10 Questions with ... Derrick D. Brown
November 1, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Emmis Research, 1986; WFKX/Jackson, TN 1989-90; WJOL/Joliet, IL 1990-95, WGCI-A & F/Chicago 1993-1996; WLIT/Chicago 1996-99; WHQT/Miami 1999-2005; KDJM Denver 2005 -2006; WKYS 2006 -2006; WVAZ/WGCI/WGRB 2007-present.
1) What was your first job in radio? Early influences?
I did research at Emmis Broadcasting. I gathered data for the launches of Hot 103 (now Hot 97) in New York and Power 106 in Los Angeles. My earliest influences were the jocks at WJPC in Chicago, such as Tom Joyner, Richard Steele, LaDonna Tittle and the late Richard Pegue.
2) What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
As a kid, I was taken by the energy and enthusiasm of the air personalities and the great music they played. I just had to be part of it.
3) If you were just starting out in radio, knowing now what you didn't then, would you still do it?
4) What career path would you be following had it not been for this industry?
5) What was the first record/CD you purchased?
I bought the 45s of Barry White's "It's Ecstasy," and "Lovely Day" by Bill Withers at the same time.
6) Where do you see the industry and yourself five years from now?
Continue to develop as a programmer and expanding my knowledge.
7) Have music file-sharing services affected the way you program to your audiences?
It's been nothing but positive. We have to work harder to find hits, which is a good thing. Plus, there is so much Old School music out of print, file sharing is a good source to locate some of these lost gems -- and affords us the opportunity to make them new again.
8) How is the relationship between programmer and record label changing? For better or worse?
It continues to get better. With consolidation now affecting both sides of the fence, we're finally realizing we need each other more than ever.
9) Other than those on your current staffs at WVAZ, WGCI and WGRB who are some of the favorite air personalities you remember from the other markets in the past?
The Big Phat Morning Show (Marc Clarke, Marva and Troy Johnson) at 92Q/Baltimore and Russ Parr at WKYS in Washington
10) What is your favorite radio station outside of the market and why?
Heart 106.2/London, U.K. It's a refreshing mix of AC, pop and R&B ... a true Rhythmic AC.
Besides your own, what is your favorite radio format?
Adult pop standards. I'm talking Sinatra, Nat "King" Cole, Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow, Johnny Mathis and more. The music is absolutely timeless.
What format does not exist that should? Would it work?
Urban Adult Album Alternative. There is a lot of great music and artists that don't get mass airplay due to the fact they don't have the promotional firepower from the big labels. In addition, Urban AAAs could go deeper into major artists' CDs instead of what a label's priorities may be. Only two stations I know of come close to being Urban AAAs, --WHUR/Washington and XM's "The Flow -- Channel 61." I don't see this format working in Miami, but it could do well in New York, D.C., Philly and Detroit.
What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
I refuse to pigeonhole myself. I've got to be flexible and versatile enough to execute any format.
I've got to shout out my mentors: Dr. Jerry Boulding, WALR & WBTS/Atlanta GM Tony Kidd, REACH Media VP/Programming Operations Steve Harris, XM Radio "Real Jazz" programmer Maxx Myrick, Syndication One Network PD Lee Michaels, KEZK/KYKY St. Louis PD Mark Edwards, KXKL/Denver afternoon host Cha Cha Chavez, KOA/Denver executive producer & CABJ Pres. Amani Ali, former KKDA & KRNB/Dallas OM Sam Weaver, consultant Harry Lyles, Radio One/DC OM Kathy Brown ... you've all blessed more than you'll ever know.