easy for anybody to record a song on their laptop. Up Next has rules such as I need you to register your song to Mediabase. I need your song to be properly mixed down. I need to see your brand being built. By setting these rules for these artists, I'm also helping them. We have leading label A&R people and other record reps call in weekly to talk about things that need to be done. With that being said, if you can email me at dj.buck@cbsradio if you're interested in calling in with info for these artists.
9. Who have had the biggest influences in your radio career?
Some of my biggest influences in radio are Bonnie Gomes, she hired me in Providence. Jerry McKenna for taking a chance on me. Also Steve Salhany, Suzanne McDonald and Jay Stevens for bringing to Hartford and trusting me. Another guy who I admire so much is David Simpson. He's showed me so much and helps me in so many ways I can't begin to explain it. Behind me, if you look closely, you will see David.
10. Who would represent Team DJ Buck in a rap battle?
Team Buck would be Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J, Kendrick Lamar, Biggie, Eminem, Jay Z and Nas......Game over