10 Questions with ... Sam Nelson
September 2, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- Dir./Programming, Straightway Radio/ Tampa, Jacksonville, FL & Savannah, GA
- OM, Cumulus Broadcasting/Savannah, GA
- PD, WEAS, WTYB, WJLG/Savannah, GA
- PD, WVKO/ Columbus, OH
- PD, WJMO/Cleveland
- PD, WPDQ/Jacksonville, FL
- PD, WQDW/ Kinston, NC
- Announcer, WOWI/Norfolk, VA
- Announcer, WKFM/Syracuse, NY
1) You've been gone from the every day programming scene for seven years. What are some of the changes with the job description you have noticed?
First, I haven't been gone from day-to-day programming for that long. I have not been with Cumulus for the last seven years. I have been programming and consulting following my departure from Cumulus. That said, the goals of developing and maintaining a brand remain the same. It's not a news bulletin that now you have to do more with less human capital. However, the technology when implemented strategically produces results that produce competitive brands.
2) What's your vision for keeping WUHT on the path of success?
We stay focused, we stay consistent and we stay hungry for market share!
3) What things do you miss the most about being an air personality?
The fun! The interaction with listeners. In fact, I have decided to do a weekend shift. At this time in my career, I want to be in touch with why it became a passion and a career choice.
4) What are your ideas on building the perfect playlist for the airwaves? What's the process for selecting current music, to rotations and research?
The great thing about being with a company like Cumulus is the tools available to you in structuring the brand. Also, you receive the input of other programmers from across the Cumulus landscape. The company has stations in New York, to New Orleans to Kansas City to Birmingham. Feedback is one of the aspect I have enjoyed in being a part of the group experience.
5) What do you do to relax when you're not working?
I read quite a bit. Mostly, I enjoy biographies. I'm a big sport fan: Giants, Knicks, Yankees and of course, my alma mater: "GO ORANGE!"
6) Can you give us an example of how you with a jock during a critique session?
I received a tip from a great announcer Warren Epps, who I worked with in Jacksonville. Warren told me "on-air" should be "OZ." It's the place where the wizard works. Let's leave our problems or baggage at the door. The job is to entertain and reflect those relevant concerns of the community. That principle has stayed with me. And, when I am with announcers I have challenged them to think about the entertainment value of their presentation or the relevance of why this is important to the listeners.
7) Do you have a favorite radio memory? Something you either heard growing up or something you participated in?
I'm a native New Yorker. I have far too many radio memories to mention. From the old WABC crew, to the WWRL crew, to the WBLS crew, to 'KTU to WRKS ... just growing up around the best radio talents in the country was very meaningful.
8) Could you please list those who have been the most influential in your career and tell use in what way they each have helped you?
For me it starts with the guys of the 'Cuse -- Butch Charles, Kenny Dees. They really taught me the fundamentals of radio. Then Steve Crumbley, he was tremendously important in getting me to trust my instincts. Keith Clark was very helpful in getting me to understand how production and imaging could shape the brand. Lastly Steve Goldstein ... all I can say is Steve is Radio's Yoda. He studies it, he thinks about it, he thinks about what's next for it and when you work for him he makes sure you are prepared for game time!
9) How much of an effect do promotions play into your programming philosophy?
Promotions are still a constructive tactic to supporting TSL. At the end of the day, a promotion isn't going to help crappy programming. Or, help good programming on a poor signal. It's a tactic that supports the overall strategy.
10) How do you see the landscape of radio evolving?
This is a unique time in radio. There are more outlets. There are more options for the consumer. It is the challenge of radio to find it's way to staying relevant in this new environment. How well we navigate the waters will determine how radio evolves.
When you get your ratings back, what things do you look for when analyzing what happened, good or bad, at your station?
I want to know first how credible the sample size is. Did my folks turn out the vote? I look at cume and TSL in target demo ... did I lose audience to my competitor? How did the morning show do?
How hard is it to program multiple stations and do it successfully?
You have to be a strong manager of time. Also, you have to have capable people around you and empower them to get the job done.