10 Questions with ... Tim "Minnesota Fattz" Snell
October 29, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
WRDW/Augusta; WEBB/Baltimore; WTHB/Augusta; WFXE/Columbus, GA; WFXA/Augusta
1) What was your first job in radio?
Overnights at WRDW/Augusta.
2) What led you to a career in radio and who were some of your early influences?
I would come to visit my grandmother in Augusta during summer breaks from school, and I met a friend who was in radio. I always wanted to meet James Brown, so I would hang out with him at the station and he asked, "Would you like to give radio a try," and I said no. He convinced me that I had personality and a decent voice, so I should go for it.
He introduced me to the PD and the rest is history. But after a week, I didn't see my name on the schedule anymore. The PD said I wasn't good enough. Even at that point, when I was let go from the station, I had never met Mr. Brown. A week later he asked the PD, "What happen to that kid who worked overnights," and the PD said, "He's not with us anymore." So Mr. Brown said, "Get him on the phone and put him back on the air. He's going to be something one day." So here I am today.
Early influences would start with "The Godfather Of Soul" James Brown, who gave me my first job at his radio station. After that it would be Frankie Crocker, Be Be De Banana, Tom Joyner, Jerry Boulding and Jeff Foxx.
3) When did you know that you had a calling and talent for doing mornings?
At first I really didn't know. I was sort of thrown in that day-part when a jock didn't show for work. I went in and did the basics; later I started developing more and more chemistry.
4) Who were your best teachers?
Carl Conner, James Alexander, Jeff Foxx, Tom Joyner, Buddy Carr.
5) If you were just starting out in radio, knowing now what you didn't then, would you still do it?
Yes, and I would not look back. Being in a market like Augusta as long as I have, it's been a blessing. I've seen some of the best talent come and go.
6) Where do you see yourself and the industry five years from now?
Hopefully, in a bigger situation with Clear Channel. It's a great company with some many opportunities to advance. Or, hopefully, "Fattz Chicken & Waffles."
7) Even though Augusta is still a diary market, how do you feel about the PPM replacing the diary?
I personally feel it's a good system once all the kinks are worked out. It's going to change the game and the way we think, whether it's programming or sales. As PDs, we have to rise to the occasion.
8) How you feel about being asked to wait on a record you hear until the research validates it?
Sometimes you feel that this is a hit, so why wait. That can be a little sticky sometimes. It's not like it was "back in the day," when it was all about your gut. I believe in research; it has a major impact on the decisions we make today, but sometimes you have to mix a little gut in with it.
9) If the current trend continues what is going to happen to the training of tomorrow's talent and programmers if the current trend continues?
We have to stay the course and stay at the top of our game as talent and programmers. If you're currently out of the business, just stay close to what's happening. We must continue find a way to reinvent ourselves. If not, our future in radio will not last.
10) How do you feel about syndication and voicetracking?
Syndication has put some of us out of jobs and that's not a good thing. Local talents must deliver our best. When the mic opens, it's "Star Time" -- and you've got to deliver "compelling content," more than just calls and frequency. I look at it just like when you go to a concert. When you hit the stage, you've got to bring it. Your first impression must be your best, and every break must count.
You have to be fresh and relatable to your audience. You have a lot of good talent who lost jobs to syndication, but if you got a good live and local morning/afternoon show that's doing all the right things, it's hard to beat. I like voicetracking only in certain situations. Everything has its place.
What adjustments have you had to make in order to do mornings and program in Augusta and not let either one suffer?
Fifteen-hour days are light for me. Waking up at 4a doing a morning show, then doing PD duties and leaving at 9p. That's passion and dedication. You must stay on top of your game and keep the balance.
Of all the skills you have gained through the years, is there an area you'd like to improve?
I'd like to be a little better on time management. We're getting there, though.
Programming terrestrial radio is very challenging in today's ultra-competitive, multi-media marketplace. What do you believe to be Urban radio's greatest programming challenges?
We're in a very competitive world today, not to mention in our own perspective markets. Against satellite radio, iPods etc, we have to be at our best at all times. Some of us can't adjust to change, but we must in order to keep up with the challenges we're facing in this industry. Clothes change, hairstyles change. Are you ready to change, too?
What would people who think they know you be surprised to find out about Minnesota Fattz?
That I am very shy. Listening to me on the radio, with all the fun things I do on the air, they would be very surprised to learn that I'm really very shy.
What's been your biggest disappointment in radio today?
The mom-and-pop days are over.