10 Questions with ... Chad A. Miller
January 25, 2016
1. How did you become interested in radio?
By always listening to the radio as a kid and getting in the habit of following current music and always keeping up with it. Throughout high school, I kept collecting CDs of my favorite artists, slowly building up a strong collection from there. By my senior year of high school, I was picked to do morning announcements to start off the school day and during that time, I was that kid who always called in to WRQK (Rock 107fm)/Canton (a station I'd eventually end up interning at and later working at), requesting songs and always asking when they would actually be played so that I could "tape them off the radio" from my boom box radio I had.
During that time, I also would call in during the "Top Ten at 10" weeknight countdown and record intros for the songs, too. I had really befriended Rock 107's evening deejay Alfonzo Riley (now afternoon-drive host at KRWM/Seattle) who worked me into becoming an intern there and as they say, the rest is history ... if you will...
2. You must be excited transitioning from volunteer to full-time MD/host!
Finally! Yes, after four-and-a-half years of volunteering, I'm beyond excited to get back in this industry and work with not just all my friends here at The Summit, but everyone from the label contacts, local promoters and bands who will be passing through the area with their travels.
3. How would you describe the music on the station -- especially since PD Brad Savage has joined the station?
We were in talks as soon as he was brought on board in October about revisiting and refreshing some of the music library and seeing what makes sense as far as both currents and library cuts. Appealing to people like us in our late 30s by getting more '90s and '00s songs in the Summit's archives, but also revisiting some of the other '70s and '80s songs to appeal to older generations. It's being done in baby steps thus far, but has already received positive feedback from our members. Lots of our Studio C sessions have come our way since October as well which has raised the station's profile tremendously in the industry!
4. How much music overlap is there in the market?
Very little overlap actually, which is great! Aside from the crossover acts like Adele, Twenty-One Pilots, X Ambassadors, etc; we own the market with a vast majority of the current songs we play here on The Summit. With no Modern Rock radio station really in Akron, Youngstown, Cleveland and northeast Ohio in general, we're truly paving the way for new music discovery and curation in our market, which is something both Brad and I are very excited to position ourselves as leaders of in our part of the world.
5. What new acts are you most excited about?
Oh man, where to begin? I'm always into any new music that's coming out in the Triple A, Alternative and indie rock genres. Really lookin' forward to seeing if Radiohead drops a surprise album out of the sky like they've been known to do. I'm very excited to also see if bands such as Haim, Band of Horses, The Strokes, Real Estate, Ray LaMontagne, and others do as well. Also, anytime that Pearl Jam, My Morning Jacket and Wilco tour in the area, they're all appointment viewing for me every single time.
6. What would surprise people most about the station?
That it's literally in an old school building!
7. What are the biggest challenges facing public radio today?
I would say mostly awareness. Specifically, in how we differ from commercial radio and with that, the freedom it allows us, especially with the perks of membership privileges. With so much overplayed mass-appeal music that gets played everywhere, just simply reminding people out there that these public radio stations have a much more tailored selection available for the serious fan of music is a big thing to be screaming from the mountaintops to all the music connoisseurs out there.
8. Besides your own, what is your favorite radio format?
Being the music nerd that I am, I've really been following a lot of indie rock the last few years. It may get stereotyped as "weird" or "obscure," but a lot of it can include some very memorable, catchy, and just plain different songs. In this world of such diverse music that exists nowadays, I always enjoy finding something entirely different than what is normal and sharing it with friends thereby letting them in on a little secret ... if you will.
9. What's the best piece of advice anyone's ever given you?
Best piece of advice for me was given in the very early days of my first job in radio at WRQK by then-evening host Alfonzo Riley who in summing up what we do in radio: "Sell the music, sell the station." Which, yeah ... pretty much sums it up.
10. If you wanted to completely change careers today, what would you do?
I just officially got back into radio after a nearly five-year hiatus, I'm not about to change careers again! Even though my previous job as a liquor sales rep was fun, I'm so happy to be working back in radio at a local radio station I've been a fan of and listener of for over a decade. Especially as the music director, where I can help shape the musical landscape of The Summit for years to come.
Last non-industry job:
Liquor sales rep for North American Wine & Spirits representing Diageo and Moet-Hennessy brands in the Akron/Canton, Ohio area
First record ever purchased:
(Vinyl...) The first six albums on vinyl by Pearl Jam at the old Spin More record store in Kent, OH during my college days at Kent State University
Page and Plant 10/16/95 at Gund Arena in Cleveland, Ohio
Favorite band of all-time:
Pearl Jam, who I've seen 17 times in concert and looking forward to more with their just announced spring and summer 2016 tour
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
Collecting vinyl, taking naps, making lists of stuff (which appeals to my meticulous nature), and adding to my concert poster collection that, honestly, is raging out of control.