10 Questions with ... Tom Davis
January 16, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Bought my first stations in 1990, been an owner-operator since. Sold WRNX and WPNI in the Springfield, MA market in 2003. Have launched, owned, operated or consulted for six Triple A stations.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
Was a jock on Saturdays at the local college station in my home town while in high school. I sucked.
2. How's the combo of radio and Internet newspaper panning out in Williamsburg?
Beyond comprehension. Over 120,000 unique readers in a market of about 150,000 people - all driven to the site from our two radio stations.
3. Tell us about your move in to Wilmington, NC.
Great market ... great opportunity to build the same digital model ... heritage Triple A and Classic Rock and Talk stations. We added Classical, made them all more local - actually talking about what was happening on the street rather than on TV - very excited about the potential.
4. In addition to your commitment to Triple A, you are taking a unique approach to Classical programming. Tell us about that.
Same great demographic -- the aging baby-boomer. Excellent office radio. Our specific approach is by playing more accessible Classical - the "Top 40" of Classical, if you will. Often it's the purism and professorial presentation (how's that for alliteration) that turn people off, not the idea of listening to Classical music. Sales of our Bach station in Williamsburg grew 14% last year; 32% the year before.
5. What is your biggest challenge at your company?
Finding more people like the ones who work here ... who understand that most of what radio has been doing for the last 20 years is the least important thing about radio today.
6. What do you think of the current state of the Triple A format?
It's trifurcated with little (or no) cohesion of the three groups (larger markets, smaller markets, public). We continue to be vulnerable to hang separately if we don't hang together.
7. What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
Cumulus and Clear Channel: When it comes to local, you can't scale or aggregate it.
8. What's the best piece of advice anyone's ever given you? The worst?
The best: Do something you love for work. The worst: It's okay to give up (it's not).
9. What is the best advice you would give to young programmers/promotion people?
Know the signal strength, tower location, average unit rate, top-25 advertisers, and every other key data point about your company, regardless of department. Otherwise you're just a guy/girl with some playlists or posters with no idea what your company needs to do to win.
10. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ...?
Well it should be "bacon," but it's likely my droid.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
There's such a thing? Spending time with my kids (who are adults - so what do you call them ... kidults?). Being in New York with my friend Lois.
Last non-industry job:
Owned a residential construction/development company.
First record ever purchased:
I'm guessing "Steppenwolf, The Second" ... pretty sure on this.
Rare Earth in the Norwich University Armory - ha ha. Or a local high school band - two guys - one was fat, the other was named Billy Bean - Pork and Bean - great band name!
Favorite band of all-time:
You will totally think I'm making this up, because he's one of my partners ... but I'm not going to lie: Bruce Hornsby. Bought every album before I ever knew him. (Guilty pleasure: Marshall Tucker Band).