BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I spent most of my radio career in the beautiful desert town of Tucson, AZ, starting at 16 years old and working for some great stations including KRQ, KJYK and KOHT. I was then fortunate enough to work up the road with the team at Power 92 (KKFR) and 104.7 Kiss FM (KZZP) in Phoenix, before heading to Los Angeles to program Hot 92.3 (KHHT). After a year in Brazil, I’m back in the states, working here in San Diego.
1. What got you into radio?
The feeling I got when I listened to stations like 107.5 WGCI Chicago, 102 Jamz Orlando and 92.3 The Beat Los Angeles. I love the feeling good radio gives me between the songs. I knew at 13 years old that I wanted to do this. I was fortunate enough to be able to break in to the biz super early, and cut my teeth as a teenager, thanks to Bruce St. James and Boogie D who gave me my first gig at 16!
2. Are you adjusting to life in America’s Finest City?
Hands down, best gig I’ve ever had. Everyone always tells me, “You must love San Diego, what a great place to work!” And it is, but it wouldn’t be this good if I didn’t work for an amazing company. That makes all the difference.
Oh, I have to wake up early now. After I left Hot in L.A., I took two years off to live in Brazil to concentrate on my syndicated Sunday Nite Slow Jams show, write a book (www.rdub.com) and produce a little movie (www.power1490.com). My house in Brazil is literally right in front of the ocean, so while I was “on the beach,” I was literally, “on the beach!” There were many naps.
3. So…you’re a big fan of tacos. What are some of the taco hot spots in the San Diego area?
At the risk of angering my fellow San Diegans, Mexican food out here isn’t that dope. Having grown up in the region that has the best Mexican food EVER (The Sonoran desert of Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora, Mexico), I’m a pretty tough taco critic. San Diego peeps look at me sideways when I say their tacos aren’t great, but trust me-you ain’t had Mexican ’til you’ve have Sonoran. Once you go Sonoran…well, you know the rest.
Check out my video reviews at www.tacoinspector.com. I’m still searching for good tacos here in SD. I’ll let you know how that goes.
4. Your position as PD of XHTZ and XHRM seems almost like a dream come true for you. You get to program a Top 40/Rhythmic with an amazing heritage and you get to program Magic, a Rhythmic Oldies station with every bit as much heritage in the market. What jumps out at you about each of the stations as you work day-to-day at them?
Funny, because I used to be vehemently opposed to programming two radio stations at once. I really think each station and its staff deserves its own PD. But in this case, I was so passionate about these two formats, and specific station brands, that I actually wanted both. I told them I wanted to take on the two. It’s like being able to date two super hot chicks at once…why choose just one if you can have both..together…at the same time…wow!!!
For the first few months, I had to pinch myself every time I walked by the Jammin’ Z90 logo in the hallway. I still find it pretty incredible. What a heritage, amazing and important part of San Diego this station is! I remember listening to airchecks of Z90 in the 90s. It’s such a great station and I feel so blessed to be a part of it. We have a great team that lives the station and the city.
And Magic? Magic has always been the country’s premiere “Old School” radio station. To be a part of that, and to follow Magic’s predecessors like Bruce St. James, Rick Thomas and Fred Rico…it’s quite humbling. Magic’s a jewel and so much fun to program. Our listeners are some of the most loyal ones out there. They truly love Magic…and we love them back!
5. What may surprise people about San Diego?
My friends that lack basic geography skills can’t seem to fathom that we are just 20 miles from another country. We have the country’s busiest single-runway airport. We are home to the country’s largest wooden structure: the Hotel Del Coronado. Oh, and Z90′s call letters are actually five-letters long!!! X-H-I-T-Z!!! I didn’t even know that ’til four months into the job!
6. What’s your favorite song on Z90 right now?
Well, you know I’m a sucker for a Slow Jam, so hearing Usher’s Climax on Z sounds great…and refreshing. I hope ballads will start to make a comeback!
7. You’ve been outspoken about the current state of radio. What do you do with your staff to focus them on where you want them to be as entertainers, communicators and broadcasters?
First, I must brag on our company for a second. I almost feel like I am back in the 90s sometimes. We have a pretty full staff, we’re live and local, we spend money on our promotions, and we actually care about our listeners. The lights are still on throughout our hallways, real people are actually in the studios, promotions kids can be found frolicking through the building, and music is heard blaring from our Music Directors’ offices. It’s a real “radio station” (remember those?!), and I absolutely love that!!! Our company, Local Media of San Diego, is everything that’s good about radio! They realize that you get out what you put in.
It’s a busy day around here, but I always try to carve out time to have some good one-on-one time with my staff. It’s never enough time, but even if it’s just stopping in the studio to talk about a promotion in person, or a break, or ask how their show is going–I do my best to be accessible and be an advocate and coach.
I try to become a better programmer every day. I’m lucky to work with Tracy Johnson, our VP of Programming, who is the best talent coach in the biz and just a crazy-brilliant mind. I try to learn as much as I can from him–or “steal his swag” as the kids are saying these days.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t brag on our GM, Gregg Wolfson. It is friggin’ awesome to have a GM who “gets” programming. I know too many horror stories about GMs who don’t have a clue. Gregg’s an amazing leader who sees the programming side as much as the sales side, and that is refreshing.
8. What do you like to do in your spare time?
There is none. Seriously. Any spare time I have, I’m working on my syndicated Sunday Nite Slow Jams show, which is now five nights a week. We just launched a second, Mainstream/Top 40 version, as well as celebrated our 50th affiliate. Shout out to all my stations and the PDs who believed in me and the show. Learn more at www.slowjams.com
9. If you could be on any TV reality show or game show, which would you want to be on?
I’ve always wanted to be on the Real World. Hang out in a big house with hot chicas all day and eat other people’s food. Hells to the yay-yuh! Either that, or Supermarket Sweep.
10. Hypothetical question…If you were getting married in two months and you could have any group or singer perform at your reception, who would you choose?
Nicki Minaj, so I could push her down the stairs.