10 Questions with ... Dylan Benefield
December 2, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
This may sound funny, but I'm a radio lifer. I started in radio around 10 years old; I worked with the promotion crew putting up banners at the KPND-sponsored Great Northern Bluegrass festival. In high school I ran the board for multiple syndicate shows (before automations) and I did reel-to-reel syncs (start one four-hour music reel and stop another). I also board oped for KPND's sister AM station KSPT during high school football games. After that I went college briefly and made my way back to radio and began to running Talk radio programming and operations for Blue Sky Broadcasting. After 10 years I was promoted to OM and began working with the sales and promotions staff entire for the group. In 2004 I was promoted to GM and GSM. And now we have six radio stations, and 30 full and part-time employees. In 2014 we will even be in process of turning a new HD2 fed translator to start up a new Hard rock format in outlying (Sandpoint) portion of the Spokane market.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
I grew up in radio!
2. How would you describe the music on the station?
We have a resort town (mountain vibe) to KPND's sound. We play a nice balance of jam bands, reggae, singer/songwriters, blues, and heritage rock 'n roll that fits our style of Triple A.
3. Tell us how you balance the programming between Spokane and Sandpoint.
Alright this will take minute ... The balance from the metro side of market to outlying portion is very unique. KPND has been around since 1980 and started as a local (Sandpoint) commercial FM with the community in mind. This continued until the early '90s when the CC granted a facility update. The transmitter was moved up to a nearby ski resort (Schweitzer Mountain) and this put KPND on the map as a regional North Idaho radio station. Many Spokanites travel to North Idaho for their recreation snow and sun. They would often say, "We love your station while we are in Sandpoint and lose it on our way home"
So we continued to explore moving the stick closer to Spokane to increase the signal. In 2008 we made yet another move to get more signal into Spokane and Coeur D Alene. Once we made the move of the 95.3 signal, there was reduced coverage in Sandpoint. To solve that problem we put the KPND brand on an existing frequency in Sandpoint at 106.7. That signal now super-serves the outlying market of Sandpoint with local news, weather, entertainment and most importantly, different spots sets. The 95.3 signal is left to cover the metro. In turn we have one big Triple A brand build to cover the entire market but not forget about where it originated. (Did I answer your question?)
4. What is your biggest challenge at the station?
Making in-studios work. With the KPND studio's 80 miles from downtown Spokane we have to work closely with the artists, labels, management and promoters by using the strong partnerships we have build with them over the years. We appreciate all that have helped and been involved from the beginning.
5. Tell us a bit about your staff.
I have a great staff. We have a solid morning show with Jonny Knight, mid-\days with Glenn Lefay, mid-afternoon with MD and radio pro Diane Michaels. Market vet Uncle Larry holds down afternoon drive and we wrap up the day with longtime Triple A jock and Promotion Dir. Marie McCallister.
6. If you could add any one full-time position to your budget, what would it be?
A web design and graphics pro ... that would be real nice.
7. What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
Radio stations need to create long-term partnerships and get results for their accounts. For us, continuing to be live and local is the key to success. The worst thing that I hear happening on the street today are businesses using radio and getting little to no results and then they are turned off on the medium. Mostly because they go with a group that does not care about the term of their partnership -- just on the initial buy.
8. Tell us about the new studios/office expansion.
A few years back we embarked on a vision to consolidate two offices into one. Working from the existing broadcast building (a re-modeled house in 1979) we have created one new much larger state-of-the-art facility. All sales, traffic and accounting are now in the same building as the old studios. Along with five new studios, KPND will boast a roomy 300-square-foot studio. Complete with all new components and even a turntable just for the fun of it. We will also have on-site a 20-25 person live performance studio. Stay tuned for the new performance studio name and completion date.
9. What is your typical day like?
I'm up at 7a, going through e-mails and phone calls and setting up my day. At the station by 9ish dealing with all things radio all day, and hopefully done by around 6p.
10. If you wanted to completely change careers today, what would you do?
I would find a job that actually has closing times...
Last non-industry job:
I worked in a lumber mill, swing shift (not fun).
First record ever purchased:
Stray Cats - Rant n' Rave
Sawyer Brown 1991
Favorite band of all-time:
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
I enjoy time with my family recreating in and around the mountains and lakes in the region. Coaching youth tackle football has become a new fun pastime away from radio as well.