10 Questions with ... Mike Luoma
January 31, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
College Radio at WWPV at St. Michael's College, Winooski, VT 1983-1987. WIZN/Burlington (AOR/Classic Rock) 1988 - 2006 from overnights to nights to mMiddays and from AMD to MD to PD to Creative Dir. The Point - Production Manager and afternoon drive 2006-2009 and now The Point MD since May 2010
1. How did you become interested in radio?
Two things: Listening to the radio growing up. I used to love listening to Harvey Warfield on the old WAAF - "Supreme Allied Commander In Chief of the Rock and Roll Air Force" ... "Trying not to fall in" ... "Maintaining equilibrium" ... I can still hear his catchphrases in my head. And a TV show! WKRP in Cincinnati!
2. Who are your mentors?
I'm kind of DIY...
3. It is my understanding you have been in the Burlington/Vermont market for some time. How would you describe how things have changed over the years?
I've watched the market grow oversaturated with signals ... saw Clear Channel come in and change everyone's business models for the worse and then leave; saw programming grow blander, less locally responsive and more homogenized. I'm very lucky to have landed at The Point, which has been bucking these trends. Had the good fortune of getting a voicemail from my friend, Trey Anastasio of Phish, the other day. He'd just landed back in Vermont and heard me on The Point for the first time - and called to say it "warmed his heart" to hear me on "the last great radio station in Vermont!" That kind of says it all.
4. What has been your biggest career highlight?
Seeing Phish go from a bar band to where they are now has been pretty cool. I have the distinction of being the first DJ to ever play them on the radio!
5. What new bands are you most excited about?
Well, I've been looking back at my "Best Of" for 2010, and they're similar - The Gaslight Anthem, The Rescues, MGMT, The Avett Brothers ... loving the new Johnny Flynn album, too.
6. Describe the music meeting you and PD Zeb Norris have each week.
We draw the blinds, turn on the black light and ... just kidding! We bring our PM-driver and Production man Kevin McCaul in, too. I bring in a bunch of songs -- some I believe in, others I see stories building on. Zeb brings in songs -- so does Kevin -- and we listen. We talk a lot about what we're hearing on other stations, in other media, on TV, YouTube. Boiling it WAY down? I bring the passion and Zeb says NO. And that's hard for him because he's passionate about music, too, but he IS the PD.
7. What is your typical day like?
Leave the house in Burlington around 8a - drive down 89 to Montpelier for 9a - Voicetrack about half the show by 10a - do production/catch-up around the office until 11a - live on-air 11a - 1p - Lunch from 1p to 2p - music scheduling, production, calls and meetings 2p to around 6p - back up 89 to Burlington for around 7p.
8. Of all the skills you have gained through the years, is there an area you'd like to improve?
All areas. Anyone who thinks they can't improve in every aspect of their job is kidding themselves.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _________?
Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. Luckily, Green Mountain Coffee loves us.
10. What's the best piece of advice anyone's ever given you? The worst?
For the best, I'm torn between my Mom saying, "Ask ... the worst they can do is say NO" and my Dad who told me to "Follow My Dreams" -- this advice works well together, though my folks didn't. Worst? Can't remember ... probably forgot it!
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
Creating new worlds, building the future. I've managed to eliminate the concept of "spare" time in my life, actually by pursuing a career as a science fiction and comic book writer when I'm not working on the radio. I also narrate my own audio books. Some people get married, have kids ... I make books -- see: http://glowinthedarkradio.com
Last non-industry job:
Last job before radio was as the manager of a small convenience store in downtown Burlington called the "Daily News."
First record ever purchased:
I think it was Steve Forbert's "Romeo's Tune" 45
Kiss at the Providence Civic Center in 1979 ... New England opened.
Favorite band of all-time:
Tough to say! If forced to, I'd say Jethro Tull