10 Questions with ... Thom McGinty
November 14, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Includes programming, talent, marketing-promotions in Top 40, News-Talk, Classic Hits, AC and now Triple A ... WOMC/Detroit, WARM/Seattle, KUDL/Kansas City and now Alice 102/Kansas City.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
Grew up in Detroit around some of the greatest music and broadcasting talent in the U.S.: Motown, Bob Seger, Rare Earth ... JP McCarthy, Purtan & Ryan, Harper & Gannon ... Steve Dahl was on WABX in Detroit before he went to Chicago ... he was outrageous compared to anything else I had heard.
2. What made Wilks feel that Kansas City was ripe for a commercial Triple A station?
I came in after the format flip and wasn't privy to what led to that decision, but the first time I had a conversation with Jeff Wilks (owner) and Jeff Sanders (VP Programming) together it was obvious how much they love this format and how much they're committed to its success.
3. Tell us how the station has evolved into a more current musical stance?
We are appealing to the music lovers whose tastes are always growing and changing -- the trick now is to find the newer material that fits with a solid group of core artists. Fortunately there are a lot of very talented artists making some great music.
4. How would you describe the music on the station?
Triple A is largely an Adult Rock format with a classic core and gaining momentum with great new artists - Decemberists, Florence & Machine, Coldplay, Mumford & Sons, Mayer Hawthorne, Ryan Adams, Black Keys ... some of these have found their way into mainstream, but others have found a home at Triple A.
5. You also give local artists a platform for exposure. Tell us about that.
Alice Local Edition is music feature we do once a day that spotlights the best bands in Kansas City. The response has been overwhelming. Shorty - our morning host - has done a great job wrapping her arms around this project and tracking down all the bands, where they're performing and what new projects they're working on.
6. What other type of features do you run on the station?
"Alice on Demand" is a digital request, music scoring, playback feature that allows the audience to weigh in on the playlist. "Thru the Looking Glass" is a new music/artist feature daily; "Acoustic Storm" is a three-hour weekend show that gets positive feedback; the Alice Lounge is a small performance studio we built for private concerts and events; and our School of Rock scholarship fund for music students who can't afford the program is just getting underway.
7. What are some of your biggest challenges for the station?
Gain in the ratings and ring the cash register. Everything else is secondary and always will be. We have a lean staff with a lot to do and a long way to go, but we're having fun and most weeks we make some headway!
8. What do you like best about programming a Triple A station?
It's a great music format with super-smart listeners who are fanatical about all kinds of music. It doesn't hurt that there are other great trailblazer programmers and stations in the format that we're learning from: Chris Mays at KINK/Portland, KBCO/Denver, WMMM/Madison, John hart here in KC at KTBG (The Bridge), KMTT (The Mountain/Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Cleveland ... each a little different, but all great properties.
9. What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
There's no magic bullet. Get up every day and work harder and smarter than the day before.
10. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ...
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
GOLF!!! I've played ONLY six times in the last two years ... what does that tell you?
Last non-industry job:
Long time ago; stock and driver for Mechanical Pipe & Supply
First record ever purchased:
Favorite band of all-time:
Impossible to answer ... too many to choose