Radio program/music director

Radio program/music director

Jim the radio guy

Boston, MA

Male, 55

I have spent over 25 years in radio as a program/music director as well as on-air for various stations in New England. Feel free to ask me anything you like or wanted to know regarding this fun career!

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27 Questions

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Last Answer on May 31, 2015

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Do radio stations have to pay royalties or licencing fees to the artists in order to play their songs on the radio?

Asked by dan79 about 3 years ago

Hi dan79! It works this way...all stations are required at different intervals of the year to submit a log of every song they play including the composor/writer. These logs then get turned in to BMI or ASCAP (whoever is requesting the logging). Logging is required by law & the station then must perform the logging as per their request & it must be accurate. If a certain song is played a lot the royalties can be large & rewarding for the artist. The type of song (pop, old, rap, country etc) does not matter...all songs must be logged. While stations have various methods of logging, the end result is the same. While there are other details that's the short of it. Stations can play whatever music they wish at anytime...they do not have to pay in advance just to be able to play the song. Thanks for your question dan79!

Why do stations in every major market use the same 'slogan' or word in their title or before their call letters? Like, every city I've lived in has a Q---, or a station that goes by "Mix---", or "xxxx, The Rock"? Are all the "Q's" affiliated?

Asked by Al about 3 years ago

Good question Al...these are more strategic names than slogans. A slogan might be "The greatest hits" while the name could be Q-104.5....Stations use these names because they are easy to remember, give you quick info about what they do & sound cool. Let's face it...Q-104.5 is easier to say & remember than WXWX! This is very common in any market size...large, medium or small. A station might use "mix 106" as it says who they are along with what you might expect...in that case a mix of different music. Slogans & names do not mean they are affiliated. You may hear a "Rock 93.1" near you & another with the same name in the next state over but they may not be affiliated at all. There are planty of stations affiliated with each other in or near the same city but will usually have different formats almost always different names otherwise confusion could result. Stations tend to use some letters more than others...Q & Z are very popular...followed by B & Y. Any letter could be used however. ("F-105.7") Another popular approach is a summary of format & dial position such as "Rock 93.1" or "Real country 103.3" It's a quick & easy way to say what they do & where they are on your dial. It can also help tourists & new people in your area. If you saw a bumperstrip that said "WXWX" you may not know what they do but if you saw one with "Rock 93.1" it sums it up quickly by telling you what they do & where to find them.

Back about 15 years ago, many stations simply would use "Rock 93" as a name. As more stations have arrived, it became possible to have a station on 93.1 & 93.7 both playing rock (or the same format). If they both were called "Rock 93" it may hurt one or the other at ratings time. If you listen to station A but at ratings time you confuse it with station B, station B gets the credit. This is one of the reasons stations have added exact dial positions in their name "93.1" Thanks for your question Al!

Have you ever worked at a station with someone who went on to be famous?

Asked by Nicki1997 about 3 years ago

Hi Nicki1997! If by famous you mean known country wide as opposed to only a certain part of the country yes...it has happened. Most recently that I recall was someone joining CBS news. It has happened the other way around too where we have hired someone who would be considered famous. It's not an everyday event but it does indeed happen. Appreciate the question...thanks!

Is the best talent these days on terrestrial radio or Sirius? Can terrestrial possibly match the huge contracts you hear about Stern and other famous radio personalities getting?

Asked by lolDUKE about 3 years ago

Greetings lolDUKE! "Best" is usually a matter of opinion but there are some talents you can hear on both terrestrial radio & Sirus/XM. Broadway Bill Lee for example is on Sirus/XM as well as WCBS-FM in NYC at different times of the day.  Depending on budget & talent, there are indeed terrestrial stations offering very nice contracts to various talents across the country. There are of course plenty of very talented people who work without a contract & are paid very nicely as well. An example would be a talent that has worked with a contract in a large market until the end of the that contract and then opted to work in a smaller area without having one because they desire the move. Thanks for the question!

Both Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel used to work in radio and they often describe the management folks in radio as extraordinarily stubborn and mired in the "old way" of doing things. Do you agree? Is radio stuck in the stone age, philosophically?

Asked by MANSHOW about 3 years ago

Hi Mainshow..I started in radio in the stone age (LOL) & clearly remember what stations sounded like & what they did in my market. While there are some stations that try to bring back this type of format, they still have to compete & be progressive on & off the air. Radio, like anything else is a business that needs to be with the times in order to survive. That does not mean playing current music necessarily...an oldies station may play older tunes, but they too need to be on top of current things going on in their market. Some "old school" rules still apply because they are successful & they work but every station I have worked at has always looked ahead & has not been afraid to try different methods of gaining an audience. Those methods do not have to be drastic either...a small tweak here & there can make a big difference. That said onto your question...

Management folks can indeed be stubborn when it comes to doing what they think is right for their station...if management approved every single idea that came along they wouldn't survive very long. At the same time they need to be open & listen to suggestions & be ready to act when a good one comes along. This can mean sometimes taking a chance. As a program dir., I have always listened to ideas, talked them out with the staff & reach a decision. Every place I have worked that's been the law of the land. My answer to your question would be no I don't think radio is stuck in the stone age. Thanks for the question Manshow!

What did you think of the whole Don Imus nappy-headed-hoes scandal? I'm not saying the guy's a humanitarian, but that just felt like a guy getting completely railroaded.

Asked by JimDuensich about 3 years ago

JimDuensich - I think Don himself summed it up very well with his apology as stated here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Imus

 

Will I still catch his show when I get the chance? Sure...life goes forward not backward.


Thanks for the question!

 

 

What's your insider's take on how good a radio host Howard Stern is? Is he objectively GOOD? Or is he just a shock jock type who was in the right place at the right time and blew into the stratosphere?

Asked by Stern about 3 years ago

I don't think anyone could argue that he is successful...whether being successful means you are good is opinion. It's true I am in the same business but that doesn't mean my opinion is worth more than anyone else's. In other words, if you are wondering if I can look "objectively" & find something that discredits him or makes him "not good" I cannot. He may have been in the right place at the right time a long time ago but his talents have taken him where he wants to be. We all kind of need to be in the right place to get going. Howard is a radio personality that builds an audience & knows the business. Personally I do think he's good but that does not mean you have to like or listen to every topic he brings up. I have never worked directly with him but have heard he is a very hard worker. You could ask a group of 30 people & get 30 different reasons why he is good or not so great. That's the opinion part of it. Appreciate the question, Stern!