10 Questions with ... Eric "Hollywood" Davis
April 29, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
A 30-plus-year broadcasting vet that began at WLTH-A/Gary, IN. Then to WTLC, programmed WPZZ; MD and afternoons WOWI; continuing to WIZF, WZPL, WQMG, V-103 (Baltimore); and WCFB/Orlando. I'm also the owner/CEO of Eric Davis Voiceovers. I've had the pleasure of working with, sharing and even disagreeing with the most electrifying individuals on the planet ... because if you're in broadcasting you know, we're really a fun people to be with!!
1) You career has progressed nicely, can you tell me the story of how you returned to the airwaves?
I'll try and keep this short. Mind you, Star 94.5 had been my client for production for many years. PD Michael Saunders called one morning and I'm thinking for an imaging order, he said, "What's today's date?" I said, "March 20th." Mike, "What time is it?" Me, "Around 10:30." Mike, "You'll remember this moment for a very long time, Michael Baisden's last day is, " Things then became a little foggy, because that was the last thing I thought our conversation would be about. The final statement I remember was, "I like to know if you would be interested in coming back to your former time slot, afternoons?" Needless to say, my answer was yes.
2) I know you are still doing your production business, how did it start and what sorts of things are you doing?
I've always been fascinated with creative services. I equate it as being an artist working on a blank canvas, developing it into a creation of listening pleasure. I'd been tooling around with it forever. So when I was displaced by syndication in '07, I really dug my heels in it. There was so much to learn, so I became a full time student of the art. I began my business, Eric Davis Voiceovers in 2009 by constructing a 'post-production house' in my home. In 2010, became represented by 'The Polygon Group' of Burbank, Ca. and began voicing regional and national clients.
3) In what ways has being an ex-PD helped you in your work?
I believe it's helped me develop an ear for good, sound radio. How to problem solve and make comprehensive decisions without resulting to knee-jerk reactions.
4) You were on the beach for a while, what did you do to pay the bills? Did being out teach you something about radio?
Immediately after hitting the beach I realized life continues, so being the car fanatic that I am, I relied on my personality skills and went into auto sales. The bad thing was that this was when the automotive industry was in a deadly nosedive. Meaning the consumer knew the industry was hurt and smelled the blood in the water. Dealerships were giving cars away and that meant on the backs of the salesmen. nine, 12 even 14-hour days, and you'd only speak to maybe two customers was nerve-racking, to say the least. It taught me that you really don't miss the water 'till the well runs dry, and it was "em-ty." In 2010, I said I had enough and with the moral support from my family, dove headfirst into my production company full-time.
5) Try not to be too much of a suck-up, but what's it like working for Michael Saunders?
Ha Ha. Well first, I think it's work "with" than "for" and here's the reason. With the seasoned pros in our facility, our feedback is taken with great consideration and when your opinions are valued like Mike values ours, our respect level and desire to deliver for him goes through the roof. Mike is really a great guy. Our conversations are not always about the industry. The open-door policy and camaraderie that he instills with all the family members, I believe transcends over the airwaves. He's really going to make me step up my golf game.
6) What people have influenced your radio career?
That's such a loaded question, because out of my 30+ years there's not enough room here to list them all.
7) In detail, how do you see your role as an air personality?
In one word I can sum that up for you ... companion. You, as the personality, are a friend, information source and stress reliever. Since the inception of personality radio, it should always be interpreted as a one-on-one experience with the listener. My role is to make each listener feel there's a connection between ourselves that is directly programmed to them. In this age of rapid information, I continue to research material that I know will be of interest to my core audience.
8) What's your opinion on the future of radio and Urban radio?
To be honest, I do fear for our format (Urban and Urban AC) as a whole. Not due to the absence of great product that is produced from quality outlets nationwide, but because of the misrepresentation, or lack thereof, of listenership under the current gathering process. When some markets are clearly 25 up to 40% under-sourced with ratings meters, it transcends into a distortion of ratings outcomes. And we all know that because of the spin, it sometimes results in future employment for some individuals.
9) What are your top 5 songs of all time and why?
Just like question 6, there's no way to narrow it down to just 5.....sorry.
10) What thoughts would you like to share with jocks who have just gotten into this business?
Don't pigeonhole yourself into one type of format. It's about developing a general market delivery. If your currently on-air at a hip-hop-based facility, yes, have fun and relate to your audience , but make sure if you're ever displaced (and it does happen), you can parallel into another format. Learn the business, all departments, and check your ego at the door.
If a genie in a bottle gave you three wishes, what would they be and why?
Continued good health, which goes without saying. To continue to provide for my family while enjoying the industry that I love. If all else fails, the next winning numbers for the Mega Millions Powerball.
How do you see yourself growing in this business?
I've been fortunate enough in my career to have had the pleasure of being a broadcast instructor for different institutions. In 2013, I was granted a copyright for an online workbook that I developed, "America's Best Broadcast Academy." After I hang up my headphones, my desire is to establish a broadcast school utilizing the ELearning platform.
What frustrates you the most about radio and the music industry?
That our format (Urban and Urban AC) does not receive its due diligence. These formats have been market leaders for decades, but it seems to always have to take a back seat. From programming, sales and promotions these two formats appear to get what I call the "President Obama" scenario ... heavily relied on, but no respect. As far as the music industry, I believe there needs to be more talent-developed artists, meaning labels stop throwing any young acts that appear to have "the look" to the masses without nurturing and evolving their gift.