10 Questions with ... Kristen Kurtis
October 22, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I attended Emerson College as an Audio/Radio major and Marketing minor, where I hosted and coordinated the Coffeehouse (morning drive) on WERS until my junior year, when I was hired as swing-shift talent at WBOS. Two years later (and nine months after graduating), I was hired for afternoons on sister Hot AC station KZZU/Spokane -- and then became PD at sister station KEZE/Spokane. I have since gone to KGSR/Austin as MD and now APD/MD.
1. You have been in Austin for over a year now, how have you made the adjustment?
Quickly, easily and well! The first time I set foot in Austin (for my interview June '11), it felt like the "home" I've been searching for. People here are welcoming and encouraging; there is something going on every night of the week; my husband turned me into a foodie and the restaurants here are to die for, there is a surprising comedy community that I'd like to get involved in, and of course, the live music scene is unbeatable - plus I'm always cold, so I am LOVING the TX weather. We feel like we belong here and never want to leave.
2. With Chris Edge now gone, you are serving as interim PD - how has your daily routine changed?
Time certainly seems to move a lot faster now. I get here earlier, and have more meetings and conversations in general. I'm itching for everything to feel normal and familiar again -- that probably won't happen for another couple months at least. First step: Get a binder and get organized!
3. How would you describe the music on the station these days after the programming adjustment?
We're kind of a Hot AC in Triple A clothing now with about 350 songs in the active library. We pull/add songs from Hot AC that don't feel overly produced and won't turn off males (One Republic, Colbie Caillat), venture into Alternative territory that's female-friendly (Muse, the Black Keys), and have some exclusive Triple A material (Michael Kiwanuka, Alabama Shakes).
4. How do you treat your nights differently than during the day?
This is where we play the majority of our new music (6p-5a), with an hour dedicated to new music at 10p Mon-Thurs.
5. How has that improved the station's standing in the ratings?
We saw a significant rise in the ratings starting in the spring, especially with persons 18-34 and men 25-54. Before the adjustments we hovered around 15th but over the summer we enjoyed being around the top 5 (and even top 3 for certain dayparts and demos). KGSR has always traditionally done better during the summer than any other time of year, so we've got our fingers crossed as we start receiving numbers for the fall.
6. How do you stay in tune with your audience?
Airplay Intel analyzes our Mscores and turns them into retention data for us. Those numbers don't start rolling in until six weeks after we add a song, so before then it's local sales, feedback, and gut. I also like monitoring which songs made people text the word LAST to our short code, which sends them back the artist and title of the last three songs we played.
7. What stations do you like to keep track of?
KTCZ, KAMX, KINK, KFOG, KBCO and KPRI.
8. Besides your own, what is your favorite radio format?
Noncomm and Alternative.
9. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Right here, hopefully! And delving further into voiceover work.
10. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ...
... at least 10 minutes of silence!
Last non-industry job:
FUNusual, a wacky store in the tourist trap that is Faneuil Hall in Boston, MA
First record ever purchased:
No Doubt - Tragic Kingdom
A Y100 (WPLY) Sonic Session with FUEL in a Philadelphia recording studio
Favorite band of all-time:
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
Continuing to discover Austin, singing, pilates, watching too much TV, taking improv classes.
What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
Busting your butt and being in the right place at the right time will take you anywhere.
What is your biggest challenge at the station?
Being patient with the K-GeeSeRs that are still unhappy it's not the '90s anymore