10 Questions with ... Stacy Owen
February 29, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Was part of the team that created one of the first Triple A stations in the country, WNKU, at Northern KY University. Left MD position there to become WFPK's APD. I hosted mid- mornings and played an integral role in founding and organizing the annual NonCommvention - a national convention for non-commercial Triple A radio stations. As WFPK PD, my focus has been to build a strong community around a talented and passionate programming team and produce and book our award-winning WFPK Waterfront Wednesday concert series, among other events.
1. How long have you been at WFPK?
Just celebrated my 16th anniversary!
2. It is exciting to hear the station has been Triple A for 20 years! Tell us about that.
It was a dramatic switch from Classical to Triple A in 1996. Our listeners and members trust us to curate a mix of music they're passionate enough about to support directly with their hard-earned dollars. That blows me away! Early on it was seen as a grand experiment. Today it's a proven format and that's been very gratifying.
3. How has the station evolved over that time?
We haven't let ourselves get stuck in a rut. I don't want us to sound like a 1990s Triple A in 2016. So as the years progress, we've become less songwriter-focused and more alt and college leaning, while throwing in some hip-hop, world and other genres that spice up the mix.
4. What plans do you have for celebrating this year?
In January (our anniversary month), we celebrated with an evening of performances from some of our favorite Louisville bands at the 1,400-seat Brown Theater.
We'll be out and about in the community more this year. We're presenting a speakeasy series at the Frazier History Museum and just did a live video stream of a members-only show at Butchertown Grocery, an awesome new venue in town. I also hope to book some bigger names for our waterfront shows.
5. WFPK was one of the first Triple A noncoms to have a first-class studio and performance room. How did that come about so early?
It was all part of the merger of the three public radio stations in town in the mid '90s. Louisville Public Media's building also houses an NPR News/Talk (WFPL) and Classical station (WUOL). The community got behind the capitol campaign in a big way allowing us to move into this beautiful building in the black. LPM is still one of only a few non-profit radio groups in the country to combine staff and resources.
6. What are the main venues in town that you work with?
Headliners Music Hall, Zanzabar, The New Vintage, Kentucky Center for the Arts, Louisville Palace and Mercury Ballroom.
7. The station has always done well during fund drives. Any insights on how that happens?
We're always trying new ways to engage and educate our listeners; not just during fund drives, but all year round. The sustainer program has worked incredibly well for us; 60% of our members give ongoing monthly contributions, and their membership renews automatically every year!
8. Besides your own, what is your favorite radio format?
I enjoy listening to all-volunteer community radio. I love the anticipation of tuning in and not knowing if you'll hear a train wreck or something sublime. One of my faves is WAIF in Cincinnati. It's been around since 1975!
9. What is the best advice you would give to young programmers/promotion people?
Don't sweat the small stuff. Deal calmly with your day-to-day so you retain the energy and focus you need to accomplish your goals.
10. What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
Never fear change.
Last non-industry job:
Desk clerk at Days Inn motel
First record ever purchased:
Peter Frampton - Frampton Comes Alive!
Shaun Cassidy at Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati. My best friend and I were 13 ... big deal when Mom dropped us off on our own!
Favorite band of all-time:
Then ... Beatles. Now ... My Morning Jacket.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
I'm a movie buff, fan of live shows and never miss an episode of The Walking Dead.