10 Questions with ... Michael Erickson
February 9, 2010
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- Dir./Operations - Service Broadcasting Corp. (Dallas/Ft. Worth)
- Program Director - KRNB "Smooth R&B 105.7"
- Operations Manager - Clear Channel/San Francisco
- Program Director - KISQ (98.1 KISS FM)
- Program Director - KKSF 103.7
- On-Air Personality/Mixer 106 KMEL/107.7 KSOL
1) Where and what was your first job in radio? Early influences?
Graveyard shift on the weekend on KSOL 107.7 (Bay Area). At that time, the PM-drive DJ was Lee Perkins who was one of the first "real people on the radio" and not just a "DJ." He is currently doing mornings at V101 in Sacramento ... and still sounding great.
2) What was/were the most influential radio station(s) growing up?
When I was a youngster, KFRC 610AM was THE larger-than-life station in the Bay Area. Huge personalities, hit music, gigantic ratings. After puberty, it was the style of KSOL 107.7 that really ignited my passion.
3) If you were just starting out in radio, knowing now what you didn't then, would you still do it?
No doubt. Radio is in my blood, and music fills my soul.
4) What stations pre-sets are in your car right now?
I'm still discovering all that the market has to offer, but right now besides my stations, I'm listening to my direct competitors -- the two Top 40s, and some Sports Talk (no, I am not a Cowboys fan).
5) How you prefer to be promoted on new records?
I prefer e-mails, some occasional phone calls, and once in a while a personal visit. I need to know what is coming out, but I don't need to be "worked" or "hyped" on a song or artist.
And do you feel it's necessary to wait on a record you hear until the research validates it?
If the song sounds good to me, and I believe it fits the sound of the station, I will move on it immediately. If it is a formula song that sounds like many others, or the opposite, a new sound that is extremely different from what we are playing, then I will be more cautious and wait and see some research on it.
6) What are your thoughts on today's syndication? What would make it better and more effective and does it significantly affect the number of hours that you have control over the music that you play?
Quality content always works (local or syndicated). Being able to customize the music really makes a syndicated show a better fit for an individual station. I would design shows to be about talk breaks, and let stations program their own music. The host could then cut some individual song breaks that the local stations could run inside music sweeps.
I currently run the Steve Harvey Morning Show on KRNB, but all other shifts are live, local DJs.
7) Because of callout research are today's Urban and Urban AC programmers going to be slower in adding and playing new music?
Just having callout research should not be the reason programmers are slow to add new music; it should be what the research data reveals. What I see in my research is the audiences' appetite for new music is not as strong as the industry's need for it. Listeners say they want familiar. Our job is to work the new music in, surrounded by the familiar, in a ratio that works for our listeners.
And what is the maximum number of spins a record in power rotation could be expected to receive in a given week on KRNB?
Right now, I'm spinning Powers between 30 and 35 spins.
8) Of all the skills you have gained through the years, is there an area you'd like to improve?
There are many areas that I would like to improve, but one that stands out is networking. Perhaps it is a byproduct of working in one market for so many years, but I believe I would be a more complete manager if I communicated with more peers from different markets.
9) How do you account for and what effect do you feel the improved ratings for KRNB is going to have on the market? Do you feel there are going to be new challengers from other formats?
Before we can set our sights on our competition, I believe we first have to focus our efforts on outperforming ourselves. We have been successful in improving the quality of our product and strengthening our brand. I am optimistic that this will result in better ratings in the coming months. I don't see any direct challenges coming from other formats in the near future, but hopefully as we continue to improve, we will expand our listener base and begin to attract listeners from other formats that are dissatisfied with the product they are listening to.
10) As you look back over your career ... any regrets? Missed opportunities?
I have always believed in making the best decision that I can make at that time, so I can honestly say, no regrets. So far, I'm not aware of any "missed opportunities" that I wish I would have taken advantage of.
What would people who think they know Michael Erickson be surprised to know about you?
People who really know me call me Michael; people who think they know me call me Mike.
How do you feel about Arbitron's PPM replacing the diary?
The concept of recording someone's actual listening behavior is extremely accurate, but I believe the sample sizes need to quadruple in order to begin to accurately reflect real listener habits.
At what store would you max out your credit card?
StarPower. Love anything audio/video high tech.