10 Questions with ... Barbara A. McDowell
February 25, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I began my career as an intern at WEJM (106Jamz)/Chicago with Mic Fox and Cortney "Babygirl" Hicks. Mic Fox was the evening personality at the time and I produced a community affairs show where Cortney was the host in addition to her midday duties. While interning, I became the assistant to the receptionist at WVAZ Chicago for six years and the position phased out. I worked in the promotions department as promotions assistant for a year. I left AM/FM to start at a new radio station, Hot 102FM, on a small signal (3,000 watts) with Crawford Broadcasting. Crawford Broadcasting flipped their Gospel station 92.3 to Urban on March 26th, 2001. I have been with the company for 14 years.
1) Where are some of your favorite places to eat in Chicago? And, do you perfer deep dish or thin crust pizza?
My ultimate favorite place to eat is Maggiono's! If I want thin crust pizza, Italian Fiesta is the best. Giordonno's has the best deep dish pizza in Chicago!
2) Now explain your musical taste; what's the process when choosing music for both your stations?
I love a variety of music! Pop, rap, gospel, R&B, rock. It really depends on my mood. When choosing music for WPWX it must appeal to our brand and our audience, which is hip-hop. WSRB is very gold-driven with the right amount of current hits. Our consultant Tony Gray has the final approval for selecting music for WSRB.
3) What's your radio background?
I have worked in every department of radio except the sales department. My core radio background is in the programming department. I love the creative and music portion of programming, especially breaking new artist!
4) How do you apply research when it comes to selecting music?
We do not have research. We depend heavily on our DJs, charts, Mscores, knowing what's hot in the market locally and our gut when it comes to placing new music on our playlist
5) What do you think is unique when it comes to Chicago and its listeners?
Chicago, once known as the house music capitol, is now home to blues, rock, country, dance and rap music. The Internet has given the youth an opportunity to express themselves, thus creating a unique sound called drill music. The city is a melting pot for music lovers.
6) What people have influenced your radio career?
I have taken what I like to call programming nuggets from various people I have worked with or have been around within the past 17 years of working in radio, such as my current PD Jay Alan, Mic Fox, Monica Starr, Jamillah Muhammed, Maxx Myrick, Tony Gray, and Barry Mayo. They influenced my radio career.
7) What to you do to relax when you are not working?
When I'm not working, I enjoy reading, attending networking events, blogging and painting.
8) What are your thoughts on the future of Urban radio?
I believe Urban radio will continue to have success as long as we embrace change and not be afraid of new technology.
9) What are your top-5 favorite songs of all time?
Common - "I Use to Love Her," Whitney Houston - "I Will Always Love You," Puff Daddy - "It's All About the Benjamins," Alicia Keys - "Diary" and Marvin Sapp - "Never Would Have Made It."
10) How do you see yourself growing in this business?
I created a vision board and have accomplished all of the goals except for radio ownership. I am still a student of this business and I will continue to grow as a radio programmer. I am now trying to master what I have learned and hopefully consult other independent radio stations.
1) What would people who think they know you, be surprised to learn about you?
I love Sports radio. I watch WWE Raw & Smackdown faithfully.
2) How do you feel about Nielsen Audio's PPM and existing Diary method of measurement?
Change is good! PPM is not perfect, but I like some of its programming tools. I can see weekly how our stations are performing. Musically, I can see when our listeners leave our station when a particular songs plays.
3) What are some of your favorite stations, other than yours, that you like listening to?
Hot 97 in New York and recently Atlanta's Streetz 94.5!