10 Questions with ... Terry "Largefather" Monday
January 28, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I graduated from Langston University and worked at a couple of stations before coming to Perry Broadcasting. Currently I am VP/Operations for 16 stations.
1. 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?
A playlist should reflect the sound of the station's market. I would also say don't be afraid to add a local or regional club banger to the rotation as well. The exciting part of programming for me is being able to break new music. Not the track that's dropped off at the station and the artist tells you how hot he is. I'm referring to that banger who the club DJs are talking about and it packs the floor every time they're played. These bangers are the extra songs that give true definition to the sound of your station.
The approach will vary depending on the format because certain formats are slower than others. The mainstream format is faster than Urban AC, while the Gospel format is the slowest.
2. What are the advantages to working for an Independent owner?
The beauty of working for an independent owner is that I get to sit down with him, one-on-one, every day. He's not only the owner and my boss, but he mentors me in all aspects of my life. I also report to him and give him updates everyday and sometimes on the hour, depending on the situation. Another great thing is that my owner pushes for me to be creative. I don't have to contact 10 different people and wait for approval on an idea. I normally can get an answer direct from him in a timely manner.
3. How do you keep track of what music goes where and maintain a unique personality for each station?
It's not hard when you follow the trends and constantly do research. The imaging and air personalities also play a big role in the unique sound of each station.
4. What is your opinion on the future of the Urban format
The people within the format need to come back together. The format is only as strong as its people. We need to get back to networking as a body and spend some time together (face-to-face). I remember a time when we would meet at Jack the Rapper, Urban Network, NBPC and Impact conferences. It was a great time to exchange ideas, look for new business opportunities as well as new talent getting educated about the radio/music industry. The Urban format is a family that needs to get back in contact with one another. We need to "go back home" and give our veterans their flowers now, as well as mentor the new industry family members. I don't want to go out saying, "Could've, would've, should've." Once we come together, I can see the future of the Urban format being very bright.
5. How many stations and markets are you responsible for and what's your typical day like?
I have 16 different stations on 19 frequencies in six different markets. My typical day is non-stop music, phone calls, DJ meetings, more phone calls, manager meetings, more phone calls, lunch and then more phone calls before leaving for the day.
6. If you had not gone into radio or being on the air, what would you have done?
I would restore old-school cars.
7. How do you feel about research?
I love it.
8. How did you get started in radio?
I started in radio as a Journalism student at Langston University in 1987. After graduating in 1989 I worked at a Country station in Guthrie, OK and a Rock station in Stillwater, OK before moving back to Oklahoma City and working for the Urban station KPRW in 1990.
9. You told us how you started, what's your advice for air personalities just starting out who have dreams of programming?
Be prepared to go in early and leave late. Master the art of public relations, branding and plain old fun. Find a mentor you can lean on and bounce ideas with. Constantly teach your people what you know so they will be better equipped to problem solve. Stress to your DJs that a successful jock is one that protect the station's license, understands show prep and elements, and that understands how to problem solve. Be teachable and treat your staff how you want to be treated. Set realistic quarterly, yearly, and lifetime goals. The last thing I would say is enjoy life and show love to your family and friends.
10. Who are some of the people who have influenced your career?
The people who influenced my career are too many to name, but I'll give a few. First are my owners, Mr. Perry and Kevin Perry. Plus, my ADP Aaron Bernard for always understating the industry and helping me hold it down. I've been with these gentlemen for 18 to 20 years. Then there was Jerry Boulding, who went with me for my first Arbitron visit. Then there was Bryan Robinson, who was ahead of his time with technology, marketing, and the radio/music industry. He was a teacher, brother, and dear friend who will be truly missed.
What would people, who think they know you, be surprised to learn about you?
Even though I'm a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, I almost pledged Omega Psi Phi.
What frustrates you the most about radio and the music industry?
The thing that frustrates me most is intern students and young jocks who know it all. Or, they're really a rapper, singer, producer, dancer, stripper or concert promoter and they're only at the station to further their "other" career.
How do you feel about Nielsen Audios PPM and existing diary method of measurement?
The things that Jerry Boulding taught me on our Arbitron trips were that you have to learn the game and understand the methodology. Once you understand them you can program the hell out of your station (and do it better than the guys across the street).
What are some of your favorite stations, other than yours, you like listening to?
WSTR, WVEE, WBLS, and KRNB.
Name three people you would love to have dinner with and why. And, none of them have to be music-related.
Sade, because I enjoy her music, and Lyor Cohen to hear about his early years in the music industry. I would like to sit down to dinner with Clive Davis as well. That should be a pretty interesting dinner.