10 Questions with ... Myron Fears
January 21, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
KPRS, Adjunct Media Professor at Penn Valley Community College and Owner of KC Pro Jocks Mobile DJ Service.
1) Kansas City's African-American population is only 13.6%. How do you manage to keep KPRS so high in the ratings?
- Our owner, Mike Carter, believes in our team and provides the necessary tools to win.
- We have mix of veterans and younger jocks who are passionate about the station and the city.
- Studying and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of our competition.
- Utilizing our research weapons like PD Advantage, Research Director, Media Monitors, Kelly Research, BDS Radio and Mediabase help us make intelligent decisions about our brand and position, music categories, changes and implementation and overall performance.
2) What new challenges are you anticipating?
I'm anticipating the 20% meter increase by Nielsen that will happen later this year. I hope it will improve one of our key demos.
3) Where was your first job in radio and how it did shape your thinking?
My career is like a grown kid who never left home and is still living at his parents' house. My career started as an intern at KPRS and I'm still here. In terms of KPRS, knowing that David always has a chance to beat Goliath.
4) Who are some of the people who have influenced your career?
The late Mr. Neil Poindexter, a family friend, former KPRS jock and later a news reporter at KMBZ-A. Mr. Poindexter used to encourage and discuss with me the radio business.
Freddie Bell, veteran announcer for KPRT-A/Kansas City. Freddie is the ultimate politician. Every young jock needs to learn how to work a crowd like him. He's been in the game since "Moses crossed the Red Sea," but he continues to be passionate about his profession.
Sam Weaver, former OM/PD at KPRS. Weaver's strengths are talent coaching, interpreting ratings and publicity. He allowed me to grow as a MD and programmer.
Andre Carson, former OM at KPRS. Andre refined my programming skills. He was very detailed and organized, passionate about research and taught me that radio is a lifestyle.
Tony Gray and the late Jerry Boulding have impacted my decisions for the past three years.
5) What advice do you have for programmers in putting together a music playlist and sound for their station or stations? And does the approach vary depending on the format?
The sound of the station is the brand. The key to successful programming is to know your market and the taste of your listeners. Programmers must use every bit of music information such as charts, video streaming, Mscore information, callout research, iTunes, SoundScan and club play to help with their music decisions. I always communicate with our jocks and interns about music. I believe a station should reflect its market.
6) What are your views on PPM?
It's the method that I have to use for ratings. Personally, I love it! I love receiving and analyzing information on a weekly and monthly basis. It gives me an opportunity to view our station's strengths and weaknesses more rapidly. There are some areas that need to improve in terms of sample size. An insight questionnaire should be provided to each exiting panelist and should be distributed to each subscribing station.
7) How do you feel about how music rotations and new music? And how do you feel about waiting on a song you hear until the research validates it?
Since KPRS is in a PPM market, balancing callout research and MScores are very important. Programmers have to understand that the people who are responding to the callout may not be carrying a meter -- and MScores are based on the actual panelists.
With PPM, we found out that we can hold hit records a lot longer than once believed. For instance, within the past two years, Miguel's "Adorn" and "How Many Drinks" will not die.
In terms of new music, I'm a firm believer that if a song sounds great, room can be made to implement the song into rotation whether it's in regular or mix show rotation.
8) What is your opinion on the future of the Urban format?
The Urban format is a viable format. It reaches an audience that has a lot of spending power. The Urban format goes beyond ethnic lines.
9) You told us how you started, what's your advice for air personalities just starting out who have dreams of programming?
If a talent has the ambition to program a station, they must develop a relationship with a person who's programming a station. Ask plenty of questions, get involved with the promotions, programming and sales departments, add your input to help make decisions and read as much information about programming, ratings, marketing and sales.
10) Looking back over your career ... any regrets? Missed opportunities?
Because I'm older and wiser, I understand now that my career has been developed and shaped the way that God wanted it to be. I have no regrets about my career. If I was jumping station to station, I would not have my wife and son. I probably would have baby momma drama and 20 kids running around asking for daddy (just joking). I used to think that moving out of the market was the best solution, but who's moving now?
1) What would people who think they know you, be surprised to learn about you?
I love sports, basketball, baseball, football, golf, fishing and bowling (195 average). I love military and political history. I look at programming as a war game and managing as a political arena.
2) What frustrates you the most about radio and the music industry?
Radio needs inject itself with newer talent. It needs to become the sexy medium with the younger generation. A lot of talent grooming used to come out of the various market sizes. Consolidation and voicetracking killed talent growth opportunities. Syndication kills local radio.
In terms of hip-hop records, provide better clean radio edits. Stop being lazy by adding brake effects and just re-record a clean version.
3) What are some of your favorite stations, other than yours, you like listening to?
Q 92 in Baltimore, V-103 in Atlanta, V-103 in Chicago, WHUR in D.C., ESPN Radio and KDGS in Wichita.
4) How did your parents feel about your going into the radio profession?
My father was apprehensive at first but he's my biggest promoter. My mother had the vision to see that this was the profession that I truly loved.
5) If you weren't in radio, what other profession interested you?
I would be in marketing. Marketing is key to the success of any organization.