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Spike, APD/MD/middays, WYSP/Philadelphia
&
Bob Patrick, MD/afternoons, WXLK/Roanoke

Spike: I haven't worked at a Top 40 station since I was in college. What's it like hearing Lady Gaga so much? I guess you could ask me that about Metallica, but they're Metallica. Have you ever calculated how many times in a given week you hear a Lady Gaga song?
Bob:
I was the only one here at K92 that wanted to play "Just Dance" when it was released so I've been a fan of her stuff since day one. There's so much going on in the studio (phone calls, text messages, social media) that most of the time I don't even pay attention to what's playing. That being said, I suffered from Gaga fatigue toward the end of her first album's run. There's a good chance that a Lady Gaga song has played every hour of the day on several occasions. 

Spike: On a scale of 1-10, how much would you say you hate Keith Rothschild?

Bob:
If the Mets were a good team, it would probably be a 10. But since they're not, and won't be anytime soon, I have nothing to go on based on that premise. I'll put Keith at a solid 6 with room for improvement.

Spike: How many people do you have at the radio station that tell you what's cool and what they like? I remember always wanting to have those people, especially at Top 40 or Alternative, but there are just fewer people who work at radio stations now. Who are they?
Bob: Our office staff is around 80% female so we bounce ideas off of them a lot. My wife is smack dab in the middle of our target audience so I run stuff by her from time to time as well. In both instances (especially my wife) they will tell us what they think without candy coating a thing. Interns are also very helpful.

Spike: What did your wife say to you when you said you were going to a Sixers pre-season game in Virginia? Did you have to lie to her?
Bob: I'm lucky to have the coolest wife of all-time. I didn't have to lie, nor did I have to ask permission, because she wanted to go to the game. We did have to get an usher to boot four dudes out of our seats, which goes down much easier in Roanoke than in my beloved Philadelphia. If memory serves me. we were in Philly for a Sixers game earlier this year and you weren't around to share a beer and breaded chicken sandwich. WTF Spike?

Spike: Settle this once and for all, NSYNC or Backstreet Boys? I don't want some kind of cop out where you don't answer really. Who is better and why?
Bob: Backstreet Boys. I was doing nights when they launched the boy band frenzy of the mid to late 90's and it was crazy! Six Top 10 albums, including three long after NSYNC dissolved. Arguably one of the best pop songs of all-time (“I Want It That Way”). Better voices. Better harmonies. Snappy dressers. Better facial hair. Still selling out arenas in 2011.

Spike: Finish the following sentence: It's August 1st, 2017, Justin Bieber is...
Bob: Balding and at home bitching about the picture TMZ took of him leaving a rehearsal for the reboot of “Dancing With The Stars.”

Spike: You just got married right? Do they have a 12 step program for women who marry guys in radio?

Bob: Married 2 1/2 years ago and there should absolutely be a program for future radio wives. That's a million dollar idea, Spike. Courses should include "He's Working at a Station Event That You Wanted to Attend, Not Ignoring You 101" and "It's His Job, That's Why He Has To Go In To Work Today."

Spike: You have an audience that is hyper active in Facebook, Twitter, whatever the newest Apple products are, how do you integrate yourself and your radio station into those parts of their lives?
Bob:
I'm not a Facebook guy. Simply put, I have zero interest in doing it. Twitter has been great, though. Posting tidbits about my life outside the studio lets folks know that I'm more than a jukebox with a voice and gives what I do a more personal vibe. Our station is very active on Facebook. We've had texting for four years now and it's another great tool if used correctly. As far as Apple products go, we gave away an iPad2 everyday for the last three weeks of the Spring book. HUGE response.

Spike: What do you think the best method of bullshitting your way through not playing a request is? Is it the "yeah, that song's cool, but what about this one?" or is it the "I just played that one," or is it just a simple "yeah, it's coming up," then when they call and ask you where it was, tell them you played it and they must have missed it?
Bob: It definitely plays out based on the caller. Kids are more prone to the Jedi Mind trick and will believe what you tell them. Adults are more of a mixed bag so you've got to be on your toes. The "just played it, can you think of something else" line usually works. My guess is that 90% of the songs I get requests for are currents, so they'll eventually hear them and I say it's coming up.

Spike: Please tell me the Sixers will play this season.

Bob:
As a guy that held onto his Sixers season tickets for two years after he moved to Roanoke, I'm gonna miss watching my beloved 76ers. Spike, my friend, there's no chance in hell they play this season.

 



 
Bob: I know absolutely nothing about programming music for a Rock station. Any chance I can get a Crib Notes version of Rock Programming 101? (No big words, please)
Spike: It’s less about picking the music, that’s different everywhere depending on what Rock it is, what city you’re in, etc. I’d say you should live by these rules:
            Respect the music, seriously. These songs have been the favorite songs of your listeners for not a month or two, but a couple of decades. They remind them of a better time and a better place. In their memory, it’s the BEST time and place. Respect that.
            Know who your listener is. Know exactly who he is. How old he is (not a demo), what his life looks like, and what the absolute heart of what the music he loves is. Then, super serve that music taste.
            Remember your listener has a life, but it’s not the life of an 18 or even a 25 year old. 30 year olds have families, homes, and jobs. Going to concerts isn’t a regular occurrence, nor is going out to a bar. They’re big deals they don’t do every day. If one of them attends one of your events, make it feel as special as they hoped it would be.
            Play the hits.


Bob: I once had a dude in Florida try to sell me a "Philly Cheesesteak" with Philadelphia Cream Cheese on it, claiming that's how they do it in Philly. Being from South Jersey, I knew better and called him out on it. What would you have done in that situation?

Spike: Well he’s wrong. I know he’s wrong, you know he’s wrong. You have two choices; nod and smile, or set up shop outside his business to tell people he’s wrong. There’s no in between. Wrong as it is, I bet it tastes pretty good.


Bob: Have you made any changes to your on-air presentation since you started working in a PPM world? PPM thoughts in general?

Spike: Absolutely. Remember what they’re there for. Your jocks (or me) need to realize that they’re very important, but that doesn’t mean they need to talk for very long. Think of yourself like habanera extract, a little goes a long way. And even though vertical teasing (and the 80/20 rule) is always awesome (as long as it’s less than 20 minutes away), horizontal teasing is the best. People tend to listen to the radio at the same time every day. Do your best to make sure that time is with you. Tell them what’s going to happen tomorrow at the exact same time, be consistent.


Bob: If the situation ever presents itself, how do you deal with someone that has a beef with you simply because you're Philadelphia sports talk icon Howard Eskin's son?

Spike: Believe it or not, a “that’s him, not me bro,” usually takes care of it. Sometimes followed with a “do you agree with everything your dad says?” Some guys are just angry and unhappy with their lives, in that case usually the laugh and walk away works best.


Bob: My foul/home run ball manifesto is as follows: 16 years old is the limit for wearing a glove at a ballgame. You're free to keep your first foul ball, no matter what age you are. After you have one, and you're over 21, you must give it to a kid unless there's historic value to the ball. Obviously, if you're with your children you give it them. Any running over kids/women or making an ass out of yourself to get a ball is an instant ejection from the ballpark. Thoughts?

Spike: That’s amazing. I’ve never seen it put into words. I can’t really disagree with any of this. My only thought is that I might change the age from 16 to 14. All perfect though.


Bob: Is there any format out there that you feel you'd be absolutely useless in? If so, why? For me, it's Country. Not sure I could even pretend I knew what I was doing.

Spike: No, not really. I’ve done Top 40, Alternative, Active Rock, Sports and Classic Rock. Radio is about relating, not about the music or the topics. It’d take me a minute to learn what the post on the Taylor Swift songs are, but I’d figure it out. I love radio, everything about it.


Bob: Who is on your Mount Rushmore for Rock bands?

Spike: Nirvana, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles. To me, the Mount Rushmore of Rock has to be about the game changers. All of those bands caused a shift in how people thought about Rock music, and how that music is made. Nirvana is most important because I believe it’s the last time it will ever happen.


Bob: After you wrap a contest, who do you dread hearing from most? Can Never Get Through So Give Me The Tickets Guy, Talk Sexy So You'll Give Me The Tickets Lady, OR Ask What Caller Am I 15 Minutes After The Contest Ended Guy?

Spike: Hahahaha, this is amazing. I would say the worst is the Can Never Get Through So Give Me The Tickets Guy. He’s the only one of these that will launch me from “bro, you’re being silly,” to “dude, what the f*@k?” I always laugh at the Ask What Caller I Am 15 Minutes Late guy. It’s usually “man, how long do you think it takes me to count nine callers?”


Bob:  Phil Kaso, Keith Rothschild and Joe Daddio are the last three available for a pick up game of basketball. You're the captain and you can only take one. Who are you taking and why?

Spike: Joe Daddio, Phil Kaso, Keith Rothschild. Daddio has the fewest physical ailments, and is at his heart, a Pop guy. I’d always trust a Pop guy with a basketball over a Rock guy. Kaso would cheat to win, which I appreciate, but would be just as likely to sabotage the game to ruin my day. Also, Phil might leave for lunch. Keith now has a bad back, which I know can be a real hindrance to playing basketball. Also, if the game isn’t in Long Island, Keith wouldn’t even be there.


Bob: When old man Spike hangs up the headphones and decides to follow the 76ers around the country, how would you like to be remembered in the long and storied history of Philadelphia radio?

Spike: As egotistical as this may sound, I’ve thought about this at every big moment in my career. When I first got on the air in Philly. When I became Music Director. When I moved to Chicago, when Mike Stern (who I cannot thank enough) left Q101 and I got to program myself, and when I moved back here and have helped navigate our way through the last three years. At this point, no matter what happens tomorrow, or a year from now, I can say I made it and I’m wildly proud of that. I feel proud and lucky.

            As for how I’m remembered. I think of this in two ways…As a programmer, I’d like to be remembered as a guy who never wanted to program scared, and someone whose first instinct was to do what was right. As a jock or a personality, I want anyone who listened to believe and to know that he knew who I really was. That when he heard me on the air, whether he liked or disliked me, it was actually me.

[FMQB ORIGINAL CONTENT, published August 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]

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Nick Petropoulos
Glassnote Entertainment
Group

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