10 Questions with ... Mike Vasilikos
May 14, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Towson University station WTSR while in college. Then I started at WTMD, which was the college's newer, more powerful signal for Baltimore, where I eventually became PD. From there I joined WXPN/Philadelphia.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
Broadcasting was always my goal. Initially it was TV, but that changed once I got to college. Towson University had both a TV and radio station for students. WTSR, our college station at the time, needed on-air hosts. So I was able to pick up a shift my first week at school. I got hooked and haven't looked back.
2. Has your decision to move from WTMD to WXPN proven to be a good one?
I think so. Aside from a summer internship, WTMD was the only station I'd been with. The opportunity to work at an organization like WXPN, which has been such a leader in our format, was something I couldn't pass up. And when you work alongside people like Bruce Warren and Dan Reed on a daily basis, it's a motivating experience. I've learned a lot in a short time.
3. What do you like best about your job?
For me it's always been about the music. Our format has the unique ability to really jump out on new artists and introduce our listeners to great music that in many cases won't be heard anywhere else. The goal is to connect listeners to artists and WXPN has the opportunity to do that every day, which I love.
4. You are now more involved with XPN2 - tell us about that.
XPN2 really serves as another extension of our service here at WXPN. Right now, we have some wonderful volunteers who host for us. They are all music lovers and put together some great programming. My role is to help guide them and the music to a degree.
5. How has the re-branding of that taken hold?
It was important to draw XPN2 (it was originally Y-Rock) closer to WXPN, hence the name! Like I said above, it's an extension of our level of service at WXPN. The re-branding makes it a lot easier to communicate with our listeners on both XPN and XPN2 -- and also to share content and information.
6. Tell us how the music meetings for WXPN are conducted.
What happens in the music meeting, stays in the music meeting ... sorry. John.
7. What new bands are you most excited about?
I love the album from Polica; it's one of the more innovative things out there right now. On the flip side of that, a couple guys that have more of a throw-back approach -- I really dig both the new JD McPherson and Nick Waterhouse albums. And I just saw The Lumineers a few weeks ago' the audience was crazy for them ... it was exciting to see.
8. What do you view as the most important issue facing public radio today?
There can be a lot of distractions, but at the end of the day you have to be successful with your fundraising. Our membership team at WXPN is absolutely amazing. Public radio stations, like WXPN, provide an incredible service to our communities. We focus a lot on "local." Our audience recognizes that WXPN is an essential part of their lifestyle in Philadelphia and maintaining that level of service they've come to expect is very important.
9. What is the best advice anyone ever gave you? The worse?
My wrestling coach in high school used to tell us that "we'll sleep when we're dead." The may be the best and worst advice at the same time.
10. If you wanted to completely change careers today, what would you do?
I'd like to play centerfield for the New York Yankees. Probably not happening, though.
Last non-industry job:
Worked a maintenance job at Belmont Race Track
First record ever purchased:
La Bamba soundtrack
Dave Matthews Band/Ben Harper 6.9.96 at Jones Beach
Favorite band of all-time:
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
I play softball a few nights a week here in Philly. I absolutely love it.