Music Director interview with Geary Kaczorowski of WUMD
Geary's been working at WUMD for years. A great guy at a great station.
QRD – Why did you want the position of music director & why do you think you got it over all the other applicants?
Geary – I wanted to be able to keep up on what was coming out. I got the position because I was the only one that applied for it.
QRD – What do you think the job of a good music director is?
Geary – To determine what would be best for the station & keep the integrity of our mission to be an alternative source of music for our listening area.
QRD – What did you initially think you could accomplish as music director that having obtained the position became obviously impossible?
Geary – Because of financial constraints I have not been able to represent the station to the degree I would have liked to.
QRD – How much do you let your personal taste in music effect your station’s music?
Geary – I try not to let my personal taste effect the station. I’m constantly telling myself to keep an open mind regarding music.
QRD – How have streaming online radio stations affected the purpose & competition for your station?
Geary – We stream which has helped us tremendously to reach a much wider & broader audience.
QRD – What are some things bands/labels can do to get on the fast track into rotation & to eliminate themselves from getting into rotation?
Geary – Concise band & music information makes a big difference. & whether any tracks are FCC safe or not. Labels or bands that send just a CD & no info obviously don’t help themselves because the lack of information doesn’t help people make a decision about them, mostly because DJs are too lazy to preview anything or they’re incurious if there isn’t information about the band.
QRD – Do you read the charts of other stations & if so how do they affect your charts?
Geary – I don’t read charts of other stations.
QRD – Do you solicit labels for servicing or just generally stick with who finds you?
Geary – Occasionally we’ll solicit, but mostly it’s who sends us stuff.
QRD – Do you like to deal directly with labels or do you prefer to deal with some sort of radio promotional team about what is going into the station library & rotation?
Geary – I prefer to deal with neither. You hear too much hype & idle chatter from them.
QRD – What’s the longest time you feel comfortable keeping a record in rotation?
Geary – Eight weeks.
QRD – Do you listen to & review the majority of records you receive yourself?
Geary – Yes, I do.
QRD – How much control do you let individual DJs have over what they play & how do they deal with requests?
Geary – Our DJs have complete control over their shows. We don’t tell them what to play at all.
QRD – What’s the importance of specialty shows at your station?
Geary – Very important. They bring in a huge audience.
QRD – How is your station involved in the local music scene?
Geary – Occasionally we’re more involved depending on the money situation at the station.
QRD – With your experience in radio, are you jaded or hopeful for the music industry?
Geary – I have been in the music industry since the late 70’s so I’m completely jaded about it.
QRD – If your position is temporary, what do you plan to do with your interest in music in the future?
Geary – My position is not temporary.
QRD – What are the best & worst parts of your job?
Geary – Worst part: dealing with the childish nature & irresponsibleness of the DJs. Best part: the music.
QRD – I imagine a lot of the younger generation of DJs pretty much exclusively use MP3s over CDs (much less vinyl). How do you feel about the situation?
Geary – I’m all for it. But I still love spinning vinyl. Our station has a very extensive vinyl & CD collection.
QRD – Do you try to get your entire catalog digitally encoded on a hard drive for radio play? If so, at what compression rate do you feel is appropriate?
Geary – We’re working on digitizing everything. I think we’re doing it at 192.
QRD – How do you feel about automation for overnight or unfilled DJ slots? What program do you use for automation & how does it decide what to play?
Geary – We use automation for all open slots. Our automation programmer has done a great job with placing very interesting songs into the rotation. It’s set at random with IDs, PSAs & promos slotted in at the appropriate moments. I think we’re using I-Tunes for our automation.
QRD – I know that some labels & promotional teams are pushing towards digital download links over physical copies. How do you feel about this?
Geary – Right now it’s still a bit inconvenient, but we are moving towards accepting all digital downloads.
QRD – When I worked in radio, there was a big problem with theft at the station. Since so many people these days just use MP3 players, do they just steal the music rather than the physical disc & do you feel as a DJ they have a right to personally access any music from the station library at any time?
Geary – I’m all for DJs accessing all the music from the station. I have no problem with DJs ripping CDs for their own use. We used to have a theft problem, but for the past couple years it has abated. We were able to jettison lots of our deadwood DJs, the ones that stole & were useless.
QRD – Anything else?
Geary – Not that I can think of.