10 Questions with ... Donald St. Sauveur
October 21, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Started at a small 3,000-watt station after graduating from BU in1987. Worked for Buckley Broadcasting in sales in Hartford, CT. Later became a VP/Sales for Interep's Major-Market Radio in Boston. Later joined CBS as an NSM for Oldies 103. In 1996 became Dir./National Sales for American Radio Systems Boston cluster. Later when Entercom purchased the stations in 1998, I became a GSM of WRKO (Talk) and then 93-7 Mike FM (Adult Hits) before returning to the role Of Dir./National Sales for Entercom Boston. In November of 2008 I joined Northeast Broadcasting as the GM of WXRV.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
I had multiple internships at a number of TV stations in Boston while I attended Boston University's College of Commuincations in the '80s. My best "internship" was as a waiter and bartender in Boston. For some reason, the radio reps I waited on always seemed more fun than the TV reps. I took up an offer to interview for a sales position for a new radio station, and 26 years later I'm glad I did.
2. The River has gone through many permutations, how would you describe the current music mix on the station?
I've been working in Boston radio since 1991. I remember the day the River signed on in 1995. I've been a huge fan since the beginning. I'd say the current mix of music still celebrates music discovery first and foremost. There's certainly a lot of new currents and recurrents each hour. The biggest change started in May of 2012 when Matt Phipps become the MD. Matt increased the tempo of the radio station dramatically. With the demise of Boston's iconic Alt station ('FNX) later that summer, the River took advantage of this format hole in the marketplace. The River certainly increased the amount of indie-learning and alternative music since the summer of 2012. There's less slow tempo singer/songwriter music on the station these days. There's also a lot less Classic Rock (Stones, Beatles, Who, etc.) and more Classic Alternative (R.E.M., Talking Heads, New Order, Cure, Psychedelic Furs, etc). We also worked with Mike Henry (Paragon Media) and decided that the on-air hosts' content breaks should really focus on "new" "deep" and "local" ties to the music and Boston.
3. What are music meetings like at your station?
Collaborative. Fun. Chaotic. Matt and I really try to consider it all. Matt's got a wonderful ear and I'm very pragmatic and analytical. We make a pretty good team. It's a left brain + right brain collaboration.
4. Tell us about some of the station's benchmark promotions.
The biggest is our annual Riverfront Music Festival in Newburyport, MA. It's a wonderful venue - Waterfront Park overlooking the Merrimack River in the North Shore of Boston. Over 10,000 fans enjoy six hours of free music. This year the lineup included a homegrown artist named AJ Edwards. He won a YouTube "battle of the bands" contest earlier this year. We also featured a new band named Satellite, Brett Dennen, The Lone Bellow and local Boston boy done good - Matt Nathanson. My favorite station event is coming up on Saturday, November 16th. It's called RiverFeast. It's a benefit concert featuring Boston's own Guster at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium. All net proceeds benefit the Greater Boston Food Bank.
5. The station reaches many markets, how do you differentiate between them? Or do you?
The station's moniker is Boston's Independent Radio. So while the station does reach all of the greater Boston metro, the station's dominant signal also reaches southern New Hampshire markets like Nashua and Manchester as well as the NH seacoast market of Portsmouth. We really try to be actively involved in all of these communities and support a number of concerts, festivals and charity-related fund raisers throughout the year. We also have a very active Ski & Ride program in the winter, which keeps us very engaged with our Boston and New Hampshire listeners on the slopes. The River is also rebroadcast in the Lakes and Mountains region of NH on WLKC/105.7 the River and in the North Central region of Massachusetts on WFNX/99.1 the River (we took on the calls of 'FNX on April Fool's Day 2013. We love to tell everyone we're 99.1% WFNX at the top of each hour. But truthfully, the River owes a lot of its success to 'FNX and the path that iconic station blazed in Boston radio).
6. What do you think of the current state of the Triple A format?
Couldn't be a more exciting time (musically) to be involved with this format.
7. What are some of your biggest challenges as an independent station?
There really aren't any. We want for nothing.
8. Besides your own, what is your favorite radio format?
I'm a huge NPR fan. Love "All Things Considered" and I never miss "Marketplace".
9. If you could add any one full-time position to your budget with no questions asked, what would it be?
A Graphic Designer/Photographer/Videographer/Social Media/Web specialist
10. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ...
Last non-industry job:
Bartender and waiter at Davio's Ristorante in Boston
First record ever purchased:
Styx, "The Grand Illusion"
J. Geils Band, Springfield, MA
Favorite band of all-time:
What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
Perception is reality