10 Questions with ... Hillary Gordon
July 11, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Started out in 2000 at KJEE in Santa Barbara, CA.Went on to KFRC/KMVQ in San Francisco, brief stint at Rhino/Reprise in L.A., back to Santa Barbara at KRUZ and KRRF and am currently at KBXR/Columbia, MO.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
I'm one of those people who knew at a pretty early age that I wanted to be involved in radio. I would listen to local stations in Ventura and Oxnard for hours and hours, and as an 8/9/10-year-old would call the stations and beg them to put me on the air to do shout-outs (Not annoying at all). As I grew up, music became an even bigger part of my life and my love for radio continued, as did the hours and hours of listening. When I was 16 I saw a picture of Tami Heidi (then of KROQ) with Billy Corgan and that was it; my career was chosen.
2. Who were/are your mentors?
Steve Meade from KJEE, who gave me some simple and good advice as a teenager: Ask for what you want; don't expect it to just come to you. So I asked for my first paying gig at KJEE and got it. He's continued to give me great life and radio advice all these years.
Emily Boldon -- The woman is a force and has always impressed and encouraged me. It's wonderful to have a strong, smart, successful and personable woman in radio to look up to.
Chris Kellogg -- my current OM. It's refreshing to see someone who has been in the game for so long be excited to show up to work and do a radio show every day. He's smart and driven and understands the human element of this business.
3. How would you describe the music on the station?
KBXR is a mix of Alternative, blues, some smart-pop, folk, a little Classic Rock and lots of new stuff our listeners probably haven't heard of. There's heavy-hitters like U2 and The Chili Peppers, and there's up-and-comers like Leon Bridges and Kaleo. Then there's what I consider to be the Triple A definers -- The Lumineers, The Head and The Heart, Mumford & Sons and the like.
4. How are your music meetings conducted?
We don't have formal music meetings. We have weekly and daily new- music features so all of us are listening to new music all the time. We can air the new songs on the features to get a feel for how our audience reacts. I hole up in the studio for a few hours a week and listen for good fits for KBXR. I keep an eye on the charts and use that information as well.
5. What new acts are you most excited about?
It's been so fun to watch Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats gain some national attention. Nathaniel Rateliff grew up in this area so we like to claim them ... and it's been great watching them rise. I'm also loving The Revivalists, The Cactus Blossoms, Margaret Glaspy, Declan McKenna and have recently been obsessed with Frightened Rabbit.
6. KBXR has been in the Triple A format for decades. How has the station evolved?
The format has evolved and KBXR has evolved right along with it. When KBXR started back in 1993 it leaned a lot more Classic Rock. Over the years, as things have shifted, we've moved away from the Classic Rock and have incorporated a lot more Alternative and even some pop elements. In the last few years particularly, Triple A has been able to share with so many formats. KBXR is often the first in the market to play a massive hit that eventually crosses over. Triple A is such a fun and ever-changing format.
7. How do you stay in tune with your audience?
We have a very strong, music-loving, opinionated and vocal audience. They're not afraid to tell us what they like and dislike, which, as a programmer I really appreciate. It also helps that KBXR's staff IS the audience. We're all local, living in Columbia and we all love the format. We're out in the community, going to the shows, listening to the same music our audience is.
8. What is your typical day like?
Every day is different. But it always starts with me getting up before the sun and doing a morning show with my co-host, Simon Rose. After that I track for a "102 minutes of commercial-free" music show. Then it's whatever comes my way. Promotions meetings, listening to music, writing and producing imaging, meetings with clients, music logs, etc.
9. Where do you see yourself in five years?
I really don't know, which I think is exciting. I do know I'll still be listening to music, wherever that may be!
10. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ...
... my iPhone. I'm addicted.
Last non-industry job:
I was the office manager at The L.A. Times
First record ever purchased:
With my own money? Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill.
My dad took me to see Paula Abdul at the Great Western Forum in LA in 1991. I still have the ticket stub.
Favorite band of all-time:
Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins and Indigo Girls are tied.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
Catching live music whenever I can, which luckily is pretty often. Columbia has a great trail system I like to spend lots of time on, weather permitting. I mostly just like spending time with friends and family and fly home to California every chance I get.