R.A.P. Interview: Scott Statham

R.A.P.: How long had you been handling all the work before your assistant began to help?
Scott: Up until about a week and a half ago. She'd been trying to help me a little bit, but I had a really difficult time letting go. I wanted to make sure it was all done right, so I'd do it myself. I learned that the more important word in my title is Director. I delegate much more now. I sat down with my General Manager and said, "What is the potential of my getting some assistance?" He said, "In the way of another body, don't count on it. There's been a lot of investments made by our company in the past year with this new station, so you just have to figure out what you don't need to be doing."

So I went home and took out a piece of paper and I said, "Okay, I do this and I do this." I made a list and said, "Okay. What don't I have to do?" Then I came in the next morning and said, "You get to do that. Hey you, come here. You get to do this. When there's a problem and it's your production time, you do this." I just started shuffling it off because I needed time to do the things I do best.

It has just been a week that I've been doing that, maybe a few more days than that, but I can already see the time saved. I've written about three pages of promos for the three stations, and I'm getting that time to be able to do the stuff that I haven't been able to do for so long. We were getting some stuff pre-produced and sent to us, and the PD was producing some. I just didn't have the time. I was committed totally to the sales requirements. Young Country was a big success, much bigger than they expected it to be. It's sold out all the time now, and we haven't gotten our first book back.

R.A.P.: Three radio stations...are they in two buildings or one?
Scott: One building, but it's expanding. Right now there are 32 full-time employees here, I think. We have six salespeople in one office, which is pretty large. They all have cubicles, but they're about to move into what I call the sales gymnasium. It's about four times the size of what they've got now.

R.A.P.: How many production studios for these three stations?
Scott: There is one. It's got a Harrison Pro-7 board, a Sony 4-track which loses its tracking all the time because it takes the tape down between the pinch roller and the capstan. There are two Studer 2-tracks. We've got the DigiCart in there, Denon disk player and a Studer disk player that is as old as they get. For effects we've got the Lexicon PCM70, and a bunch of other cart decks -- nothing all that spectacular beyond that.

But there's a new production studio coming. After the president of the company was here today, I think it won't be very long before we get it. Right now the Young Country studio is in what used to be the second production studio, so we added more work in the production department but took away one of the studios. Young Country is expected to be in their new studio within three weeks. After that will come our studio. I'd say late September or October.

R.A.P.: Do you know how the new production studio is going to be equipped?
Scott: We're working on it. We've got to order within two weeks. Digitally, we've talked about a whole bunch of stuff. Every time I get RAP magazine, I look and say, "Oh, that's interesting." I call the number, and they send me literature. Then it's this one has this much better than that, this one's that much cheaper, the Track*Star 8 is six grand and, boy, I'd like to have four of those, but then the Pacific Recorders digital workstation sounds as good as you can get. One of our stations under Trumper Communications has that system. Our Chief Engineer was going to call them today and get the word on it. We've got another station in our group that has the Studer Dyaxis and another one that's got the AKG system. We're far from narrowing it down, but it's going to be digital. However, we're not going to go with DAT. I just keep thinking that DAT's going to die because of recordable CDs. I think people will just like them so much better.

We're going to get another Denon deck and another DigiCart so we can transfer everything into the Young Country studios. That's about as far as we've gone, actually. We've got money allocated, and it's just a matter of figuring out how to spend it. It all came up quickly. We didn't expect it to be coming this soon, and then the president showed up today and said, "I think we need to move a little faster." That's fine by me.

R.A.P.: How are your stations doing in the market?
Scott: MIX is in the top five. The book's not in yet but we have Accu-ratings. I think we're running third and fourth, somewhere in there, depending on the demo. Young Country, like I said, has really surprised a lot of people. I've been out to some of their remotes, and the reaction to this new station is just incredible. There's this huge country station in town that has a lot of years behind it, and their AM-FM combo is about 40% of the market. So we all knew we were going country before anybody told us we were going country, because anything else would be insane. That's a big piece of pie to chew on. You get a little bit of that and you're doing all right. They're hoping for fifth or sixth place in this book. As far as the AM station goes, right now we just switched it over to this business/talk format, the BRN network. We haven't been promoting it because we have been concerned with Young Country, the building and everything else that's been going on. The AM has really been on the back burner, but I think with a little time and some promotion, it could be a money maker for this company, and it hasn't been for some time.

R.A.P.: With three stations and three formats, do you find yourself having to cut three different commercials for the same client?
Scott: There have been cases where we're cutting different commercials for different formats, but usually it's just two different commercials. The AM is attached to one or the other. We rarely write commercials that are strictly for the AM. For Young Country and MIX, we do cut different commercials on occasion. Right now, all three stations are sold by a single sales team. The sales team is going to split on August 1st, and one team will sell Young Country and the other team MIX and WLAP, I think at that point, when they're both calling on the same client and coming back with different information, that we're going to be writing and producing two commercials for the same client.

R.A.P.: Are they going to add more salespeople?
Scott: Yes, they are.

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