10 Questions with ... Brion O' Brion
August 16, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
PD/APD, KBCE/KMXH/Alexandria, LA; MD, WOCQ/Salisbury/Ocean City, MD; MD, WZEB/Salisbury-Ocean City, MD; MD, WVKL/Norfolk; APD/MD, WQJH/Salisbury-Ocean City, MD; MD, WSBY/Salisbury-Ocean City, MD; A.T./WTMG/Gainesville, FL; A.T./Wichita, KS; A.T./WLVH/Savannah, GA; A.T./WWAC/Atlantic City, NJ; A.T./WWST/Charleston, SC.
1) Where and what was your first job in radio? Early influences?
My first radio job was in Greenville, SC, at WHYZ-A/WHYZ. Early influences were Rick Party, Earl Boston and Don "Early Byrd" Allen, just to name a few.
2) If you were just starting out in radio, knowing now what you didn't then, would you still do it?
Yep, in a heartbeat, I would just prepare myself for some of the downsizing I have incurred in my career.
3) Does anything surprise you along the lines of new media platforms in terms of effectiveness with the audience?
4) How you prefer to be promoted on new records? And how do you feel about playing local artists' records or would you still prefer to wait until the research validates it?
I still like to be called by record labels to promote me on new records. I prefer my gut, but I do understand the importance of research.
5) With the current trend toward talent importation and voicetracking, it feels like we're at the end of an era of fundamentals and the dawn of a new paradigm. How do future personalities continue to maintain relevance? Who's going to train them?
Personalities can maintain relevance by not giving up on their dreams. There are still a few stations out there that don't all voicetrack; you just have to not give up and find them. There are still a few of us that love to train personalities how to be great. In my position here at WKJX, I am doing that now with my night jock Lady C.
6) Because of callout research, are today's Urban and Urban AC programmers going to be slower in adding and playing new music? And what is the maximum number of spins a record in power rotation could be expected to receive in a given week on your stations?
Fifty to 60, maybe.
7) Of all the skills you have gained through the years, is there an area you'd like to improve?
Organizational skills. Sometimes my desk can be a mess, but I do know where everything is. lol
8) What's your read on the format music wise nowadays?
The music is starting to all sound the same, with all the same artists on everyone's records, such as Drake, Lil' Wayne, etc....
9) As you assess the financial shape of the industry today, are traditional budgetary expectations still taking precedent too often over the investment on the product and human resources channeled into it?
10) As you look back over your career ... any regrets? Missed opportunities?
I have one regret and missed opportunity. I was once offered a job in Columbus, Ohio, but I declined the offer and took a job in Charleston, SC. One of the worst mistakes I EVER made.
What would people who think they know Brion O'Brion be surprised to know about you?
That I don't jump from job to job, like everyone thinks I do. I was downsized several times over the last few years, but us radio folks who are in the communications business do not communicate. They just assume things without talking to you to find out what really happened.
What the best piece of advice that someone has ever given you that you still use on a daily basis?
My mentor once told me to aircheck everyday, because your best show can always be your last one. (Rick Party)
Well I have two -- pro football, the Pittsburgh Steelers, of cours,e and college, The Florida Gators. If you are not a GATOR fan, you're GATOR bait. :) lol
What's been your biggest disappointment in radio today?
Automation and downsizing. I've been caught in downsizing SEVERAL times in my career. And people just do not have the passion to learn like we did back in the day.
What's your favorite reading material?
Allaccess.com (cheap plug)