10 Questions with ... CJ Riddick
February 18, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Believe it or not, I am still at my very first job! I started at First Media my senior year of high school in 2004 as a part-time board op running NASCAR on WPTM. Then I started producing the local high school football and basketball games. They loved the way I incorporated bumper music, special liners, highlights of the big plays, and the scoreboard updates into the broadcast, so they moved me to more of a on-air announcer. In 2005 WYTT flipped from Urban AC (running off The Touch) to its current format and I started doing nights. Then in 2007 the opportunity came up to program WYTT. The ratings and revenue shot up and I was then promoted to my current position in 2009.
1) What's your radio background?
I actually started doing pirate/low-power/Internet radio when I was 12! My cousin's dad was a radio engineer. I always wanted to be a DJ and hanging around them I got educated in radio and all I wanted to be was a DJ on the radio and later a PD. But in my 10-year career I have done it all ... on-air, sales, engineering, promotions, digging ditches, cleaning windows, moving transmitters bigger than refrigerators, play-by-play, traffic, billing ... if it involved radio, I did it and loved every minute!
2) How hard is it to program multiple stations and do it successfully?
Harder than ice in the North Pole! But I welcome the challenge! I learned the hard way; I have to get the people around me to pick up some of the day to day detail work, like looking over the logs behind me, making sure date-specific promos and liners end-dates are correct, loading in new music, etc. Also multitasking and working on Saturday nights has become second nature.
3) What is it about your city and your job that you like so much?
The connection with the people in the community. The people in the community want to be involved with the radio stations and when you try to do community events, you have a team of people ready to help out at the drop of a hat. Also, I like the fact I am an hour from Richmond and Raleigh -- and an hour-and-a-half from Norfolk.
4) If a genie in a bottle gave you three wishes, what would they be and why?
- WYTT get monitored by BDS & Mediabase (hint, hint).
- World peace!
- I would probably give this wish to someone else who deserves a big break.
5) How hard is it to program and do a daily air shift?
Not that hard. I use my air shift as an escape from the meetings, phone calls and other small problems. I have fun with my air shift.
6) You told us how you started, what's your advice for air personalities just starting out who have dreams of programming?
Be patient. Learn how to do everything! Sales, traffic, production, imaging, websites, graphics, minor engineering. Everything! An understanding of all departments will give you a much better understanding what everyone goes through everyday and you never know when something may happen to someone and you can fill that roll. Read All Access and other trades every day. And read blogs and articles that other PDs and consultants write. It's also good to keep a PD in your rolodex. Ask questions to better understand why things are done.
7) How do you see yourself growing in this business?
When the topic of top programmers comes up I want my name to come up along with guys like Skip Dillard, Reggie Rouse and Jay Stevens. Hopefully I can be considered a programming legend like Bill Drake, Frankie Crocker or Rick Sklar -- and achieve this goal before I am 40, LOL. I also see myself being VP/Programming for a major company.
8) What do you think is unique when it comes to your city and its listeners?
I am the #1 source for discovering new music. Our listeners are vocal and that's the first thing they say about WYTT. And yes, I recorded some of those comments and put them in promos! R Dub Slow Jams show is 2nd and Russ Parr Horoscopes is 3rd.
9) What's your opinion on the future of radio and Urban radio?
Radio will continue to grow and be profitable as a whole. On the Urban side it could be bigger! But we have to develop new talent and make the radio the #1 destination for discovering new music!
10) What are some of your favorite songs these days?
My MD thinks I hate all songs. But right now I am all over the new West Coast sound that has developed. Kid Ink, Ty Dollar Sign, & Tyga are putting out FIRE right now. Doing a weekend mix show records where those artists are played heavily along with the hits!
What would people who think they know you, be surprised to learn about you?
I'm only 27 years old.
What frustrates you the most about radio and the music industry?
Seems like the system of developing new people and moving up in the industry has been lost.
What are your opinions on the Diary method of measurement?
Needs a bigger sample size and that's Diary & PPM.
What are some of your favorite stations other than yours, you like listening to?
WBLS/New York, WHUR/Washington, WERQ/Baltimore, WJMH/Greensboro, WQDR/Raleigh, WBZJ/Raleigh, WNVZ/Norfolk, and ESPN 980 in Washington because I'm a huge Redskins Fan!
Radio has changed over the years, what are some of the changes you like?
The fact that it's not just all about FM/AM dial anymore. A strong emphasis is being put on streaming, apps, interacting on social media, on-demand content, YouTube videos, and social media. Keeping radio brands in people's face! I love it!