10 Questions with ... Bryan Schock
September 24, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
91X San Diego 1982-85, 1997-2003 -PD, KGB San Diego 1985-1990, 2003-2004-PD, KNAC Long Beach/Los Angeles 1990-1991, 1993-1995-PD, WRXP New York 2008-2009-MD, KNRX/92X Denver 1995-1996-PD, KJAC-KCUV Denver 2004-2008-PD, WHVY Baltimore 1991-1992-PD and WLZR Milwaukee 1992-1993-MD ... oh and Jones Radio Networks Rock Alternative Format 1996-1997-OM.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
It was either the PGA Tour, radio or unemployed. I'm good at golf but not that good. I tried unemployed but my parents kicked me out several times, so radio was really a last resort. The truth of it is that I knew early on in my life that radio was calling my name. Growing up in Southern California I was exposed to "Shotgun" Tom Kelley on KCBQ-A and then later on B-100 FM. Ultimately it was listening to Jim Ladd on KMET. Jim was the one who really gave me the inspiration to give radio a real shot as a profession.
2. How does it feel to be back in Triple A radio again?
Well, let's see ... I've had no time to think since I've been back. Haley never takes her foot off the gas and therefore my foot is always on the gas. The calls from record promoters are non-stop. We're an independent station so the workload may be a bit larger ... and then there's this 10 question thing that some guy keeps calling about completing. :) The short answer is I LOVE IT!
3. You have a lot of history in the San Diego market, how has the radio landscape changed in recent years?
San Diego is an ever-evolving market like any other. San Diego is also an over-radioed market due to the signals coming into the city from Mexico and then there are those pesky Los Angeles flamethrowers. We now have seven Rock-based stations here and that doesn't include the Hot AC and two other ACs who play their fair share of rock. Did I mention the three Top 40s? The answer to the question is that there's a whole lotta contemporary music played on the radio in San Diego and that equals a big battle for ratings.
4. How much music overlap is there in the market?
See the answer to question 3! Here's an example ... there have been times when I'm driving around town and I'll hear something like Gotye on four different stations ... AT THE SAME TIME! It's a real focused effort on the part of KPRi to stay competitive and remain unique.
5. How would you describe the station's sound?
Solid. Haley has done a great job of positioning KPRi in a market that makes it very hard to stand out. If anything we've moved more toward pop. I would honestly say that when you hear KPRi, you know it's KPRi. We have a great balance of style and eras. Our on-air talent has a unique enough sound in relation to the market. Very much an approach of being your friend sitting next to you and keeping you company. We have been able to keep the true spirit of Triple A while carving out our own place.
6. What are some of your biggest challenges as an independent-owned station?
There are some challenges on the programming side in terms of getting our slice of the "artist" pie, but I think that the bigger challenge falls on the shoulders of our sales team. We don't have the five- or seven-station cluster to sell with, nor do we have a TV station to help muscle us up. That puts us in the position of having to be more creative when it comes to selling. With that increased creativity comes the need for more bodies than we have. See the challenge?
7. What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
How we're being measured comes to mind. Sorry but you can't convince me that the sample size used in a PPM market is anywhere close to large enough to get an accurate read on things. There are a handful of stations in each market (big cumers) who I would think are closer to getting a true rating, but if AWTE (TSL) is where you need some help; then things tend to get wacky. The nature of the ratings system seems to force a number of stations into playing the same songs (regardless of format) and poof, the "Gotye" syndrome is born! The "big black hole," as Haley refers to it.
Technology is certainly a big issue as well. That comes down to embracing and using it to support the on-air product but you already knew that, right?
8. What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
I'd like to think that I've always been fair, honest and respectful. Sometimes more so than others, but overall you know what you're getting with me. I love music and that love for music is why I continue to do what I do. The opportunity to turn people on to something new drives me in a large way. There's a lot of music out there to be heard, but as we know there's only so much space for a station like KPRI to expose it on the air. The one thing that you can count on with me is that when I'm behind an artist I really get behind that artist. It's from the heart ... tons of passion.
9. What is the best advice you would give to young programmers/promotion people?
Check your ego at the door. No matter how well you may be doing, at some point in your career there will be a time that it will come crashing down. Sometimes that crash is large and sometimes small, but regardless of the size, it's always better to have people around you to help pick you up. Those people will be there because you've been respectful to them.
The other thing that I'd say is to work your ass off. There are nowhere near the number of jobs in this industry as there were when I started 30 years ago ... and that number continues to shrink. The most driven and hardest working will most likely survive.
10. If you wanted to completely change careers today, what would you do?
Something involving video: It could be anything from creating highlight films for youth athletics to developing yet another reality TV show. I love every aspect of producing video.
Last non-industry job:
Worked at a record store (Licorice Pizza), but that's still kinda industry. Before that it was working as a courier picking up and delivering title deeds and eyeglasses. My last day at that job was when a woman pulled out in front of me and I T-boned her van. A broken leg and several stitches around my eye later and I was done.
First record ever purchased:
Elton John, Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player. I bought it for $3.33 at JC Penney.
Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Wishbone Ash. March 1976 at the San Diego Sports Arena.
Most impactful artists of all time:
The Beatles (my first exposure to music). Elton John (my first real love and appreciation of music). KISS (my first love of the entertainer associated with music). Rush and James Taylor (my first real connection with music that spoke to me both lyrically and technically).
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
What spare time? If I had some I'd be hanging with my wife and four-legged kids. Riding my mountain bike or my snowboard. Playing golf. Camping or kayaking. Watching NFL football or NHL hockey. Singing Karaoke or playing poker.