10 Questions with ... Matt Stone
July 21, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I was 15 years old and I landed an opportunity to join the local radio station by doing play-by-play at high school football games for our small town AM. Then I moved to the studio on Sunday mornings producing AT 40 with Casey Kasem on the FM and hunting programs on the AM station. Yes, deer hunting programs. It was a small country town in rural PA. A few months later, I graduated to my first show: "The Sunday Morning Polka Party." When the night girl on the FM Top 40 moved off to college, I was given my first FM air shift at 16. I got bit by the radio bug. Then I found my way working across the country on-air and programming from State College PA, to Albany, Pensacola, Tupelo, Fort Walton Beach, Asheville, NC, Santa Barbara CA, and San Diego. Most recently I was the Dir./Programming for three FMs on The Big Island of Hawaii.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
I have always been super into music. I was into radio before I knew what it really was. My mom reminds me of being a very young kid where I would play DJ for parties my parents were having. I took request and gave the guests details about the songs they were hearing. I always researched the artists that I listened to. I was show-prepping before I knew what it was! I was that kid that always called a radio station to request songs. I always voted on the "smash it or trash it"shows. Yeah ... I was (and still am) a radio nerd.
2. Is this your first time programming a Triple A station?
In my opinion, Triple A is really in the eye of the beholder. KRUZ in Santa Barbara walked a very fine line with Triple A and Hot AC titles while I was programming there. More recently, in Hawaii, while we billed it as Alternative, our station had a very Adult and unique lean to it.
3. The station has taken a female target approach over the past couple of years. Can we assume the station will continue in that direction?
I would say we shouldn't assume anything at this point. We are going to put the focus on being the best Adult Rock station for San Diego that we can be.
4. How has San Diego changed since the last time you programmed there?
The competitive landscape has completely changed. Jack and KYXY both made the move to Hot AC. My old stomping grounds at CBS have turned from Hot AC to a thriving Top 40. Even both of the Alternatives have made significant changes to their products.
5. How much music overlap is there in the market?
When you have as many stations as we do here in San Diego, there is bound to be some overlap, but lately it has become a lot. When you have formats that are a bit similar to begin with, as Hot AC, Alternative and Triple A, there is quite a bit of format overlapping. For example, there are eight stations in the market playing Imagine Dragons. I would say that is a lot of overlap.
6. What do you think of the current state of the Triple A format?
PPM is forcing the format into a more Mainstream direction, for sure. If PPM didn't exist, the chart would look a lot different.
7. What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
Itself. Radio has taken away all the reasons that make us a better option than iTunes, Pandora or Spotify. DJs talking for less than 60 seconds in an hour and saying nothing in their 10-second talk breaks. Stations waiting to add new music until it is "safe." Local elements are all but gone. Then on top of that, we will hit you with a six-minute commercial break and think nothing of it. The industry as a whole needs to adapt but not in the corporate way.
8. Of all the skills you have gained through the years, is there an area you'd like to improve?
Of course there are. I'd like to improve in just about every aspect of what I do. My first station manager, John Salter in Pennsylvania, always said "The day you feel like you're great at what you do, is the day you stop working to improve." That always stuck with me. No matter how good today's show was or how good the music log was, tomorrow's can ALWAYS be better.
9. Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?
There are two pop songs that I just can't get enough of right now ... I will bump "Latch" by Disclosure loud and proud. I also really dig the Chromeo tune.
10. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ....
I know it's probably the typical answer, but music. Plain and simple. I would go nuts if I didn't have a way to listen to music every single day!
Last non-industry job:
Thankfully I can say I never had a real job. I just show up and do what I love every day.
First record ever purchased:
First record I bought with my own loot ... I think I was 10 and it was Snoop Dogg - Doggystyle. Singing, "With my mind on my money and my money on my mind." Yeah,. I remember bumping it after my parents went to sleep.
Oddly enough, it was with a bunch of my mom's friends and they took me to see Reba McIntire. I was seven or eight. From what I remember, she had a pretty cool show, at least from a kid's point of view. What I remember most is that she had a ton of different outfits.
Favorite band of all-time:
This is the most difficult question of them all. It's so tough to narrow something down like that. I really spend a lot of time with different styles. My top three are: Elvis Costello, Pink Floyd and Air.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
Family. Pets. The outdoors. The beach.