10 Questions with ... Jonathan Suttin
September 7, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin '90 -- The Badgers were actually bad in football and basketball during my time as a student ... City reporter for local news station in Madison (I was briefly a suspect in a murder because police didn't realize I was a reporter covering the funeral of the victim)...
Overnight jock in Madison -- Played a lot of Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond ... Part-time news desk assistant at WGN Chicago ... Feature reporter for KTRH Houston ... Morning guy at 1055 Triple M -- My plan was to stay here about three years and move on. Sixteen years later, I'm thrilled I never moved on.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
I turned on the radio when I was eight years old and heard Larry Lujack.
2. How would you describe the music on the station?
I get that question a lot at parties. We play songs from groups and solo artists you know like U2, R.E.M., Coldplay, David Gray, The Pretenders, Dave Matthews and John Mayer. We also play some of those new artists you like, but may not get the names right like Florence and the Machine, The Head and the Heart, Capital Cities, and Hozier. We also play artists who you've never heard, but will probably see playing for Jimmy Fallon or Conan in a few months like Elle King, Shakey Graves, Z.Z. Ward and X Ambassadors.
3. Tell us about morning show partner Kitty and how you two interact.
We've actually have never met. We both do the show from remote locations. Kidding! Actually, most people say we sound like we're brother and sister on the air. I pull her hair and she hides my toys. We've been doing the show for 16-plus years. Little-known fact: Kitty started working at the station before it was even on the air or close to it. She's been at Triple M for more than 20 years!
4. What are music meetings like at your station?
Our meetings would make Simon Cowell blush.
5. Will Gabby Parsons still have a show on Triple M?
Gabby will always have a place at Triple M. Mainly because she knows the alarm code. She plans on continuing her local show each Sunday night which is fantastic. In all seriousness, Gabby has been key in getting local musicians exposure on the station. We have a great local music scene here in Madison and Gabby is sure to highlight all the talent.
6. What are some of the station's annual benchmark promotions?
One of the biggest things we do is called Project M. Hundreds of local musicians have entered to be part of our competition. We choose eight local musicians who must write and perform a new song each and every week based on a challenge we provide. The event takes place for several weeks at a local bar and draws big crowds. The winner gets cash, a gig at Summerfest and a song added into rotation.
Another biggie is our Live from Studio M sessions. This is a unique blend of national and local artists who come to our station to play songs for a handful of lucky listeners. I've heard the guy from the Triple M who conducts the interviews does a pretty good job of getting the artists to open up and tell good stories.
7. What would surprise people most about the station?
The hot tub time machine we have in the basement.
8. What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
On a programming side, we must make sure we really connect with listeners. There are so many choices now when it comes to getting music. However, an iPod or Spotify is not local. Radio will remain relevant as long as the voice in between songs is entertaining and local. On the sales side, figuring out new ways to enhance a radio buy with good copy as well as a solid social media plan to help reach even more of our listeners.
9. What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
Your best show on the air wasn't as good as you thought it was and your worst show on the air wasn't as bad as you thought it was.
10. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without...
...some form of chocolate.
Last non-industry job:
I sold Muzak for eight months in the early '90s.
First record ever purchased:
Queen - News of the World. I think the album art was the main reason for the purchase.
Billy Joel Rosemont Horizon 1984. I got Christie Brinkley's autograph at the show.
Favorite band of all-time:
He's not really a band, but I'd have to go with James Taylor.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
Chasing my two-and-a-half year old around the house while trying to get my seven-month-old to sleep.