10 Questions with ... Eileen Collier
December 4, 2012
1) Where and what was your first job in radio? Who are some of your mentors?
My first radio shift was at my college station, WUMR at Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis). I had every Wednesday night from 7-10p. My first commercial radio job was with WDIA. I always credit two men for giving me my start and believing in me enough to show me the ropes. They are Bobby O'Jay and Nate Bell.
2) If you were just starting out in radio, knowing now, what you didn't then, would you still do it? What would do you differently?
Without a doubt, I'd do it! This has actually been the best job I've ever had! I wouldn't change a thing because I believe that everything we experience equips us for what is to come. Without my past, I wouldn't be able to handle what I have to everyday.
3) What do you plan, if anything, to do differently that will give KJMS a ratings advantage?
I plan to stay the course while tweeking along the way. Just as all good programmers, I will keep my eye on the market and adjust accordingly. I have an outstanding staff that's not short on ideas. I plan to incorporate those more than I have in the past.
4) As a very successful programmer, what are some of the most challenging aspects of the job of programming then and now?
My biggest challenges are time management and delegation of responsibility! I program two stations, an UAC and a Gospel. While both require my attention, my APDs are talented enough to handle quite a bit of the load. I have always been one of those that would do it myself than explain it more than once to someone. Unfortunately, that gets a person stressed! I'm getting MUCH better at it though. To-do lists have become my friend! LOL ... Programming is a much more involved process now because we have so many more tools at our disposal to make decisions. Back in the day we had the trades to look at the charts, request lines and our gut. It actually takes time to plow through all of the sources that we have to choose from now.
5) How important are morning shows in 2012? Does it really matter if the morning show is live or syndicated, as long as it is connecting with the audience?
Morning shows are important, but they don't hold the weight that they used to. I have Tom Joyner on KJMS and he is #1 in the market and on WHAL, I have a local morning show and they are #2. It doesn't matter, just as long as the show is compelling, relatable and they give the info that the audience wants.
6) Because of callout research are today's urban programmers going to be even 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 KJMS?
I don't think research is the cause of a station being slow in adding music because a lot of them don't even have it. For UAC stations, it's a matter of making sure your audience KNOWS the music. Familiarity is the key. The amount of spins is hard to put a real number on because I have Tom Joyner in the morning, Keith Sweat at night and Premium Choice overnight. My spin count encompasses them all. My powers, that I program, will get max 30 spins.
7) Do you think today's radio/record label relationship is in a good place where both have a better understanding of each other's goals?
No, I don't. With the reduction of record label staffs, there is a bit of disconnect. There aren't as many reps to cover all stations and the few reps that are working have so many stations, I can imagine that it's hard for them to effectively service them. I have a good relationship with most of my labels.
8) What's your read on the format music wise nowadays and how do you feel about the future of Urban radio?
I am speaking on UAC and is strong right now. I do see it leaning to the younger end, though, with artists like Trey Songz and Elle Varner. They have great music, you can't deny that, but I am hearing new and old, adult artist coming along.
9) Is Urban radio moving swiftly enough in keeping pace with outside media pure plan competitors attempting to invade its space, especially given the streaming options growing in auto dashboards?
Programmers just have to be creative enough to compete with those other music entities. Radio is what it is and always have been. To keep it moving forward, there has to be a visionary at the helm.
10) As you look back over your career ... any regrets? Missed opportunities?
No regrets. I am very thankful that God has allowed me this journey. I have learned a lot, experienced a lot and have become a well rounded individual because of it.
What would people who think they know Eileen Collier be surprised to learn about you?
I like musical theater ... I used to be in a singing group called Cachet in the '90s
What's the most essential tool you have?
My cell phone ... because if I didn't have it, I wouldn't be able to contact anyone. I don't know anyone's number by heart! These phones have just made us dumb! LOL
49ers and Grizzlies
What is your favorite beverage?
Do you feel that Urban stations should support new artists?
Of course we should. That is the only way to keep the station fresh! We should also embrace good local artists.