10 Questions with ... Stan Branson
August 2, 2011
1) What was your first job in radio? Early influences?
My first radio job was WJSU on the campus of Jackson State University . I was hired as a weekend overnight jock at WJMI in 1978. My early influences included Michael Payne and Earnest L. James (WABQ/Cleveland), Frankie Crocker (WBLS/New York) and Byron McGregor (CKLW/Windsor) .
2) What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
Radio and TV was been my focus since high school. I was a jock in high school and the classes were always easy for me. I probably should be a brain surgeon, but I chose the path of least resistance.
3) If you were just starting out in radio, knowing now what you didn't then, would you still do it?
I think I was made for radio ... and radio was made for me!
4) Although both WJMI and WKXI have done very well over the last few years, how do you feel about the current ratings systems? And do you have any thoughts on PPM?
The PPM will replace diaries in all market over the next 10 years; however, there will have to be major refinements in the way the system is administered and data is collected. They will have to figure out how to eliminate interference from the equation.
5) What's your take on radio currently? Is it as good as six months ago, better, or about the same?
Radio is about the same as six months ago, but it has changed drastically over the past six years. The landscape as changed in terms of competition. Now terrestrial radio has to compete with XM, Sirius-XM, the Internet, iPods and new and different formats make the challenge to keep listeners longer a greater challenge.
6) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
Being on top, being the best at what you do, makes you stand out.
7) What changes have you have to make recently in order to stay on top of your game and competitive?
First and foremost, I have to make sure all the administrative work that has to be done is completed on time -- and then I have to make sure everybody else is doing what they are supposed to do.
8) Of all the skills you have gained through the years, is there an area you'd like to improve?
I need to be more organized.
9) How well do you think today's Urban broadcasters really understand Arbitron?
Not as well as we should. This game we play is based on those numbers we get from Arbitron and the better we know it, the better we can play. It's a constant study.
10) As you look back over your career ... any regrets? Missed opportunities?
No regrets, but I do occasionally have a few second thoughts. I wonder what might have happened if I had gone to Memphis in 1983 when they put WHRK (K97) on the air? Where would I be now? I also sometimes think about the offer I got from Columbus, OH in the '90s? These are just thoughts. But overall, I'm happy here in Jackson.
What do you do with a song you don't like?
Unless it's a big song on the charts I do nothing with it!
What's the best liner you've ever heard?
WBLS New York ("The first with the best ... WBLS!")
Describe your favorite meal?
Soul food (fried chicken, mashed potatoes, turnip greens and corn bread and sweet potato pie).