10 Questions with ... Maurice DeVoe
April 17, 2012
1) Where and what was your first job in radio? Early influences?
Jefferson Ward gave me my first real break in this industry and was the first PD I worked with who had the passion and understanding of what make a radio station successful. He's been a great mentor in this business and I still keep in touch in touch with him. He's someone I know I can lean on; growing up in this business he was definitely a great role model for me.
2) Did he influence you as an air personality, as a programmer or both?
Both. He definitely influenced me as a jock. When I first got to WAEB in Allentown, PA, he was my PD. He molded me into this versatile, crossover jock I am today.
3) You're familiar with the growing-shedding theory and the danger, particularly for Urban AC stations, that listeners will grow right out of the saleable demos. The challenge is how to get new, young listeners to become P1s of the format. What are your thoughts on that?
The key is understanding the lower or younger end of your audience and realizing that your station also has to grow. You can't discard the younger end of the 25-54 demo because that's your future. So you have to make sure that you adapt and also cater to them while growing your radio station. With Urban AC, as the audience can be very broad, you have to find a way to bring in that 30-year-olds, knowing that the music that they listen to may not have been The Isley Brothers or the Ohio Players. It may have been Jodeci or R Kelly. You've got to find a way to make sure that those types of titles or artists are integrated within your station.
4) You oversee quite a few Urban , Urban AC, Gospel and Rhythmic stations for Cumulus. How many stations is that currently?
Right now it's about 30 stations combined.
5) Many of your stations are doing well. You're doing well in Mobile with WBLX and WDLT. You're doing well in Flint with WDZZ, where August Wallace is PD/on-air, just to mention a few. Is this gig sometimes more a burden than you thought it would be when you first took over, or did you always know it was going to be a lot of work?
I always knew it was going to be a lot of work. That's one of the reasons I took the job. I continue to have regular discussions with our SVP/Programming Michael McVay about the expectations of the company and the job. I felt I had a pretty good work ethic and I love all the day-to-day challenges; it's what motivates me.
6) What do you say to motivate your PDs when you talk with them?
When I talk to my PDs, I stress that we must have a great work ethic to stay at that #1 spot. No one's going to give it to us. Everybody's fighting for it, but we've got a stellar group of PDs who have a great work ethic, who want to win and are very passionate about their job. That's why we dominate in the ratings in most of our markets.
7) Is there a place within the Cumulus Media Group for someone who has the talent and passion to come and grow and develop? Not that you have any immediate openings, but looking down the road, when you do have an opening, what type of people are you looking for?
Our company is always looking for talented programmers and air personalities.
8) When you do have an opening what type of people are you looking for?
Our company, Cumulus Media, is always striving to be one the best-run radio companies in the world. There will always be opportunities for those who work hard and have a genuine passion for this business and can contribute in a positive way.
9) How do you see yourself presently from a career standpoint?
Well, I'm a career radio guy. I know I've been doing this for a while, but I'm still growing and learning a lot. Our SVP/Programming Jan Jeffries and our COO John Dickey have really challenged me and given me the opportunity to grow in this company. They've also taught me a lot and have helped me become a better programmer.
10) What's down the road for Maurice DeVoe?
In the future I just want to learn as much as I can and grow as an individual. I also want the opportunity to help others grow in our industry.