10 Questions with ... Danny Preston
April 2, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 1991-1993 KMBQ Wasilla, AK (Oldies, then AC) - Part-time air staff
- 1993-1995 KWHL Anchorage, AK (Rock) - Part-time air staff
- 1995-1996 KEAG Anchorage, AK (Oldies) - Part-time air staff
- 1996-2004 KMBQ Wasilla, AK (Gold AC) - Morning show host (PD/OM from 1997-2004)
- 2004-2012 KNBA Anchorage, AK (AAA) - Morning show host/MD
1. How did you become interested in radio?
Received my first GE transistor radio for Christmas in first grade -1963 -- and never looked back!
2. How long have you been at KNBA?
It will be eight years in June.
3. Tell us how the Anchorage market has grown.
The number of radio stations in the overlapping Anchorage and Palmer/Wasilla markets has increased 35%, from 22 to 34 signals, in the last 10 years, which is consistent with population growth. Traditionally, Alaskans comprise a younger demographic than the rest of the nation -- in 2000, the state had the lowest median age of all states except Utah. However, according to the 2010 Census, Alaskans are now getting older. This is at least partly attributable to the trend in recent years wherein fewer young people move here temporarily in order to take advantage of favorable economic conditions (particularly to work in oil industry-related jobs), and more people choose to live here longer -- or permanently -- for stability and quality-of-life reasons.
Even as Anchorage's population has increased in size and become older and less transient, it has become more culturally diverse. Over 90 (seriously) languages are spoken within the Anchorage School District. Although the broadcast industry here mimics, to a certain degree, "lower 48" trends, programming in Anchorage tends to be more differentiated -- a reflection of the market's unique population composition and the unique strategies entailed in catering to and embracing that market.
4. How would you describe the music on the station?
Full-spectrum Triple A with an under-emphasis on mainstream sounds/artists; plenty of contemporary and classic roots, rock, folk and blues balanced with a judicious helping of modern indie artists. We probably skew towards an older-than-average demo.
5. How do you and Loren conduct your music meeting?
With full Ninja regalia; alternately, in the guises of Benedictine monks. Arcane metaphors aside, we pretty much do things the old-fashioned way with a CD player and a stack of discs. Potential rotation adds are evaluated through the normal criteria filters: familiarity, buzz, history, chart action, playlist fit (i.e. sonic compatibility) and so forth. Ultimately, though, the matter is simply distilled into the question of whether a song is good or not -- and if it is good, what makes it a better candidate for rotation than all the other "good" songs out there? I tend to travel a little more "out there," and Loren typically keeps us grounded, although we switch up those roles from time to time. Also, much coffee is involved.
6. What new bands are you most excited about?
Bahamas, Big Harp, Sons of Fathers, Vandaveer, The Civil Wars, David Wax Museum and Orbo & The Longshot., among others.
7. How do you stay in tune with your audience?
Social media is huge. I don't get out anywhere near as often as I would like to.
8. KNBA is a unique situation with its Native American connection; tell us about that.
KNBA is the first, and still only, Native-owned urban radio station in the U.S. The mission of our corporate parent, Koahnic Broadcast Corporation (headquartered here in Anchorage), is to be the leader in bringing Native voices to Alaska and the Nation. Two of our marquee national programs, "National Native News" and "Native America Calling," are produced in our Albuquerque, NM office; the third, "Earthsongs," in produced here in Anchorage.
9. What do you view as the most important issue facing public radio today?
Economic sustainability. Bless the collective heart of 170 million Americans for public broadcasting!
10. If you wanted to completely change careers today, what would you do?
Either teach sociology or change my name to Willie and play centerfield for the San Francisco Giants.
Last non-industry job:
Automotive Service Manager
First record ever purchased:
Herman's Hermits "I'm Henry the Eighth, I Am"
Grand Funk Railroad
Favorite band of all-time:
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work:
Fishing, camping, hiking, bicycling, canoeing ... outdoors stuff.