10 Questions with ... Lee Ann Konik-Camp aka Lee Ann Waters
June 20, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
College radio '86-'89; WDZR/Detroit (intern); and The Ritz Concert Complex, Detroit (DJ/promotions). In 1996, I found myself on the beach, literally (ooh la la), with a gig at Pensacola rocker WTKX, then went to WZEW/Mobile the first time ('97-'98). Then Clear Channel Radio and Cumulus Hot AC (middays, production) in Mobile. Finally I returned to WZEW in 2003. Whew, not that brief, good thing you didn't ask for other careers too!
1. How did you become interested in radio?
Radio and music have been my passion since birth! Daddy even surprised me with a visit to W4 studios in Detroit (Stern did wake-ups before it flipped to Country). Playing DJ with a cheap little tape recorder was a fun pastime, too, but my voice sounded horrible so I gave up the idea and decided I wanted to be a Motown dancer. Fortunately, my best friend Christy Carter, encouraged me to join the college radio station many years later.
2. What is your typical day like?
With ADD, no day is typical! After hard work with toddlers in the morning, a break is finally granted upon arrival at the office ... LOL! Get coffee first. Update website. Break website. Research what broke and why. Get lost and seek cool new things for the website. Check station social sites, update calendars,etc. Check e-mail for music news to use on website and air shift. Attempt to organize new tunes while listening. Download and burn tunes into music computer for new music stream, website and on-air. Discuss music with reps and staff. Talk promotions with co-workers. Put on the headphones, listen to music and talk about it from 2-6. Go back to real work (home).
3. How would you describe the music on the station?
Diverse, always changing; these days alt rock/singer-songwriter blend with some soul, reggae, blues and of course NOLA funky brass -- for flavor. Adventurous for a typical commercial station (as most Triple As are).
4. How do you treat your nights differently than during the day?
Specialty programming with an all-new-music hour (8-9p). Songs uploaded online to listen and rate.
From 9p-mid there is "Radio Avalon" with Catt Sirten -- on the air in Mobile for more than 15 years. The show has a more laid-back musical approach.
5. What are some of your biggest challenges as an independent station?
Budgets much smaller, can't offer five stations-for-one ad deals. Staying ahead of constant tech and radio changes financially. No passing the buck to the higher-ups in Texas or Atlanta.
6. What stations do you like to keep track of?
None. The jealousy of "dang, look at all the cool things those major-market stations get" just ruins my day! (kidding). In music meetings we check WXRT, WRLT and KBCO, among others, but still use other means of research, like ears, street and critic buzz, market fit and gut. I still find it interesting that some artists fit the sound of Adult Alternative, sell many records, have a big buzz, yet few Triple A stations will embrace them.
7. What do you like best about your job?
Listening to the creative angles of new music ... some real interesting genre and style fusions going on now. Concerts. Backing a new record against others' "better judgment," then watching it grow really big and saying "I told you so!"
8. Tell us about the stations involvement with the Hangout Festival
A huge coup for WZEW as far as local radio competition! A good relationship with promoter Huka Entertainment and the Hangout owner brought us in the early planning stages of the "unique festival experience" on the white sands of the beach. A destination-type festival as opposed to the local city kind. All the experience from the Bonnaroo broadcasts really paid off for ideas, logistics and networking. Tim Camp (station co-owner) hooked Hangout up with Music Allies, who really took it over the top with unique promotional ideas.
At the close of the sold-out second year, everyone was thrilled with all the partnerships. The ZEW was named flagship Hangout radio station locally, a streaming Hangout radio station was set-up, and the on-air format was changed to "Hangout Radio" the week of. The sister Sports station broadcast bus was backstage, where we were live all weekend with interviews, live performances, etc. and four live streaming video cameras. A ZEW tent was on the boardwalk for fans to register to win meet 'n greets, VIP upgrades, sidestage views, etc. It was a win-win situation all the way around.
9. How does the station celebrate Mardi Gras each year?
Yes, we celebrate big. Many people don't know that Mobile was the original capital of the Louisiana territory and celebrated the first Mardi Gras. Mobile is actually closer to New Orleans musically and culturally than Birmingham.
With three weeks of daily parades it's quite busy (a different secret society every day; city ordinance prevents advertising so they don't get long and boring). We have to really stock up on beads, cups and other trinkets that are thrown from the parade route. The older people love the parades as much as the kids -- maybe even more so.
Every year we have a contest that puts the winner "inside Mardi Gras," where they get to be honorary members of an organization -- throws and costumes are included. One of those prizes you can't go out and buy (they're called secret societies for a reason).
10. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ...
... a lotta COFFEE
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
Never any spare time with kids! When possible though, I love the beach (still hate BP and fear swimming in the water); hanging out with my man; work on my dream of a flower farm (which I'm failing miserably); golf; concerts; and reading.
Last non-industry job:
Waitress ... and Paralegal at Civil Rights firm
First record ever purchased:
Bought three on the same day: Ted Nugent "Scream Dream"; AC/DC "Dirty Deeds Done Dirty Cheap"; Aerosmith "Double Live Bootleg."
Aerosmith at Joe Louis Arena (also the first time sneaking out of the house, tee hee)
Favorite band of all-time:
A most difficult question ... how about a few? Arcade Fire, Stevie Wonder, Leonard Cohen, Doors and/or The Beatles