R.A.P. Interview: Brad Lane

Brad Lane, Creative Services Director/Asst. Program Director, KSTP AM1500, KFMP FM107.1, St. Paul-Minneapolis, MN

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By Jerry Vigil

Find something you love doing… then figure out how to get paid for it. If you can zero in on those two elements, they say the rest is a piece of cake. There’s no doubt that creating entertaining radio imaging is something that Brad Lane loves doing, and while he may not be the owner of a flourishing radio imaging company… yet… he certainly can rest assured he’s getting paid to do what he loves for one of America’s legendary AM radio stations. Privately owned KSTP-AM in St. Paul-Minneapolis has found its niche, as most AMs have, in Talk radio. Together with a lineup of high-personality “live and local” talk show hosts, Brad extends the “stationality” beyond the live segments with the kind of imaging that only comes from someone with a true love for what he does, and a definite gift for entertaining the listener. This month’s RAP Interview takes a peek at the mind behind one of Talk radio’s best, and we get a stimulating sample of Brad’s work on this month’s RAP CD.

JV: Tell us about your start in radio.
Brad: I had always wanted to be in some kind of a public or entertainment arena since I was four years old. I grew up in Texas, and my dad was a Baptist minister. I would always practice being a minister using my chest of drawers as my pulpit. And of course, back then in the mid-70s the preachers were prone to be yelling more at the congregation than they were actually teaching. So, I was always the firebrand minister, and I had a knack for just wanting to be in front of people or to either make them laugh or make them think, to just be entertaining.

As I grew up, I always knew I wanted to be in this arena, but I didn’t know quite what it was going to mean until I got into elementary school and junior high and played a lot of sports. After school, I would always retreat to my room, close the door and play my own game, whether it was Nerf basketball; or during the summers or falls in Texas I would go outside with a football and play a football game by myself in the yard. I would be the players, the officials, the announcers, and the crowd. I can’t tell you how many times people would literally stop their cars watching me the way I played the football game because I was quarterback and I’d throw, and then I’d be the receiver and then I’d have the crowd going crazy. I actually had some neighbors stop me to say, “What in the hell are you doing?” I had fun, and that’s kind of where I guess I developed my love for radio, and to a lesser extent TV.

I always found a way to entertain myself, and my parents could never punish me that way. It was kind of cool. I always found a way to play sports and to be the announcers and do all those kinds of things by myself. And it didn’t matter what the sport was. I’d take a tennis racket out front and play like I was center court for Wimbledon and all that. So that’s kind of how I developed a love for radio. I knew that I wanted to do it. I broke a vertebra in my back playing high school football in Texas, and they graciously let me do the PA announcing for the football games at my high school, and I just continued to love being in front of a microphone. It didn’t scare me. In fact, it emboldened me.

When I graduated from high school, I went off to college, a small junior college, kind of a religious school in north-central Arkansas. The first place I went when I got there — and I didn’t have a car so I walked there – was to the local radio station. The owner of the station was also the guy who ran everything and was the announcer. I’d heard that he did sports out the wazoo. If he could do the little league game and sell it, he would do it. I walked down there without any experience whatsoever and said, “I want to be on the air.” That weekend he sent me three and a half hours away. I borrowed my roommate’s car. He sent me with a headset, one of those cassette tape recorders, and an extra boom mic for the crowd. He sent me three and a half hours away to do a tape delayed broadcast of a 1A or a 2A football game. I had no clue what to do. I just knew how to talk. So, I did the game. I drove back three and a half hours, and then the next morning I dropped off the tape and at 7:00 a.m. I was hearing myself on the radio for the first time. I was 18 years old. This was back in 1988.

JV: It sounds like from the very beginning, even before your first gig in radio, that you were leaning towards talk or sports radio.
Brad: I didn’t know really what I wanted to do. I grew up listening to Stevens & Pruitt, loved their morning show. I grew up listening to Kidd Kraddick who was doing a nighttime show, heavy phones, heavy on the entertainment side for the Eagle down in Dallas. I grew up listening to these guys. I didn’t quite know how it would manifest itself; I just knew I wanted to be on the air doing something, and whatever form that was going to take, I didn’t care. I just knew that I was comfortable on the air. Kind of in the same way that an extrovert gets their energy from people, which I do, I got my energy from being in front of a microphone.

JV: So how did it go after that first 1A football game you did?
Brad: It was funny. I guess I did well enough on that first broadcast that the next week the owner of the station said, “I want you to come do the 5A game live with me.” So I was his color guy on the broadcast the next week. My parents actually drove up and listened to the game, and the one thing they found funny was this line I would use. I’m 18 years old doing a color commentary about a high school game, and one of the teams was doing something that was going against what they were normally known for doing. And my parents to this day will say that I said on the air, “I don’t know what their deal is.” They always rib me about that. “I don’t know what their deal is.” But I walked right into that job. I never had to work very hard at getting a job, and it just took off from there.

JV: Where did you go next?
Brad: I spent two years there, and that was Conway, Arkansas and the radio station was KTOD. And still to this day, I can laugh about it. Its moniker was “The Voice of Toad Suck Country.” But I didn’t care. I was on the air.

From there I went to another small town in Arkansas called Magnolia, and I immediately got a job there at a station that was doing oldies at the time. They were more satellite. It was a small town radio station and obviously, in those days in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s, it was cost-friendly to run satellite. If you could, you augmented that with a little bit of local programming, and I was the weekend morning show guy and ran anything from Sunday morning church services, switching from paid program to paid program, to reading the obituaries after the church service was over.

About three or four months later, we switched formats to a CHR Top 40, and I became “Bad Brad” and did a nighttime call-in/request show. At that point, I fell in love with being a jock playing the hits, getting phone calls, and the adoration of young 14-year old girls. I did a lot of remotes and things like that. I was the Kidd Kraddick of Magnolia, Arkansas if there is such a thing.

Then the owners switched that format. We were hemorrhaging cash. We couldn’t afford it because in those small towns we were catering to the college audience and none of the advertisers wanted to buy it. So they quickly found out that they couldn’t support it anymore. They actually sold the station and we switched to country. We switched formats three times in the space of a year. Then I started doing an afternoon show. I had three different formats in a year and had to switch hats and figure out how to talk to those different audiences within those formats.

JV: But that’s great training, and the kind many people don’t get anymore.
Brad: Yeah. I did every shift that my school schedule would allow. And I didn’t just work at a campus radio station; I was getting real life experience working in radio. When my hours changed at school, they moved me to the morning show to be kind of a bit player. I did news. I did sports. I did a lot of banter with the main guy. Then after that, my hours changed again to where I had an early class, and they moved me to nights.

So, I did every shift that I could possibly do, but it was great experience. I remember the owners coming to me and saying, you know you’re getting too many hours. You’re part-time. We can’t afford to pay you these hours. And I was like, okay. So I still spent the same amount of hours working; I just didn’t put it on my timecard. I wanted to do it so badly that I didn’t care about the money. It wasn’t about the money. It was about being there and doing the job. As long as I could pay for school and pay for my housing, the money meant nothing to me in terms of them paying me. I would have done it for free. That’s also where I kind of learned that if anybody got into this business, whether it’s radio or television, to make a lot of money, they were sadly mistaken.

JV: Did you do any television?
Brad: I graduated from a southern Arkansas university, and throughout my schooling there, my professor was pushing me more towards the television end. So we did a lot of electronic news gathering, a lot of news packages, and we’d send them off. There was actually a television station in Monroe, Louisiana that ran the news reports that we had every Sunday night from various people in our journalism class. I remember sending a video tape to them and they offered me a job at the NBC affiliate in Monroe. I remember being so excited that they had called me, that they were interested in me. Then that turned on its head when I learned how much they wanted to pay me. Their original offer to be what they called a “one man band” — to do all my editing, shooting, voicing, reporting — was $11,500. Even in 1992, I thought that was not going to cut it. [About $18,000 in today’s dollars.]

So, I turned them down and didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had a car full of three-quarter inch video tapes of my demo and I decided to go back home. I thought I’d have a better chance in the Dallas-Fort Worth area where I grew up. So I drove back home and lived in my parents’ house. It was right before the election. I graduated in the summer of ’92 and the economy wasn’t as bad as it is now, but it was kind of in the toilet. I had a hard time finding something. I sent every one of those tapes out and got a couple of letter replies, but hardly any phone calls, no interest.

In the meantime, I started working part-time at a religious station called KNRB which was a real small AM in the mid-cities of Dallas-Fort Worth. I started doing a weekend shift there just to kind of keep my hand in radio, and did that for probably almost a year from the fall of ’92 to the summer of ’93. That station, that frequency, was bought by a company called Children’s Broadcasting. They were just getting into a nationwide format called “Radio Oz.” I really had no interest in sticking around for that, so, I lined up something else to go back to Arkansas and be a jock with one of the guys that I knew in one of the small towns. Right before they flipped the format, some things fell through; some folks didn’t want the production job. It was the Production/Program Director gig, although they were going to run everything out of Minneapolis. The format was originating from Minneapolis and they had like ten or eleven stations across the country. Dallas-Fort Worth was going to be their kind of fringe AM station. They took over and a couple of guys dropped out. They didn’t want the job when they found out what it entailed. I had no real alternative, so I thought well, I’ll take it for now. It paid like fifteen or sixteen thousand.

So I took the job as the PD/production guy for this small AM station in Dallas-Fort Worth running this Radio Oz format. It didn’t take but about two or three weeks to figure out I was good at it. I did character voices. I did impersonations. I just had a ball. They were paying me basically for acting like a kid and cutting up. If it would have been anything like that “Wiggles” or “Barney” kind of thing, I probably would have killed myself. But it was more than that. It was basically just me cutting up and acting like a kid. I was doing all these character voices. I could do it kind of in a way that Mel Blanc did Looney Tunes. I was able to do the voices and have fun on my level, and because I was doing it and laughing and having these fun voices, the kids were having fun with me.

JV: Sounds like more great training.
Brad: Yes. It was a lot of production in terms of commercials and filling the local breaks, but also, every weekend we were out doing promotions and remotes and live broadcasts and we were at every festival. I remember back in those days, KVIL’s Ron Chapman would take what he called the “rolling stereo studio” out on the road. Well what I had was rolling and it was a studio, but it was in no way stereo. I took a couple of cart machines, my CD players and the Marti unit, and we would go out and I’d actually do the show from there. I didn’t have a board op. We would switch control at the transmitter and I would take over the radio station from a remote location. We had a ball. We hit every festival and I found out I was really good at it.

JV: So how did you wind up at KSTP?
Brad: It was September of ’93 when I had started doing these remotes and stuff. By the next summer there was some talk that they were going to try to move me up here to the network, that they loved my stuff. Sure enough, a year later they offered me a job to come up and be the Creative Director for the network at Radio Oz. So November 1, 1994, I moved up here, found my niche, and kept moving. They fired the morning show guy in 1996 and made me the morning show host with a female partner who happens to now be my wife. I did that for another year and a half and was able to incorporate all of my characters, including a segment with Bill Clinton. I was trying to do some things and got in a lot of trouble with parents who thought I was over the line in terms of all of the bits that we did. At the time, the network had grown to about 30 affiliates.

I stayed with that for almost two years. The owners of Radio Oz had a deal with Disney. Disney dropped out of that deal, and decided to start their own format. Well, the owners at Oz did not think they could compete, so they basically shut us down in January of ’98. I went through a long period of just running music and whatnot for the makeshift format until I sent a resume in for this new morning show that was going to start at KSTP in June of ’98 with Barbara Carlson and a bunch of guys around her. Barbara Carlson is the ex-wife of the governor up here, so, she’s got a big name, and a very bombastic, salacious kind of style. So I took the job as kind of the creative producer. We had two producers on the show. One was to book guests and do all the follow-up work, interviews and whatnot, and I was the guy who was running the board and doing bits and stuff like that. The show was eventually called “Babs and the Boys.” There were four of us boys. One guy did the news. One guy kind of set up all the topics. The other guy did the real producing work. I did all the bits. I was able to continue doing a lot of the production stuff that I love doing, but this time on a morning show platform at a legendary talk station.

JV: How long did that last, and what are your duties now?
Brad: I did that for three and a half years. They loved what I did and wanted me to do it more for all of the shows and for the entire station. So in January of 2002, I became the Imaging Director, and all I did was focus on promos and sound design for the station. By that fall, they had decided that they wanted that work to permeate through all of the production for the radio stations, so they offered me the job of Creative Services Director and I accepted. I became the Assistant Program Director in ’04 just because I had the experience of being a PD and an Assistant PD back at Radio Oz, basically handling all of the producers and the scheduling and such.

I have also done a lot of different sports stuff over the years. After I arrived here at KSTP and was doing the morning show, I also did a state high school football scoreboard show for three years from 2000 to 2002. And then in ’04 they approached me about co-hosting a Sunday morning sports talk show which I still do to this day with a couple of sports writers in town. So I kind of have three titles here currently. My areas of focus are creative services for not only AM 1500, but also for our sister talk station FM 107.1, WFMP, a talk station geared towards women. I also oversee the commercial production for that, and I’m also the Assistant Program Director for AM 1500 and co-host on Sunday Sports Talk. I have a production coordinator who helps me with all the commercial production, so my real energy and focus is in promos and imaging AM 1500, always has been.

JV: KSTP’s format is not your typical line of syndicated shows. Tell us a bit about that.
Brad: We have hardly any syndication anymore. Back in ’05, there was a new talk station coming to town that Clear Channel was starting on the FM side, and we were coming to the end of our contract with Rush and Hannity. They could clear Hannity at his regular time and we couldn’t because we had a show that has for many years owned its time slot as far as 2:00 to 5:00 which is when Hannity is on. “Garage Logic” with Joe Soucheray has been the king of that particular time slot, so we never cleared Hannity live, and because this new station could, they decided to switch. And because Clear Channel basically owns the Limbaugh show, they pulled that too.

So all of a sudden we’re left without any syndicated programming for the middle part of the day and when we were running Hannity, which was after Soucheray in the early evening. So, since ’05, maybe even early ’06, except for Coast-To-Coast AM, we’re live and local all day.

JV: That’s kind of rare these days.
Brad: Yeah, and we wanted to make a concerted effort towards personality radio because our station has been less about news. I mean we certainly deal with news, but we’re not a news talk station; we’re a talk station. It’s in our moniker. It’s what we do and we wanted to get back to dealing with personality radio. We also have made a concerted effort to get away from being the right wing radio station. We’re kind of over-saturated in this market with right wing stations. We needed to make an effort to say that our personalities are more commonsense-based, if you will, that this is personality radio. If some of our hosts do lean to the conservative side, it’s not because it’s in agenda. It’s not because we’re imaging ourselves that way. That’s just who they are. But we’ve made a concerted effort to say this is personality radio, this is interesting, engaging, compelling radio, whatever the ideology. This isn’t about ideology. This is about entertainment. This is about making you think. Our agenda is to entertain you and to inform you and to make you think.

JV: What’s your creative approach to a typical promo for KSTP?
Brad: I don’t even know if I have what I would term as a clearly defined creative approach. I draw my inspiration from a number of different things. If I had to pare it down to one word that I can always go back to in terms of my creative approach it would be parody. I love parodying things, whether it’s a song, doing a parody commercial, or parodying a parody itself.

I remember sometime after 9/11 we had this scare about a toxic bomb or something going off in one of our metropolitan cities, and people were talking about caulking your house and duct taping and everything to seal out the vapors. So I did a parody of one of my favorite parodies which was “Colon Blow” from Saturday Night Live. I parodied that for duct tape. As in the bit on Saturday Night Live, it starts off saying, “Hold it. Are you getting the most fiber you can possibly get with that cereal?” And they go through the whole thing. I did the same thing with duct tape. “Super Anti-Terrorists Duct Tape” and “It would take over 10,000 strips of your regular duct tape to have the adhesive power of Super Anti-Terrorists Duct Tape.” That to me is fun.

We’ve done parodies of the On-Star spots, and sometimes I love to insert myself into movies. I always have. We were doing a baseball game ticket promotion, and I did one for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off where I played Cameron playing the voice of the father with Mr. Rooney the principal. I loved doing that.

So I don’t know if I have a creative approach. I do two different sets of promos for 1500. One set is the show promos, where I get show clips and cut them up — just what you would consider to be a basic talk show promo where I try to highlight and illustrate what our shows do, what our hosts do well, in a 30-second format. The others are what I consider more my generic promos where I can have fun with what we do, who we are, how we do it. Those run the gamut. I did a John McCain press conference where I had someone else play the reporter asking him questions about our Twins’ coverage, and obviously I had the answers reflect what I wanted them to be and it worked out.

But as far as an approach, I don’t know that I could articulate quite what it is. If I see something funny, that might be the start. I’ll give you an example of drawing inspiration from a number of different sources. I was in Philadelphia for the NAB in 2005 in my hotel room. I’m just going through one of the magazines there about the city and I came across and ad for a steakhouse. The line on the top said, “If steak were a religion, this would its cathedral.” I thought, there’s a line that I can steal. I just replaced a word and I made it a legal ID, “If talk were a religion, this would be its cathedral, KSTP.” I’ve got another legal ID that I’m particularly proud of that just says, “God gave you a brain. We give you a voice.”

So, I don’t know. Things pop into my head. I’ve got a very weird sense of humor about things and what we do. I love to make fun of us because to me there’s no better way than to point the finger right back and yourself and have a self-deprecating sense of humor. I try to be open to any and all ideas in terms of what’s entertaining and what will touch our audience with an emotion. It’s the same approach I have with our commercials.

To me, we have to break through the clutter. There’s so much clutter out there that occupies a listener or a perspective listener’s attention, whether it’s their telephone, the TV, internet. We need to break through with something interesting or compelling or that touches an emotion in some way, shape or form. It doesn’t have to be funny to be creative. Creativity has nothing to do with being funny. Creativity has to do with touching an emotion. If we can’t do that with the promos or with the bits that we do, the liners, the imaging, then it’s basically wasted time.

JV: Who are some of the people out there who have influenced your creative style?
Brad: I love the stuff that Howard Hoffman does out at KABC in Los Angeles. I actually stole one of his ideas way back in the day, like eight years ago. He did a marvelous bit for the holidays where he had some guys singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and they kept interrupting and saying, “Well what about those of us who celebrate Hanukah, do you mind?” And so by the end of the song they were singing, “We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy Hanukah and a blessed Kwanzaa and a really great Saturday,” because by the end they had somebody who didn’t believe in God at all, who was an atheist. So they were going through everything from Christmas to Hanukah to Kwanzaa to have a really great day. I thought that was really good.

I like what Todd Manley is doing or did at WGN back in the day. To a very small extent I would say Dave Foxx, but I don’t do my stuff in terms of a CHR. I would say that my inspiration doesn’t necessarily come from other producers in radio. I take all inspiration — I mean Saturday Night Live or something I heard from David Letterman or John Stewart or just something that triggers in my mind like a song on the radio. I just did a bit for the bailout to the Dire Straits “Money for Nothing” song. I’ve got a guy who helps with musical tracks and I wanted to do a parody of the Schoolhouse Rock, “I’m just a Bill.” I went, “I’m just a bill, just a bailout bill, and I’m sitting here, on Capitol Hill.”

JV: It sounds like your creative neurons are still firing from that same area of the brain that had you out in the front yard as a kid playing football, doing all the play-by-play and everything else.
Brad: Absolutely. I love that part of it. And I’ll be honest with you — part of being in this business right now scares me because where I am at, at Hubbard Broadcasting, I’m in heaven. It’s only been maybe once or twice when they’ve asked me to take something off the air because they thought I was stepping over the line. They allow me to push the envelope. They encourage pushing the envelope because again, we have to. I remember I did one bit for traffic however, that I did get in trouble for where I said, “When your commutes have more stops and goes than a virgin on prom night….” I got a few complaints on that one.

Other than that, they’ve pretty well allowed me to do my thing, whether it’s making fun of the political candidates or whatever. This year I’ve actually had less fun with the candidates because I can’t make fun of stuff that’s just so funny in and of itself. The reality is more fun than making something up or parodying it. It’s actually hard for me right now to top what Tina Fey is doing or what the candidates are doing themselves. You just basically take the clips. I did one with the clip of Obama saying something like there were 55 states, and they’re like, huh?

But I also try to really hone in on what we do as far as our unique approach to that. I don’t want it to be self-serving for me. If it’s not highlighting what the station does or our unique take on what is going on in the campaign, then it’s really just kind of me having fun, which is fine; I don’t mind entertaining the audience in that way, but hopefully I can do something that points them back to the radio station and gives them a sense that, wow, that’s a very unique prism that they’re looking at things through. I would never get that anywhere else. Hopefully, we’re doing things a little differently here than at other places.

JV: In the world of music radio, talk is the big no-no and you’ve got your ten and fifteen-second promos that are quite common now. What’s the philosophy at KSTP with regard to long promos? Is there such a thing as too much talk on talk radio?
Brad: I was going nuts here before my current boss, Steve Conrad, arrived. I was doing minute-long promos out the wazoo, and he had to me cut back to 30’s to kind of hone it down. So we aren’t spending that much time on them. We have two promo slots an hour leading into breaks so that we can double up on our imaging. Then on the tail end of the break obviously, we get another chance because the hosts themselves or the personalities and the shows have their own liner coming back.

Also, it’s been my experience that in talk radio we don’t really apologize for commercials. I tell our advertisers this all the time: we don’t really apologize for going to break. A lot of music stations will tell you exactly how long the break is, apologize for how long it is, or tell you “more music in two minutes on BOB FM.” We don’t really do that. I may have a weird twisted sense about this, but I view our commercial breaks as an extension of our programming. By that I mean, if we’re providing a service with our programming — entertaining, compelling talk radio — hopefully we’re providing something like that with our commercials.

I don’t want our listeners to tune away, because hopefully, we’re providing a service there too with our advertisers. Hopefully, we are solving a problem. We’re providing a solution. I’m using generic terms here, but if you need a car, if you need siding for your house, hopefully, we’re providing a solution. That’s why I take an approach that’s creative, if not more so, to our commercials as I do to our promos, in order to keep our listeners engaged in what we’re doing. I view it as an extension, not a place to tune away. I think it’s a mistake to apologize for going to commercial break; I don’t care if it’s a music station. I think you have to view that as a value to the listener. And if you produce your commercials in such a way, it will become a value. They will not only be entertained but informed.

The Super Bowl is the greatest example of that. The Super Bowl is watched more for its commercials than it is for the game. Why is that? Because they’re memorable. They’re funny. They’re creative. They keep people there. Why don’t we take that approach with every spot that we have in radio? I don’t get it. Plus, with all of the advertisers that we have coming in, if they’re not spending their money creating spots via the agency, they’re getting value added. Hopefully, that goes right back into the “buy here.” Certainly we don’t have the talent or the deep pockets to hire talent to pull off some of the scripts that we write, but hopefully we’re writing agency level copy and providing close to an agency level type spot that will keep the listener. It’s all about the listener. As I tell our advertisers, stop talking about “you,” start talking about what you do for your prospective client, i.e., our listener. If you can solve that problem, there will be no tune out.

JV: How would you teach what you do to someone? An intern comes in says they want to be a Creative Services Director for a talk radio station, like KSTP. How would you go about teaching them?
Brad: First, I would have to ascertain if they’ve got the mentality to do it. And I mean, the mentality to do it like I do it. I can tell within five to ten minutes if they have it. I have interns come in every semester from the various colleges here. You can tell when you talk about the job. I can play for them some of my stuff. I can play for them my e-Harmony parody or I can play for them my “men of genius” parodies of Budweiser. You can tell if they have it. Their eyes light up. They actually move their chair a little closer. Their energy level then goes up. They get increasingly more excited about the prospects of being able to do that themselves. When they hear it, they’re like, “Wow, that’s really cool. I want to be able to do that.” If you’ve got that clay, then you’ve got something.

I can teach them the fundamentals. Any monkey can come in here and edit on Pro Tools. Anybody can learn how to program NextGen to run their promos and commercials. And to some extent, I think any idiot can come in here and learn how to edit show clips, put it to a voiceover, and make a show promo. The key is to tell a story with it, to make it engaging, make it interesting, to use your experience, to drop the music here to accentuate this particular line from the host then to bring it back in, to put an effect in there. Not because we’re trying to be cute or funny, but because that particular phrase needs to stand out.

To me it’s all about their mentality. If they come in with the kind of attitude and acumen that will lend itself towards creativity, and they absolutely love it, that’s what it takes. It may sound trite, but you have to love the process. It can’t be just about, wow, I’m done with that commercial, whew. It’s got to be more about the process, enjoying the creative brainstorming, the writing, going back and forth. Heck, I feel bad when I’m done with one of these projects because then I’m looking for the next one. I like the process. I’m a process person. Once I get to the end, I’m looking for the next bit, the next promo, the next idea. But definitely the hardest part is finding someone who gets it. And that’s my big phrase: they get it.

JV: What’s down the road for you?
Brad: I don’t know. I struggle with that every day. I’ve had two separate meetings with my PD about where I want to go. I thoroughly enjoy doing on-air stuff still. I have the Sunday show. I love sports. I always have. That’s not a chore for me. That show is easy to do in that respect. And it keeps my hand in programming a little bit. I don’t lose that edge or understanding of what’s going on with the radio station, and it puts me right in the cockpit to hear the station as many of our hosts do, as they hear it during their weekday shows. Is the imaging up to snuff? How is it sounding as it’s going out over the air?

Probably the least fun of my job is the Assistant Program Director stuff. I’m good at it, but it’s not the most fun part. Creatively speaking, it saps my energy. I love doing bits. If I had one job I really would love to do, I would just love to sit back and create either those creative generic promos that brand us and image us and do bits for shows.

But I don’t know. I’m a little bit nervous about where the industry is headed in terms of automation and doubling up with responsibilities. I think I’m more nervous about losing my edge than I am about losing my job. I don’t want to get to the point where I don’t come to work every day being extremely excited about the possibilities of creating something new and exciting and entertaining. I’m more nervous about losing that, losing the possibilities in my mind than I am about losing my job because I think as long as I’ve got those faculties, I’ll be fine.

But to totally come around and answer your question, I have no clue. I want to keep doing what I’m doing. I want to be the best at it. I really don’t have a care in the world to win an award. If somebody recognizes me, that’s great. I love the accolades and I love people recognizing the creativity — I have a big enough ego for that. But I’m my own worst critic. If I’m satisfied at the end of the day then that’s all. I can go to sleep at night and get up the next morning and feel great.

I don’t know where this business is going, or if I can stay in a role like this and flourish. I’ve kind of hit the ceiling in terms of creativity here, in terms of being promoted and whatnot. Does that mean I need to go back on the air and put that creativity to use? I don’t know.

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