10 Questions with ... Chris Coleman
September 13, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
No sense repeating myself, so what you seek is in my answers below.
1) What got you interested in radio?
My father; he was an announcer for over 30 years
2) So what advice did he give you?
Not to go into radio ... ha ha ha!
3) What other positions have you held besides PD?
I have held many positions from Mix show Coordinator to Creative Services Director, to MD to APD, just about anything in the radio station outside of sales.
4) How should radio do to progress?
Stay relevant, keeping in tuned to what's happening with your listeners. If they leave you, where are they going? And why are they leaving? Personality radio is the way to go. We need to find the next Jack The Rapper, Herb Kent, Frankie Crocker, Shelly Stewart, JJ Johnson, Tom Joyner, Bobby O'Jay, Stan Bell, Doug Banks ... you know the real DJs -- the DJs who can connect with the Millennials. Personality radio is the only way we will be able to distinguish between us and them.
5) Can you share your thoughts on the future for Urban radio?
We have to start letting our PDs be PDs. We are not training our next big jocks because of budgets. We have to start hiring real DJs who care about the craft of being a DJ. Those DJs who are not afraid to get in the community; hiring those DJs who want to meet with your listeners instead of asking for money to make an appearance to socialize with the listeners who listen to them every day. We have too many new announcers who come into the game and want instant fame like this is some kind of 30-minute reality show. Radio is a big business and a lot of people have made sacrifices for the new jocks to be able to come in and do what they can do. We have to make sure we have the best product on the air and that new jock has to know that this is a privilege to be where they are.
6) Would you share with us the funniest thing you have ever experienced in this business?
Wow, so many experiences, where do I start? Here is one that happened back in February of this year. I was at work late about to get off and I was one of the three people in the building and the doorbell rings. I went to the door and answered it, when I opened the door, there were three guys standing there, one of them blew some black and mild smoke in my face and uttered the words, "Yo My Ni**a, I want to get my record on the air." I politely said no and shut the door. They rang the doorbell till I called the police, and when the police came they tried to explain what happened. At that time, I didn't want to hear any explanation, just get them disrespectful fools off my property. After that was over, I laughed all the way home.
7) How about sharing your mentors from over the years?
I have so many mentors; my first mentor was my Dad. He introduced me to radio and he tried to talk me out of going into this career. It almost worked, but I had to tell him this was in my blood and he understood and he tried to make me the best that I can be. I loved my Dad and not a day goes by that I don't think about him.
My second mentor is Phillip David March; He gave me my first full-time job as an announcer. I met Phillip when I was part-time at a radio station in Birmingham. He knew the GM at the time and the GM was giving him a tour of our facilities. I was in the production room cutting up an aircheck and he stopped to come in and see what I was doing, I didn't know who he was at the time but he told me I was cherry pickin' and I said, "What is that?" He said that when you are picking out your best breaks and cutting them up and that's wrong. I stopped right then and said, "Wow I didn't know that," and he said, "It's okay; a lot of us make those mistakes," then he went on to show me how to do a real aircheck, I didn't know that a month later I would be working for him and we have been friends since then.
Third is Terri Thomas. She is like family! I love Terri like family. She is and has always been dear to me and my family. She resurrected my career in the early 2000s when I was out of a job. I can call on her for just about anything and she is right there. It is a dream to work for her as well, she is always teaching and grooming. I use a good majority of her philosophies when I am dealing with my staff. She is one of the most influential people in my career and I consider her a lifelong friend, till I take my last breath.
Fourth would be Tom Hanrahan, he is my current RVP for iHeartMedia. The things I have learned over the past year has made me a better programmer, announcer and manager. He really cares about the details and he is always challenging my intellect as person and I love the challenge.
8) What do you tell personalities just coming into radio?
I tell them to be patient. Rome wasn't built overnight and to be ready to accept change. Our career field changes every minute and you have to adapt to change. Learn the craft and always accept advice from those who have been there. Remember when someone is advising you, it is for your own good.
9) How important is it to work close with the sales department?
It is very important to work with sales. Sales are the lifeblood of the radio station, without sales we don't get paid. I never tell sales no; I always try to come up with ways to get the sale and help the station or stations at the same time. Remember they hear the word, "no," more than anyone at the station. The last thing I want them to hear from me is "no" and I am on the team. When programming and sales can work together, we all make money.
10) What is your process for staying on top of reaching the new people?
I stay as open as I can to new ideas all the time. I work hard on embracing new things and what is moving the needle. You can't be closeminded, when you make a decision you must own it and when you make a mistake own that too. Candor is the key, being open and honest with your team and people who are trying to get at you is the way to go.
What is there about you that would surprise people?
I love The Big Bang Theory! I can watch that show all day.