10 Questions with ... Brian Wallace
November 12, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
#1 & #2 ranking in all demos with Q93 and WYLD/New Orleans (2013)
Consistently placing both WTLC and WHHH/Indianapolis in the Top 5 for 10 years straight (2001 - 2011)
1) Where and what was your first job in radio? Who are some of the people who influenced your career early on?
My first job was at WBOW in Terre Haute, IN (while I was in college) ... Early influences include Lee Michaels (from afar), Mike Stradford, Ron Atkins, Tony Gray and Brian Castle (who gave me my first on-air job)
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? I would because I love that fact that what we say and do can reach millions and influence thought, fashion and lifestyles. I would have made more of an effort early on to master non-ethnic formats.
3) You are in the enviable position of having two market-leading stations. Quite a different situation from your programming experiences in Indianapolis. Without giving away any secrets, what do you plan, if anything, to do differently that will continue to give WQUE and WYLD a ratings advantage?
My success in general has been because I get in a market and become a "cameleon" to that market. I'm doing very little in New Orleans that I did in Indy because the markets are different.
4) As a successful programmer, what are some of the most challenging aspects of the job of programming then and now?
The most challenging aspects of programming today is understanding that you're not just competing with other radio stations, but other forms of media as well. When I first started, I programmed radio stations, now I program "brands".
5) How important are morning shows in 2013? Does it really matter if the morning show is live or syndicated, as long as it is connecting with the audience?
As long as your morning show is "relavant" in its content, what studio it broadcast from is irrelevant. But if you have this AND you're LOCAL, it's a big win for you because your talent will have the ability to "connect," one-on-one on a daily basis.
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 WYLD and WQUE?
I wouldn't necessarily call it "slower" as much as being more "strategic" in their decision. Max spins for us are somewhere in the 70 spin range.
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?
Seriously, that varies from individual to individual. Some I know on both sides do look at the "big picture" on how we can equally reach our goals without hurting the other.
8) What's your read on the format music wise nowadays and how do you feel about the future of Urban radio?
I feel just as R&B has made a resurgence. Hip-Hop will do the same in a few years, behind future superstars Drake, J Cole, Wale and Kendrick Lamar.
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?
In some areas, yes, but we must accept change, seek and find the next platform of how to reach consumers.
10) As you look back over your career ... any regrets? Missed opportunities?
Regrets? Believe it or not, no! Every triumph and pitfall has shaped me. Missed opportunities? I had an opportunity to do nights at Power 99 (Philly), nights at Majic 102 (Houston) or stay and program WYLD the first time I was here. My first three months I thought I made the biggest career mistake in my life, but I also knew programming was my "calling," and what don't kill you, makes you stronger and wiser.
What would people who think they know Brian Wallace be surprised to learn about you?
I love doing graphic design/web design work as much as I love radio (maybe some do know this)
How can Urban radio best bridge the gap that exists with the younger/future listener base that exists today?
Understand that their "world" is MUCH different than ours, therefore they're musical "taste" is not as segregated as ours was.
What are your current station pre-sets?
WYLD-FM, Q93, sister station Voodoo 104 and my competitors
What the best piece of advice that someone has ever given you that you still use on a daily basis?
"What's your Plan B?"
What's been your biggest disappointment in Radio today?
Younger people don't look at it as a "career," but a stepping stone to something else, like reality TV.