10 Questions with ... Jay Hicks
October 15, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WJLB/Detroit, Promotion Assistant - 1997-2000
- WQHH/Lansing, MI, APD/MD/night jock - 2002-2010
- In 2007, I was named to The Conclave 30 - Under 30.
1) Where and what was your first job in radio? Who influenced you early in your career?
I worked with WJLB/Detroit as a promotions assistant; I counted hundreds of T-shirts a day and reported directly to the Promotions Manager. I grew up listening to Mason in the Morning, my Big Sister Cortney Hicks, Bushman and Big Tigger.
2) If you were just starting out in radio, knowing now, what you didn't then, would you still do it?
Absolutely! I love this game.
3) Does anything surprise you along the lines of new media platforms in terms of effectiveness with the audience?
Yes, the fact that social media has become more addictive than some drugs. It's very effective, but to capitalize on it you must understand the dynamics of the platform and how to communicate within it.
4) How you prefer to be promoted on new records? And how do you feel about playing local artists' records, or would you still prefer to wait until the research validates it?
Hitting me on my music day is the best way to promote the new record. If it's a local artist, I would do my homework on the artist and the song. I would find out how familiar DJs, interns and staff are with the record, and is it buzzing in the market?
5) With the current trend toward talent importation and voice tracking, it feels like we're at the end of an era of fundamentals and the dawn of a new paradigm. How do future personalities continue to maintain relevance? Who's going to train them?
Future personalities need to be more observant. Get out of their world and into the world of their listeners. What are they talking about; eating, tweeting, texting, and the most important thing -- find out what they don't like. They will have to train themselves, build their brand and connect with a PD or on-air personality who can help them.
6) Because of callout research, are today's Urban and Urban AC programmers going to be 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 WGPR?
Yes. A power record here will get about 100 spins with mix shows and all. We are live from the clubs five nights a week.
7) Of all the skills you have gained through the years, is there an area you'd like to improve?
Improving my Selector skills. I will master it!
8) What's your read on the format music-wise nowadays?
The music is narrow. Artists speaking on the same things; the music needs to grow from a production side.
9) As you assess the financial shape of the industry today, are traditional budgetary expectations still taking precedent too often over the investment on the product and human resources channeled into it?
This is a business. You will just have to be more creative to make the product compelling and buzzworthy. Radio has learned how to do more with less, which helps us survive in a tough economy, and it has no choice but to continue. It's the nature of the beast.
10) As you look back over your career ... any regrets? Missed opportunities?
None at all.
What the best piece of advice that someone has ever given you that you still use on a daily basis?
Find out what the Golden Rule is!
Describe your favorite meal?
A corn beef omelet from "Hollywood" Coney Island, on Grand River and Evergreen (off da hook)
At what store would you max out your credit card?
Name the one gadget you can't live without.
Most annoying thing people ask you.
"Why does radio play the same songs over and over again?"