10 Questions with ... Jeff "Uzi D" Anderson
August 25, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Here's the radio edit ... I've always had a love for music, so while pursuing it, while in college, I was able to intern at WZFX with D Cherie. After a few weeks alphabetizing the CD closet and making sure D Cherie's Top 9 was worthy to play, I was blessed with an opportunity to get paid and soon after I was doing the evening shift. I later moved to Greensboro where AC Stone and Brian Douglass gave me an opportunity to take on the responsibility of Production Dir. From there I did on-air work, production work, and after a couple of calls from Mac Edwards and Jerry Clifton I was blessed with an opportunity to be a PD of Beasley/Fayetteville. Some years later, Russ Parr noticed what I was doing in Fayetteville and made some recommendations to Barry Mayo and Jay Stevens and that was when I moved the family to Richmond, VA for the awesome opportunity to be the OM, where I have been since 2007.
1) What sort of things do you do to keep the stations involved in the community?
I am privileged to have one of the hardest working community affairs directors ever on my team, Miss Community Clovia. We are constantly in the community helping former felons restore their right to vote. We also stay active with iPower for the Friday night football games. We also have community forums like the Teen Forum and the Men's Forum. We are active with Making Strides against Breast Cancer and raising awareness. We also have various initiatives that our team takes personal interest in like preventing hunger, collecting prom dresses for underprivileged girls, and we also do a huge Toy Drive each year where we Pack The Pods for the children in the City of Richmond.
2) Do you view community involvement as an extension of promotions?
It sounds cliché but community is what the basis of an Urban station should always be about. It's just like being an artist and doing it for the people and the love. When you do what you have passion for and it's for the right reasons, you will get positive results. So in short, yes, community is a form of promotions. When you are in the community and you hear a listener say, "That's my station, they helped my kids out last Christmas and I'll never forget it," that's when you know it's all worth it. It's also when you know that you have a listener who will tell everyone and they will never forget you.
3) What is it about your job that you enjoy so much?
I LOVE brainstorming and coming up with creative ways to promote the brands. I also LOVE coaching young and upcoming talent to help them grow.
4) Would you share some of the important things when working with air talent?
The important thing about working with talent is finding out what they are good at doing and making that great. The most important thing about coaching talent is that first, they have to have some. You can teach someone with a personality how to master the other techniques and fundamentals or PPM, how to punch-and-roll, and work the phones, etc. However, it's going to be a big challenge to try and get something out of someone who is empty and shallow with nothing interesting to offer.
Teaching a veteran is more about looking for the angle. More often, a veteran knows that there's content out there and knows the main techniques but they need another voice to bounce ideas to get a different angle. It's like a news reporter who comes on at 5p after a story broke at 10a, we know the headline already but what different angle can we take on now? With a newbie, it's helping them to find their "voice" and keeping them focused on getting out each break.
5) What is the best way to brand a station?
When more stations start giving listeners what they want, stations will master better branding. In other words, as a station we have to put ourselves in a position for listeners to be passionate about us. The best brands create an emotional connection and when we as broadcasters can deliver consistent content on our digital properties, when we are able to give a better balance of music, when we can create lifestyle promotions that fulfill a demo targeted need, then we are branding like a rock star.
The best way to brand a station is to stop being like everyone else. We have to dare to be different. The most memorable brands are the ones that speak to a generation of people that is not spoken for. No wonder why such a "radical" group like NWA and the movie "Straight Outta Compton" can have such a cultural impact. They did something that had not been done before, but was something that was missing. That something was speak from the heart. The best way to brand a station is to stay emotionally relevant and visible. We have to continuously think about how we can be the next Apple, or Facebook and put people around us that will help us get there.
6) Could you share the pluses and minus of being your own music director?
Plus, if something doesn't sound correct with the list, I instantly know because I scheduled it. Minus; in the moment of tragedy I have to depend on me to be the go-to-person to get the musical content in. For instance, when Michael Jackson died I was in LA. ... so who do you think had to log in to get the playlist programmed? Yup, you guessed it!
7) How did you wind up in radio?
I believe I was led by a divine power to radio as I was pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. No matter what I knew that I would be working around music and entertainment. I did major in Speech/Theater and Communications in college so having the right people to mentor and guide me to get an internship, then later a job was key.
8) Who are some of the people who have influenced your career?
I've had so many influences in my career and almost too many to name. Some taught me what not to do, but most gave me guidance to do great things. I could write a book on each one but I would not want to miss anyone. I believe that God puts each person in your life, whether for a season or longer, for a reason and I have not met one person who has NOT influenced my career in some way.
9) What are your views on music research and how it should be used?
Music research should be used as a guide to mold the playlist to the liking of what the majority of listeners want. It's time however, for the process to be altered to match the savvy of the consumer. There are so many tools out there, that how that data is being gathered and used needs to be better.
10) How do you see the future for radio?
The more radio becomes consolidated and syndicated, the more the need will be to be live and local. This will start in smaller companies and start to trickle down to larger markets in my opinion soon. I think more stations will start to peel off some of their properties to small mom-and-pop owners. The main thing to remember is that we have an advantage that we have to keep selling. That is, that Pandora and Spotify, etc. cannot provide live local programming.
What profession would you have chosen if it had not been radio?
I would have either been the next Dr. Dre super producer who would have actually released the Chronic 2 ... or the next Flip This House real estate guru. I like to take things that are not in the best condition and make them like new again. I also like helping people in various situations solve their problems. I'm also a producer and musician at heart. I'm a creative person and I enjoy building things from an idea.
How do you see the future, what goals have you set?
I am a goal oriented person who is hyper-focused. I have set some high goals and expectations that I expect to achieve very soon. Most importantly, my main goal is to continue to learn all I can about radio sales and continue to grow and help as many people as I can achieve their goals.