10 Questions with ... Tanch
January 13, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- Nights/Imaging WAJZ (Rhythmic) Albany, NY
- Nights/APD WFLY (Top-40) Albany, NY
- Nights (Voicetracked) WZRT (Top-40) Rutland, VT
- Middays/PD WAJZ (Rhythmic) Albany, NY
- Afternoons/PD Hot 99.1 (Urban) Albany, NY
- PD WQSH (Hot AC) Albany, NY
- Weekends WODS (Top-40) Boston, MA
1. How did you become interested in radio?
Like many of us, as a kid, I would record myself talking between songs on my favorite stations on a cassette player. I didn't have any real aspirations to be a jock at that time, though. I made the decision to pursue a career in some sort of broadcasting when entering my second year of college. At the time I was leaning towards television. But once the director of the school broke down the curriculums, radio made the most sense. I was the guy hosting all the pep rallies, school functions, etc. in high school. I also did our school's morning announcements, where I would write and perform songs and bits about our lunch ladies and school dances. The stoners who always came to school late actually started showing up on time just to hear what kind of wild stuff I'd incorporate into that morning's announcements.
2. Why did the company feel it made sense to launch a commercial Triple A in Albany?
The Albany market, in general, has a crazy amount of stations and formats, period. Capital Region listeners have a good variety of stations to choose from regardless of their favorite format(s). The one major void in the marketplace was Triple A, though. People above my pay grade did some research and found that the Capital Region would support and welcome the format, and it's my job to prove them right.
3. How would you describe the music on the station?
An eclectic, four-decade variety of rock, alternative and pop with a heavy classic rock lean. Throw in some great currents to balance everything out and you have The Peak.
4. How will it differ from sister WXPK "The Peak" in White Plains?
Right now, not much at all! Chris Herrmann has been a great resource throughout the launch process and helped school me on the format. If there's someone more passionate about the format they're programming, I'd love to meet him or her. People who follow my career were shocked when I announced the move to Triple A, with most labeling me as a "hip-hop" or "Top 40" guy. I'm a "RADIO" guy who's falling more in love with the Triple A format each day.
5. How do you feel about the current climate of music?
In the past few years I've put more stock in digital download research and have become less attached to your typical radio charts. If you're a programmer and you're not paying attention to that stuff, you're not paying attention to your audience. People are busy. Family and work are always going to come before music and radio in day-to-day life. When you have concrete (free) metrics showing you what songs people are taking precious time out of their day to load onto their computer, phone or iPod, why would you ignore it?
Very few people listen to one type of music. I don't think there's a better indicator of that than, for example, an iTunes Top 10. Look at it! Ya got everything from Lorde to Imagine Dragons, Katy Perry to On Republic, A Great Big World, Pitbull and Passenger all in there. If you don't have a few "WOW" songs on your station playlist that don't necessarily "fit the mold" of "what you do," your station is probably boring and flat. We live in a day where people may have Florida Georgia Line, The Beatles and Notorious B.I.G. all on the same playlist. Think outside of the box with your adds.
6. What is your biggest challenge launching a new format?
Considering this is the third station in the Albany market that I've launched in the past two years, that's a LOADED question (lol). Every station launch is different - the one major problem you can get yourself into is having too many cooks in the kitchen. The launch of The Peak has been smooth as silk. I have a GM, local owner, consultant (Tim Moore) and format/sister station leader that have all been here for me as a resource. It's nice to have a support system rather than puppet masters trying to pull me in every direction. From a format perspective, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Since the station and format are so unique, we're getting a lot of word-of-mouth around the region. I think we're already winning over a lot of potential P1s.
7. Has the station launched with a live air staff?
Station personalities have just started. We have Jim Steele, a local radio veteran, coming to us from the competition to hold down morning drive. I'll head up midday duties alongside extremely talented in-house jocks, Jackie Powell and John Harmon, filling the afternoon and night gaps.
8. Besides your own, what is your favorite radio format?
Sports! I have to give a shout-out to a guy who I was a huge fan of and eventually got to work in the same building with ... Bruce Jacobs (now doing fill-ins in the Phoenix and Tucson markets). You either love Bruce or you love to hate Bruce. And he's perfectly okay with that. Some find him abrasive and filter-less. I find him to be the most entertaining listen in radio, regardless if he's doing Sports or News-Talk.
9. What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
Take risks, take chances. If it doesn't work, chalk it up to experience and move on. Celebrate your successes and learn from your mistakes.
10. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ...
...Flavored iced tea and some sort of caffeinated beverage.
Last non-industry job:
The worst server in TGI Fridays' history!
First record ever purchased:
I think it was "Cuts Like a Knife" by Bryan Adams ... might've been something from the Beach Boys or Meat Loaf, though.
Live, Everlast and Our Lady Peace ... Not only was it my first concert but my dad got my sister and I front row pit tickets at the historic SPAC (Saratoga Performing Arts Center). Somehow my sister got us backstage for Live's set (get your head out of the gutter, she was 15).
Favorite band of all-time:
If I had to pick I'd say O.A.R. but Dispatch is a close second.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
Working! Well, sort of ... Dan Mason and Joe Breezy were kind of enough to hire me for weekends at CBS Radio's WODS - 103.3 AMP Radio in Boston. I drive out there (about a three-hour ride each way) to do a live show every Saturday from 12p-5p. The fact that I get to work for a top-10 station in a top-10 market is a treat, especially because it's the one time a week that I ONLY have to focus on my show, a.k.a., the "fun part."