10 Questions with ... Martin Anderson
August 29, 2011
10 Questions with ... Martin Anderson
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I was a volunteer DJ for my college radio station at the University of Delaware and at KLCC and KRVM out in Eugene, OR through the '90s. I dug hosting folk, Celtic, bluegrass, world ... whatever I could. Then when I took an underwriting sales job at KHSU in Arcata, CA, I found I couldn't shake the music hosting bug. So I moved back east when a morning host position opened up here at WNCW in 2001.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
I got hooked on Top 40 and the "new genre" of Classic Rock on D.C.-area stations in the '80s. I called WAVA eight or 10 times as a kid one night to vote "Come On Eileen" into their Top 5 (changing my voice each time), and discovered the rush that comes from affecting airplay. Then a dorm friend during my freshman year of college suggested we go to the WXDR new volunteer meeting, back in 1989.
2. Not everyone knows the incredible reach of WNCW - tell us about it.
Our transmitter of 17,500 watts sits atop Clingman's Peak, one of the highest points east of the Mississippi. So we are able to cover Western NC (including Charlotte, Asheville and Boone) as well as much of Upstate SC (Greenville and Spartanburg), and parts of East TN (including Bristol/Johnson City and the eastern edge of Knoxville), plus the corners of GA and VA. But our online presence has grown a lot in recent years. too, perhaps mostly thanks to word-of-mouth for our roots music, jam band focus and overall eclectic mix.
3. How would you describe the music on the station?
We are predominantly an eclectic mix of Americana, Triple A and various roots music styles, especially bluegrass, old-time and blues. We also consider jazz, reggae, jam band and college rock to be integral to our sound. Our Triple A mix focuses on the singer-songwriter and indie-rock styles.
4. Tell how your music meetings are conducted.
Ha! We wish we could have them! Usually, it's us weekday hosts sharing thoughts and notes on new releases in between air shifts 'n such, and then I schedule our weekly rotation lists/reports/features. We have dreams of regular weekly listening sessions, and even getting station listener-members involved someday, a la the Songlines-style of listening sessions at conferences.
5. What new bands are you most excited about?
There's an Asheville area band called Uncle Mountain that others should know about, as well as soulful singer/songwriter Kellin Watson. I'm also digging the latest from Burlap to Cashmere, Chadwick Stokes, The Woodshedders and Grace Askew & The Black Market Goods.
6. What has been your biggest career highlight?
Landing a full-time job playing eclectic and roots-based music for a noncommercial station with such a loyal following was a dream-come-true for me. Keeping it going through this November -- my 10th anniversary -- will be equally big for me.
7. What are you biggest challenges at noncomm station like WNCW?
Finding enough talented staff for the various skills required to run a station, when it's located in a rural county. That and generating enough income (and convincing management) to fund more staff so that we can achieve all the goals I would love for us to achieve. I ain't holding my breath for that, but it's worth keeping up the fight. Specifically, I've been racking my brain with the best way to move us into the 21st Century with downloads, software playback, etc.
8. How do you stay in tune with your audience?
Our annual end-of-year listener Top 10 lists are helpful, along with the occasional survey we put out. I also like to get out to emcee shows and festivals. And I find keeping my air shift as a live, real-time music host (antiquated I know) is critical for keeping in tune with both our audience and the new releases.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ...
... coffee and NPR talk radio! (That's right; I flip the station to ATC some on my drive home.)
10. If you wanted to completely change careers today, what would you do?
Maybe a teacher, or PR work for a good nonprofit, or a licensed massage therapist.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
Getting outside for gardening or hiking, and playing with my daughter.
Last non-industry job:
Marketing for MycoLogical Natural Foods, a wild mushroom company in Eugene, OR that helps to preserve the forest ecosystems they rely on.
First record ever purchased:
Men At Work "Business As Usual"
George Thorogood & The Delaware Destroyers
Favorite band of all-time:
The Beatles. George is my fave.