Kasper, APD/MD WAKS/Cleveland
Jagger, MD, WHTZ/New York

Jagger: We both got our start in our hometown of Youngstown, Ohio at the legendary WHOT. Tell us the stops you made from there to get to WAKS (96.5 KISS FM) in Cleveland.
Kasper: Yep, and what a blast it was right? A couple of kids right out of high school working at the station they grew up listening to and pestering as baby radio geeks…gotta love it! So from HOT it was off to Erie, PA as the APD/MD/Night guy at WRTS/Star 104. Then to Roanoke, VA for MD/afternoons at WXLK (K92) and then to Cleveland as the MD/night guy at WAKS - which was then "Kiss 104.9", and only covered a small portion of the metro. Eventually we moved to 96.5, a full market signal and I moved up to Afternoon Drive and added on APD duties as well. I left for Afternoon Drive at WIOQ (Q102)/Philly for about a year, missed the programming side of things and returned to KISS/Cleveland to be reunited with my friends Callout and Selector.

Jagger: Not only are you the Assistant Program Director/Music Director at KISS, but you're also the Afternoon Drive Jock AND you're voice tracking a bunch of other markets like Baton Rouge, Dallas, Youngstown and KISS XM. Any advice that you would give to some of the up and coming jocks out there?
Kasper: First and foremost, embrace multi-tasking. We're all wearing multiple hats these days, that's the biz in 2011! Network with your peers. Be yourself on the air, but find someone who inspires you and study their show and career path. Be passionate about your own show, make every break count and have FUN. Be prepared to move in order to achieve your long term goals. Stay humble regardless of success. Ask questions!  Embrace and seek out constructive criticism. Oh, and don't swear into the mic!

Jagger: You and your wife Krissy recently had your first child, Katie. How is it being a Dad and how has it challenged everything else that you are doing with your life and career?

Kasper: Eight months later I'm a diaper-changing machine! Poop and pee, you've been CONQUERED! Seriously, she makes me want to be the best I can be at everything I do in life and work. It's hard to put into words here how amazing it is to be not only a Dad, but HER Dad. Watching her grow and do things for the first time is incredible. She just started saying "Mama" and "Dada" over the past couple weeks and just loves to talk, period - even if it's mainly baby-speak. Our family always jokes that radio is in her blood since Krissy and I are both in the business. Hey, whether she wants to be a doctor, lawyer, vet, teacher or the first female host of American Top 40, she's got our support. Watch out just in case though, Seacrest!

Jagger: Who are your biggest influences thus far in your career?
Kasper: The biggest influence was my Grandpa who is the reason I'm in radio today. He was a huge music buff who had tons of albums and all the latest tech gadgets at the time, which included a microphone that was hooked up to speakers. When I was really little and we went to my grandparents, he'd let me talk on the mic over the songs playing and we'd record it. Because of this, I caught the radio bug pretty early and never looked back.

Jagger: When LeBron James made his now infamous decision breaking a lot of hearts in Ohio, what did WAKS do on the air with it? Have you done anything since he returned as a member of the Heat?

Kasper: Our morning show (Elvis Duran and the Morning Show) was on vacation when Lebron made his South Beach-talent-taking announcement to the world, so (WAKS PD) Bo (Matthews) had me do the morning show live in place of Elvis' best-of the next morning. I honestly probably could have been on the air for 24 hours straight and still not had every phone call get though. It was unreal. The city was disappointed, angry and heartbroken but more so by the way he did it, on National TV in prime time. We ended up having a lot of fun with it in promos and muted Lebron's name out of Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" which garnered national attention. 

Jagger: What artists have you had the chance to either meet or interview that you were surprised about how cool they really were?
Kasper: Shontelle, Gwen Stefani, Ludacris, Sean Paul and Rihanna all come to mind, all so cool and down to earth. Honorable mention goes out to G-Unit, you would think they were recording a new album when they were here, that's how seriously they took recording their artist station IDs for us.

Jagger: Your station recently started a new feature that runs twice a day called the “96.5 Kiss FM Takeover” where you let your listeners actually control songs that air on 96-5 Kiss FM. It sounds like a really cool idea. Can you tell us more about it?

Kasper: We partnered up with the guys at LDR (Listener Driven Radio) for this feature which lives up to its title completely. Listeners literally take over the station for an entire hour at 3pm and 7pm by voting for any song they want to hear via kisscleveland.com. Nexgen and LDR are set up to work in perfect symphony with each other, and the songs with the most votes are automatically plugged into Nexgen to play. Anything within the realm of pop music goes whether it's something brand new, a throwback or a song we're already playing 6,000 times a week. Interestingly enough, it's the latter that gets the most votes, but there's definitely a good amount of the "oh wow" and new stuff being voted on and playing. The feedback thus far has been incredible, the passion level for it on Twitter and Facebook is unreal and our numbers in those hours are healthy as ever. So far, so good!

Jagger: It was unique to grow up with a friend who loved radio as much as you did. When we started out at WHOT we always knew we wanted to work in bigger markets and at bigger stations. It was pretty cool working with you. If we were to work together again how would you pick a perfect scenario?

Kasper: Whoever becomes PD somewhere first hires the other if there's an opening, deal?

Jagger: On a more personal note…What’s one thing that people may not know about you?
Kasper: I'm a HUGE comic book geek. I loved Iron Man, Avengers, X-Men and Spidey before Hollywood made it cool to love Iron Man, Avengers, X-Men, and Spidey. It's gotta be Marvel though! Outside of Batman, DC is just okay.

Jagger: I think that you have some of the best ears in the business, what song(s) do you think Top 40 missed?

Kasper: More recently, I thought Eminem/Lil Wayne's "No Love" should have done better nationally than it did. Going back a little bit, Blake Lewis "I Got U" should have been one of the biggest hits of 2008. Britney Spears "Unusual You" from her Circus CD should have also been a single that would have been a smash! 

Jagger: As kids growing up I was (and still am) an Ohio State Buckeyes fan. I remember you were a big Michigan fan. All of a sudden you are now a Buckeyes fan.  How did that happen?
Kasper: It's true! Admittedly, I'm not a huge college football guy to begin with, the NFL is my passion (GO BROWNS!) but I never was a Buckeye fan until Jim Tressel left Youngstown State University (our alma mater) for the head coaching job at OSU. I'm a big Scarlet and Gray guy now, "In Tressel We Trust"....even if he's suspended for six games along with half the team. Long live the sweater vest!



Kasper: Okay bro, you've been a diehard Indians your entire life. I seriously don't know a bigger Tribe fan than you. Yes, you live and work in New York now, but how is that you own...a >gasp< Yankees jersey?!?

Jagger: I am probably the biggest Cleveland Indians fan you know but a few years ago when I first started working in New York I saw a sports store going out of business and I got a great deal on an authentic Yankees jersey. For a while I got addicted to buying other teams jerseys too. But that does not compare to the amount of Indians gear that I have. 

Kasper: I would say that you're in one of the most unique positions in the business today. You're holding down double duty at two of the most legendary stations in the world - Music Director at Z100 and night personality at WKTU. What's your typical day like and how do you juggle the two? Has Mo Bounce ever had to run down the hall to KTU while you're both on the air to ask you for a fill song?

Jagger: My typical day is BUSY! Half the day is Z100 related taking care of my programming duties, and then when I go on the on air at KTU at 7pm of course my focus is on KTU. Then when I get off the air at midnight I finish whatever Z100 stuff I have left for the day. As Cubby once said to me the job of an MD never ends, you need music everyday. So it keeps you busy. But of course you know that already. Mo has never had to run down the hall to get a fill song, but he has texted or called my cell phone while I was on KTU to get one.

Kasper: What does Starbucks have to do to lure you over to the dark side and away from Dunkin' Donuts?

Jagger: I don’t hate Starbucks. I just really prefer the taste of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. Plus after all of the years of going to DD I find it odd at Starbucks that I have to put my own cream and sugar in my coffee there. I guess I got used to that.

Kasper: Your dual role at Z100 and KTU probably conjures up thoughts of "holy crap, he must be busy" for many, but in fact you have a THIRD role, your own syndicated show, The Weekend Throwdown. How's the show going and where do you find the time? Clones? An evil twin? 

Jagger: The show is going great! We just celebrated our third year of doing it and it does keep me busy. I follow a schedule that keeps me on track every week. Since the show is pre-produced I am a week ahead. So on Monday I review the charts to make music decisions, figure out who our guest is on that upcoming show, make sure that DJ Prime has our music rotations so he can put together our Level 3 Mix and from there I hand schedule the four hours and start putting everything else together. I don’t have a clone or an evil twin but I do have a great team involved with the show including my Associate Producer Anthony “Flipz” Fillepleo, Trey Morgan, Wendy Wild, Prime, Matt Haze, Joe Rosati and also Rich O’ Brien, Dianne Cook and Joan Brooks from SupeRadio

Kasper: People are always surprised when they find out we've known each other since Kindergarten back in Youngstown and are best buds to this day. We were some pretty extreme baby radio geeks. Remember when my bedroom radio station LMA'd yours?

Jagger: I do remember those days. I know it probably seems weird to some people but it was great practice for our future careers. I think I just thought it would be more fun to have one station instead of two. I remember you made a tape welcoming me to your station and gave me all of the programming elements (sweepers and stagers). We were pretty intense.

Kasper: Many an East Coast record rep will love me for this question. What are the deciding factors for a song to get into rotation at Z100?

Jagger: Well I can tell you that when we need a certain type of sound that is a deciding factor (i.e Rhythmic, Pop or Rock). We really like to keep the balance.

Kasper: We had such a blast working together right out of high school at WHOT. It's going to be hard to narrow down, but what's your favorite memory from those days?

Jagger: WOW! We had fun there didn’t we? I think we were fortunate that our first PD/Mentor Tom Pappas actually let us develop as jocks on the air and he wasn’t strict with what we could do on our shows. A couple of my favorite memories are when I was on 7-Mid and you were on after me doing the overnights while I was wrapping up my MD stuff for the day and we would do a break together talking about the song you were coming out of and I remember one time it was The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” and I commented what a great love song it was and you called me out on the air and said have you ever listened to the lyrics, it’s about stalking. I could not stop laughing on the air with you.

Kasper: Artists and celebs are dropping by your building all the time, which has been your favorite to meet?

Jagger: Too many cool ones to pick just one. I thought Usher, Taylor Swift and Jason Derulo were really cool people. Jay-Z was awesome as well!

Kasper: What's next for Jagger?

Jagger: To be honest some day I’d love to be a CHR PD, which was always my dream as a kid growing up. To be the guy in charge of making the station sound great, plus I really like coaching the talent as well. Right now I’m pretty happy with everything here but of course that would be pretty cool too.

Kasper: Admit it, one of these days my Browns and your Steelers will meet in the playoffs and the Browns will win.

Jagger: I’ve seen the Browns play the Steelers in the playoffs twice that I can remember and I don’t see that happening again for awhile until the Browns get everything put together. They do have a nice young team but I don’t see the Steelers losing to them in the playoffs anytime soon buddy.

Kasper: You weren’t always Jagger, at one point in the beginning of your career you were using the name Kidd Thomas. You ever miss going by that name, and have you ever slipped up.

Jagger: Right, when I first went on the air at WHOT I was Mike “Kidd” Thomas, after awhile I dropped the Mike and was just Kidd Thomas but then when I was given the chance to be the fulltime night guy they wanted me to drop the Kidd. That was really tough for me then. The last time I was Kidd Thomas was a brief stint in Mobile in 1999. I did like it then but am happy that name went away. No I have never slipped up calling myself the wrong name on the air, thank goodness. Hopefully you didn’t jinx me.

FMQB ORIGINAL CONTENT, published April 2011, please do not republish or reprint without the express consent of FMQB. Make sure you visit us on the Web at www.fmqb.com


Nicki Farag,
SVP of Promotion,
Def Jam Recordings


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