10 Questions with ... Kelly Mac
May 29, 2012
1) Where and what was your first job in radio?
I started off in 1999 at WENZ and WZAK in Cleveland where I served as a part-time receptionist and used the opportunity to get my foot in the door. I worked countless unpaid hours, voicing commercials and helping out in programming and promotions to gain the experience and knowledge I needed to succeed later in my career. Eventually I was named the Programming Assistant/Music Coordinator of both WENZ and WZAK ... and was later granted a shot on the air.
2) Mentors and/or early influences?
I grew up listening to Pop station 92.3 in Cleveland and also the legendary WZAK with Kim Johnson, Kim Sellars, Lyn Tolliver and Ralph Poole. I remember listening to the radio on my Sony Walkman on the playground and on the bus rather than socializing with the other kids. Furthermore, Sam Sylk and Olivia Foxx are both on-air personalities I always enjoyed, respected and aspired after.
3) How would you describe your new role at Clear Channel Radio/Philadelphia?
It's very busy and intense! There's never a dull moment and I can never predict a day! From creating and executing new promotions to scheduling and selecting the music for both stations, there's always plenty to do, including lots of meetings, research, conference calls, weekly ratings (PPM), aircheck sessions, station monitoring sessions and the list goes on and on!
4) Does anything surprise you along the lines of new media platforms in terms of effectiveness with the audience?
Social media has changed the game and if you don't learn, understand or become an active part of it, you're setting your station up to fail. Social media is soooo POWERFUL and plays a key role in sending people back to the radio and to the station's website.
5) How you prefer to be promoted on new records? And how do you feel about playing local Philadelphia artists' records ... or would you still prefer to wait until the research validates it?
I prefer meeting with the reps on my music days and reviewing music with them in my office. If that's not an option, I encourage reps to text or e-mail me their top-three priorities by 10:30a Tuesday mornings so I will have it for my 11a music meeting. Collectively as a team, we review new music and I provide feedback afterwards.
We support local artists and local music. Shout-outs to Jill Scott, Musiq Soul Child, Meek Millz, Young Chris, Boyz II Men, Patti Labelle and Jazmine Sullivan. They're all from Philly and they're very supportive of both stations! As far as upcoming artists, we love them to and we're currently supporting them with an Underground Project, where we've chosen 13 local artists/groups that will be interviewed (behind the scenes) and will perform in our performance studio and featured on the web. From there, the community can go online and check out their pics, bios, music and performances and leave comments/feedback.
6) How do feel about Arbitron's PPM? Is it going to make a difference in how music is scheduled?
PPM is like getting a book every week! WOW! It's about actual listening and no longer about the branding and brainwashing effect! I'm very proud of our team for understanding PPM and being able to still produce great numbers in the PPM world. I do feel like there are a lot of kinks to be worked out in the PPM world -- especially amongst ethnic meter holders (it would be nice to have more meters out there!)
7) Because of callout research do you feel today's Urban and Urban AC programmers may be slower to add and play 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?
I love research, but it's not the BIBLE! I believe in using research as a tool, selecting music with a team (interns included) and I still believe in my gut reaction. At Power we have seven "Powers" and they spin an average of 55-65 times per week. WDAS has Premium Choice overnights, Steve Harvey in the morning, Michael Baisden in the afternoon and a Quiet Storm Show at night, so the power rotations on WDAS average 18-25 spins a week.
8) Of all the skills you have gained through the years, is there an area you'd like to improve?
I'd like to improve my tolerance level for drama and BS ... and acquire better time management skills.
9) As you assess the financial shape of the industry today, are traditional budgetary expectations still taking precedent too often over the investment of the product and human resources channeled into it? And who is going to train Urban broadcasters in the future?
I think I'll pass on those two questions.
10) As you look back over your career ... any regrets? Missed opportunities?
NOPE! I believe everything happens for a reason ... GOOD and BAD!
What would people who think they know Kelly Mac be surprised to know about you?
I'm going to open up and run my own Group Home one day!
What the best piece of advice that someone has ever given you that you still use on a daily basis?
"Choose your battles wisely and don't try to fight them all!"
Name the one gadget you can't live without.
My iPhone 4 and iPad!
At what store would you max out your credit card?
NONE! I hate debt! Other than a car, a house, necessary medical treatment or an emergency, I don't buy it unless I have the cash to do so! FINANCIALLY, I AM VERY DISCIPLINED!
How important are contests to ratings success?
I feel they're essential if they're relatable and compelling. If not, I believe in depending on great programming, music and talented personalities to deliver excitement and content opposed to just throwing something together to give away on-air!