10 Questions with ... JJ Solomon "Mr. 7 O'Clock"
October 4, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Afternoon drive for Tony Q in Wilmington, Delaware at WJKS - Kiss 101.7 (September 2004 til May 2005) when I debuted, I tripled the ratings. (listen to the aircheck here - http://soundcloud.com/jjsolomon/jj-solomon-on-kiss-101-7-wjks-fm-in-wilmington-delaware-hosting-afternoons-in-2005
Discovering my love of R&B Radio through the insight of Mark McCray in West Palm Beach. I was focused heavily on Urban and Hip-Hop radio when I applied to X1023 in West Palm Beach in 2006 (June 2006 to Nov. 2006) . When I got there, I got a chance to do some shows on the sister Urban AC station B106-3...
Listen to the aircheck here - http://soundcloud.com/jjsolomon/sets/jj-solomon-airchecks-from-b1063-wnew-fm-west-palm-beach-florida
Current job description to include both on-air and off-air duties.
- My current job as Acting Music Director (since March 2011) is to assist Steve Crumbley in picking MONSTER R&B hits like:
- Beyonce - Love On Top
- Mary J. Blige - 25/8
- Ledisi feat. Jahiem - Let's Stay Together
- Monica - Until Its Gone
- Eric Benet - Real Love
- Tank - I Can't Make You Love Me
- Charlie Wilson - Life of The Party
- Jennifer Hudson - No One Gonna Love You
- And DJ Kool (yes Mr. Let me Clear My Throat - DJ Kool - Party Goin On)
Night Show Host of 107-3 JAMZ. I have been since February of 2008. I debuted in the Spring 2008 Arbitron with a 31 share. (larger than the Gospel and Joyner here)
1) Where and what was your first job in radio? Early influences?
First radio job was at WAMO-A (then known as WYJZ-A 860) after school as a board operator. My boss was Hurricane Dave (now OM of Radio One Atlanta)
2) How different is Greenville from Pittsburgh?
Hard to compare as I never worked full-time on a shift like this one in my hometown. I was more behind-the-scenes and part-time on-air vs. full-time-plus on-air here. This compares more to Wilmington, Delawar, as I can relate to the market awareness and off-air connection of regularity like newscasters on TV expect. I saw a hint of that when I was filling in afternoon drive for B106-3 and the instant reaction to my personality on the airwaves for three weeks.
3) Does anything surprise you along the lines of new media platforms in terms of effectiveness with the audience?
No. Simply because the computer has become almost single-handedly the most important in-studio element in radio in the last 20 years, social media is the #1 way to interact with traditionally non-vocal P1s and P2s. One way communication is fast becoming two-way interactive. On my night show I stream live on our Facebook so technically you can watch your favorite night show and interact, not just on the traditional request line (864) 271-1073, but you can leave a Facebook comment/request or even chat. Why don't you watch tonight - http://www.facebook.com/1073jamz or http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=126630137392261 or (broadcasting live at http://ustre.am/8KFn)
4) How you prefer to be promoted on new records?
I like to see the bubble and buzz of a new record. I like to see the raw demand, like for this new Beyonce record - "Love On Top" or how the Ledisi/Jahiem - "Let's Stay Together" (like the Lloyd - "Lay it Down" did last year) resonated with adults. Even regional songs like K-Wang, and Big Robb (http://www.facebook.com/heybiggrobb); his performance from September here in Anderson on Soundcloud. http://soundcloud.com/jjsolomon/biggrobbperformingatclub1421wa ) had a song which, in one way, updated the O'Jays "Family Reunion" song - a song he did with Shirley Murdock, called "Family Reunion" ... which was our station's family reunion theme for the past two years ... here it is - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPnyjbwIw74
And how do you feel about playing local Greenville artists' records or would you still prefer to wait until the research validates it?
Well, I agree with Steve that if it has the sound of a major release, it needs to meet the same quality and demand standards. How you go about picking the songs which get that chance ... a never ending process. Research, once it's played will validate. A local singer, based in our metro, opened up for a summer street festival called Spring Fling -- who's also getting airplay in Charlotte, her name is Lexxi Banx (http://www.facebook.com/WHOISLEXXIBANX).
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?
Networking with veterans. Paying attention to trends. Veterans have walked through changing technologies and can provide insight on how to handle what looks new, but really isn't new under the sun. Who's going to train them? Like William Becton says, "Be encouraged - in times like these, a self-discipline is required to teach one's self." To work for free and be available when jobs like that were usually left for college students and high school kids (both of which I was getting into radio). Nowadays you have to be available even if you have worked on-air previously, so you can learn the systems that you want to be a part of again. I seem to have taken on a role of unofficial future trainer, and I don't mind because good knowledge going in your mind early on will produce good long-term results. (I learned how to splice audio in 1993 from now-ESPN Sports anchor Jay Harris. In 1993, he was the morning news anchor for WAMO/ Pittsburgh.
6) Because of callout research are today's Urban and Urban AC programmers going to be slower in adding and playing new music?
Not if they don't want to be left behind. Between the various cable TV networks, national and local competition and social media, new songs are everywhere faster. You don't want to miss the boat, but Steve taught me this, and in my three years (coming on four here) I have seen that your audience won't miss a bad record if you don't play it. 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. Between 18 and 40 makes you top 10 in the Upstate on JAMZ!
7) Of all the skills you have gained through the years, is there an area you'd like to improve?
Being this long term in my personal relationship life. I always seem to work at radio longer than be in love with someone. I may never know...
8) What's your read on the format, music-wise, nowadays?
It's the new Top 40. Exclusive and now dominant in the PPM world. Kind of like Top 40 so...
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?
Not here at Cox Media. I've honestly made a lot of personal gains financially and have had tools (like our social media stance) given to my disposal. It's a great solid experience. November 1, 2011 will be four years!
10) As you look back over your career ... any regrets? Missed opportunities?
None. I am truly thankful. I think in my 10 Questions from Nov 6 2008, I said, "I thought too long about the night show opening at Kiss 102 in Wilmington, NC when I was doing afternoons at Kiss 101.7 in Wilmington, Delaware." In hindsight, I don't have any regrets. It all did happen or didn't happen in God's plan. "As I look back over my life and think things over, I can truly say that I've been blessed ... I have a testimony!"
What would people who think they know JJ Solomon be surprised to know about you?
I am a social media expert; I love interacting with people where they are ... on Ustream, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, radio, TV, the streets, the clubs, and stores they hang out...
How can Urban radio best bridge the gap that exists with the younger/future listener base that exists today?
For one, listen to Steve Crumbley's definition of Urban Radio: "It's what JAMZ is. Not too old , not to young, and classy." (Wait, wasn't that Urban radio of the '80s and '90s, too? I'm not the expert ... Steve is, and e-mail him about it ... firstname.lastname@example.org
Listen to the station now here: http://streaming.1073jamz.com/_players/coxradio/index.php?callsign=WJMZFM
See it on Facebook here : http://www.facebook.com/1073jamz
What the best piece of advice that someone has ever given you that you still use on a daily basis?
Finish what you start. Always remain humble and teachable. Always be accountable. Always improve your best. Don't be rude.
Name the one gadget you can't live without.
My Blackberry with enterprise (station) e-mail. E-mail me email@example.com I'll get it :)
(Seasonal) Steelers (by default - born in Steeler Country :))
What's been your biggest disappointment in radio today?
Not enough hungry humble beginners. More and more people are ready to step in and replace superstars without the humble grind that got the superstar where they are today.