10 Questions with ... John Monds
January 29, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WRRZ/Clinton, NC (high school)
- WOOW/Greenville, NC (college)
- WKTK/Baltimore (still in college)
- WBSB (B104)/Baltimore (with Joel Denver as PD)
- WKRQ (Q102)/Cincinnati
- KMJQ (MAJIC 102)/Houston
- WQHT/New York (The original Hot 103 prior to frequency switch to Hot 97)
- WUSL/Philadelphia (Power 99, afternoons and MD)
- KKBT/Los Angeles (afternoons, mornings, MD, PD)
- WHUR/Washington, DC (mornings with Monique as co-host)
- KRBV/Los Angeles
- WRRX Pensacola,. Fl.
1) What was your first job in radio? Early influences?
WRRZ in Clinton, N.C. I followed some upper-classmen friends into a Radio class. They all graduated; I had two more years of high school and wound up doing news, weather, farm reports and obituaries during my junior year. That led to a four-hour after-school shift Monday through Friday during my senior year.
I grew up listening to Dan Ingram, George Michael, John "Records" Landecker and Spider Harrison late at night.
2) Aside from your obvious, incredible multi-format voice talent, what led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
The after-school class I mentioned led me to radio. It was an action by a college classmate and my older sister who told me this is it. After high school and making about $80 a week, I thought this is not what I want to do. I met a girl in college whose brother ran a local station in Greenville, NC, who talked me into meeting him. He hired me. I sent tapes of me to my sister in Baltimore for my nephews. She decided to take one of the tapes to WKTK. The PD called me several times -- with me hanging up the phone, thinking that my roommates were playing a joke. He must have really been interested because he kept calling and I wound up taking the job. I realized then that the business had chosen me.
3) If you were just starting out in radio, knowing now what you didn't then, would you still do it?
I would still do it, but would take more advantage of the opportunities that being on the radio offers.
4) Where do you see yourself and the industry five years from now?
Video did not kill the radio star, but Internet radio and syndication are certainly putting a hurt on radio as we knew it. Programming or running a major-market station or a very successful Internet station owned by me.
5) Since you've been both a successful programmer and an air personality going back to when you were programming, how did you feel about a record that you personally hear that somehow research doesn't validate?
I understand why things are this way, so I dealt with it. It is what it is.
6) How do you feel about syndication? Does it affect significantly on the number of hours that you have control over the music that you play?
Having been syndicated, I have no problem with it. But it does create a problem for the young broadcasters trying to get into the business.
7) Do you feel that Urban and Urban AC stations should support new artists? Or is the risk too great for stations to air a local artist at home first?
It depends on the market and the competitive situation. I personally would love for Urban radio to be able to support deserving local artists. It would be nice to support the established artists that have aged, kind of in the manner that Rock formats still give love to The Stones, The Who, Paul McCartney, etc. I had this conversation with Anita Baker a few years ago. Why is it that we tend to turn our backs on R&B legends so quickly?
8) Of all the skills you have gained through the years, is there an area you'd like to improve?
I'm working on my production skills again.
9) Do you feel that Urban stations should be more careful not to blindly copy formats, but tailor them specifically to the age and racial makeup of their own markets?
I believe you shouldn't necessarily just try to copy what worked in another market. Every market is different. You should try to develop a custom designed format for that market at that time and this give it the time it needs to develop.
10) As you look back over your career, any regrets? Missed opportunities?
I think leaving "The Monds Squad" with Bonnie Deshong and George Willborn at WVAZ (V103) in Chicago might have been a mistake. We had a nice run of about six years. We should have pushed for syndication.
What would people who think they know John Monds be surprised to know about you?
I've been married to the same woman for over 20 years!
Describe your favorite meal ... restaurant.
No favorite restaurant, but I find it hard to pass on some really good North Carolina BBQ
You just won the lotto and you have your boss on the line. What's the first thing that you would say?
I used to say that I would still come to work and probably not tell anyone, but these days, I would move to Paris or Jamaica and have my own Internet station.