10 Questions with ... Doug Davis
September 20, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- WCSU-FM 88.9 College Mixshow DJ/Personality
- WHIO-TV/AM DAYTON, OH -Assignment Editor (TV) News Anchor
- WROU/DAYTON, OH - P/T Air Talent, Mixshow Coordinator
- WCKX/COLUMBUS, OH - P/T Swing Air Talent
- WJMZ/GREENVILLE, SC - From Production Dir. to F/T midday personality to MD to APD to Promotion/Marketing Dir. to PD
- ENTERCOM/GREENVILLE, SC - Account Executive
- CUMULUS MEDIA/ALBANY, GA - Urban Sales Manager
- FOX TV ALBANY, GA - P/T Weather forecaster/swing
- WDAI/MYRTLE BEACH, SC - PD, WSEA/WDAI air talent
- KMJJ/SHREVEPORT - PD/air talent
- WEAS - PD/air talent
1) How did radio become a career for you?
Radio has always been a passion for me, since I first heard a radio show around the age of three. As a youth growing up, all i really ever wanted to do is radio. My father pressured me to pursue a career in management so I took his lead. I remember passing the college radio station every day from my dorm to my business hall saying to myself. One day, I'm going to go in that radio TV hall. And that's what exactly happened. One day after class I strolled over, met the station PD Turk Logan. He offered me an on-air audition for an hour. That Friday, after I cracked the mic, I knew. After changing majors in college midway through my sophomore year in college, I realized my dream can become a reality.
2) Would you share some of the personalities you grew up listening to?
Geeter-The-With-Heater in Philadelphia. At the age of three, my family members recalled my mimicking of this popular radio personality in Philadelphia. I still cannot remember why I gravitated to him.
Donnie Simpson -- Donnie Simpson at WKYS/D.C. We moved into the DC metro in the early '80s, and I fell in love with Donnie. He was bright, smart, and I loved his laugh. He had a strong sense of community and at the age of nine, I wanted to be just like Donnie.
Paul Porter -- Night host on WKYS. "Nightflight" with the captain Paul Porter. I can still hear his show open in my head. The sound effects of the plane taking off and the piano laced intro with Paul's smooth voice coming on the radio asking us to buckle up and get ready for a smooth ride! Man, he was awesome. He created visuals man with words and sound effects. And his voice was as smooth as apple butter. I was hooked!
The Greaseman -- Mornings WWDC (DC 101). I loved his imagination. His stories of Vietnam were priceless. Funny, sometimes vulgar, he knew how to work the audio paint brush.
Howard Stern -- Mornings WWDC (DC 101). After Greaseman got fired for outrageous comments, Howard Stern took over and what I loved about Howard was his realness and knack for being kind of, well, grimy ... with a smile! As a growing young teen, it was exciting listening to his "content," if you catch my drift.
Marvelous Marv Hankston was my first Urban PD and I love him always. He was so smooth on the radio with the right amount of energy. He taught me to take control of my radio show and how to bring out my personality for the world to hear.
3) What has been the hardest thing you have ever had to overcome?
I grew up with a speech impediment. a chronic stutter problem kept me away from speaking a lot in school and amongst friends and family. I was a quiet storm with a lot to say, just didn't have the courage to speak because people would laugh and make fun of me. I had a pretty tough background of abuse with my father, so the radio and music became my outlet. When hip-hop emerged, I began freestyling rapping. It was amazing because I never stuttered when I rapped. Long story short, when I auditioned on the air live on college radio WCSU, my first talk break was stutter-free. it was like a ray of light shined on me that day. From there I took a few speech classes and the rest is history.
4) How do you advise those who want to go into radio?
I tell them that this business is tough. You have tough skin ... pray and ask God, is this what he has for you? If the answer comes back yes, go for it, you may go through some challenges that may hamper your progress but you have to keep keeping on. "We love radio, but sometimes radio does not love us." I also ask those who want to pursue to be multi-talented and do a lot extremely well.
5) When did you decide to go into programming?
Once I changed my major in college to Radio/TV, I began studying the history of Urban radio. I loved the fact that Urban radio has such a powerful stance in the black community during the civil rights era ... and, of course, later being a beacon in our community for information. I wanted to be able to create content that could make our communities a better place. Also while in college, I was suspended from the station for playing unauthorized music on my mix show. What song was it? NWA "F## The Police." Hip-hop was growing, and the PD of the college station was not a fan, but as a college student, I felt I had to play the music that fit my audience. I developed a group of fans who would greet me outside of the radio station after every show, giving me high-fives and thanks. They loved the fact that I played the songs they identified with. Soon after, my PD suspended me indefinitely. I went to the dean all the way to the president, urging they reinstate me. They did.
6) How do you perceive today's listening audience?
Today's radio listeners have more options. But what occurs in between the songs is what makes the difference. Playing the best music is always key because at the end of the day, that's why they come to us.
7) Would you share with us your programming philosophy?
My clients are my listeners. Period. I super-serve my clients and serve the demo the best of my ability. Your social media should match your on-air. And vice versa. If the world is talking protests, so are we. Program what satellite and streaming services can't do. Programming and sales work together as a team. That old adage that we just can't get along is dead. I love my sales team and trust me, they love me! I research the best music for my market. But never forget the gut. If you are gifted with a good ear, you know a hit when you hear it. I've broke many artists that radio was really slow on, from Carl Thomas "I Wish" to Miguel's "Sure Thing" and Jaheim. When these artists came out to radio, many were slow to play. I knew they were destined for stardom.
8) What did you love about being an air personality?
Well, I still am even though I'm PD. I love being on-air because it one helps me connect with my radio stations. I can hear the music, the drops, etc. and make changes, improvements better than just sitting in the office listening. and two, it helps me connect with the listeners.
9) Who have been your mentors? (and tell how each one has helped you)?
Turk Logan. College radio, WCSU FM. He taught me to follow directions (see previous story, LOL) he taught me the basics of doing a great break. Foundations.
Chuck Browning - Cox WHIO. he was the coolest GM ever. He gave me my first break in professional TV/Radio. He hired me on the spot at a college job fair. I saw integrity in his eyes.
Marv Hankston -- first Urban PD. He taught me the foundations of Urban radio. He believed in me every day. Without Marv I would not be in this business. From production to imaging to on-air, he taught me every facet of becoming a PD.
Tony Fields -- he taught me how to strategize. To really become a strategic thinker. To think ahead. To create emotion in your breaks, your imaging, your promotions and marketing. Toughest three years of my life in radio, but I love him for it.
10) Tell us one of your favorite radio story?
When I started doing mixshow radio, my PD asked me to conduct an interview on-air with Redman and Method Man. They had a hot new project out and I was super-excited to actually interview some artists I highly respected. My PD told me direct. Do not interview these two live! I did not question him at all. I said okay. So when the guys called I wanted to find out why he didn't want me to. So I told the two that we were going on live. And they cursed throughout the interview. I had to make 47 edits before airing. Wow. LOL.
Before radio, was there anything that you looked at going into?
I always wanted to be sneaker designer. My father ran track and field, and I was always fascinated with sneakers. Funny thing, I was Sneaker-con in Atlanta; who knew the craze was that real.
Do you think going to a historically Black College gave you an advantage?
Yes, it gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams with teachers who sowed into me.