10 Questions with ... Mark Sovel
October 29, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started as an intern at the seminal FM rocker WABX/Detroit in the last days of its AOR life. I started a free-form music show on WCAR-A, then landed on-air at WABX when it was a "New Music" format in the early '80s. That was followed by a stint at WLBS/Detroit as a "New Music" format and later at WDTX. In L.A., I did stints at 100.3 when it was "The Cutting Edge of Rock" and also at Y-107. I was fortunate to be the founding MD at Indie 103.1 where I was on-air, local music host and the producer of Jonesy's Jukebox (with Sex Pistol's Steve Jones)
1. How did you become interested in radio?
Not sure how it started but by 6th grade I was doing the "morning announcements" at my elementary school. In high school, I used my newspaper column as an excuse to go interview one of my heroes, Arthur Penhallow at WRIF (This is when Fred Jacobs was the PD). The fact that Arthur sat there in a production studio after his shift to chat with a high school newspaper kid is something I never forgot. Detroit had a great Rock radio tradition. At one point there was FOUR AORs and those legendary jocks (Sky Daniels being another at W4!) were my inspiration.
2. I know you are new there, but how would you describe the music on KCSN?
The music has been evolving, and it's been fun to pull lists together. Sky has a lot of great deep "oh wow" album cuts that never get heard on Classic Rock ... and there's also gold from the Indie format that I worked at Indie 103.1. The currents are taking the form of a progressive/Indie-leaning Triple A with a nod to our Americana and Roots legacy.
3. Are you excited to find a new home with Triple A?
Certainly and it's an honor to be here working with Sky Daniels, who was a legendary figure to me on W4 Detroit. I don't get hung up on the definition of Triple A; to me good music is good music. I enjoy being able to spread my wings and throw down a Neil Young or Hendrix track -- can't do that at Alternative. I enjoy making a stink, and right now the Triple A format is more progressive than the Alternative format. It's more fun to be adventurous.
4. You are at a station with some tremendous talent - you must be excited!
Yes, I consider myself an extremely fortunate individual to be included on a team with such legends as Sky Daniels, Jed the Fish and Nic Harcourt. Nic just started weekday mornings and the music has been very invigorating. I think we are going to having some fun here.
5. What are the music meetings like at your station?
We don't have a set procedure. Usually we will both listen to the same list of songs separately, then confer with one another afterwards.
6. Tell us about your Saturday show on the station.
The show is called "City of Night." It's a three-hour freeform program where I play "new music, local music, and music from the legends." This is a way to get early spins on new songs, show support for local artists and it is great fun pulling out deep album cuts from classic like the Stones and Pink Floyd to Buddy Holly or The Pixies and Radiohead. Essentially it's a free-form version of our current format, but all hopped up on goofballs.
7. What new bands are you most excited about?
Twin Shadow should already be huge; Diamond Rings is great. There are also a lot of great local L.A. bands we plan on supporting, but no need to tip our hand.
8. What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
Good music trumps everything, and I love radio people.
9. Besides your own, what is your favorite radio format?
I find myself listening to NPR news.
10. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ...
Last non-industry job:
I was editing demo reels for actors.
First record ever purchased:
Alice Cooper, "Billion Dollar Babies"
Jethro Tull (Bursting Out tour) w/ Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson at Cobo Hall.
Favorite band of all-time:
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
I've been doing sculpture. Just cast my first bronze!