Crosspost[xpost] Rebecca Skloot (author of "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks") is doing an AMA in r/books; follow the link in the text to ask her a question!
May 30th 2017 by benoliver999 • 43 Questions • 500 Points
My short bio: Due to contractual agreements and non-disclosure I must be vague, but I'm verified confidentially. I worked for Clear Channel Communications for nearly a decade in a prime market as the host of my own show. I interviewed several celebrities and went to nearly any event you can think of There is a lot to radio that isn't as it appears. My Proof: confidentially confirmed. EDIT: Alright folks I need to go. I'll check back later and try to hit the questions I've missed. Thanks for all the questions. EDIT: Thank you everyone for participating. For those of you who are interested in my new career I may do an AMA at your request, but I'm undecided as of now. Thanks again, but it's time for this to end. See you on Reddit
What advice would you give to someone basically starting over at 28 years of age?
Outside of film and music, what big aspirations do you have in your personal life? (i.e, plant a garden, get a pilot's license, etc etc).
One of the major radio stations in my area is known for something called the "War of the Roses" where they (allegedly) help their listeners do things like catch cheating spouses by calling them and pretending to be a florist and asking the person who they'd like to send a dozen free red roses to, and then they put the significant other on the line and drama ensues. What's the real story behind those types of things?
Realize how lucky you are that you are in a position to start over. You're still a baby!! You don't realize how young you'll feel when you're my age.
I'm really interested in microbiology, and law! The possibilities after graduating from high school are endless.
I'm not going to say they are all fake, but they are fake. I have acted as a cheater or the cheated in several of these for jocks across the country. You have to regulate what's said so much that unless sit was all entirely pre recorded a jock wouldn't have the time to set all that up and edit the material. It is much easier to have someone who knows how radio works and what type of responses will pull in listeners to do it for you.
When you say work your face off/hustle, what exactely are some tasks to do to move your business forward? What tasks can you do to occupy yourself a whole day and feel good that you pushed ur business forward?
What was your thought when you got hit in the head with the flag while performing at the Oscars? (Which you handled amazingly, didn't even stop for a second) Loved Moana, I listen to soundtrack almost everyday.
How much of a typical daily broadcast is automated and how much is manual? I imagine a computer could eternally string together sections of music and ads pulled from designated libraries, so what stuff does a DJ actually do nowadays?
I let zero minutes waste. 15 straight hours every single day. Constantly doing. Just work. You can not waste time on stupid stuff.
Every Monday we would have a meeting and go over the playlist FOR THE WEEK! The jock looks at a computer screen with the audio wave length and just talks over the ending of one song going in to the intro to the next. Everything is pre-set on that Monday. The "all request all night" and "total request hour" is bullshit. When you call and request a song you are only getting on air if you happened to request a song that was already set to play meaning if you call in at 5:15 and request the panda song and it's set to play already at 5:45 then you think they played it for you but if you call in and request a song that isn't going to play like weird al yankovich (who I love) Amish Paradise then they are never playing it.
Gary, my family has a pharmacy business which is now really struggling, my parents are working their asses off. I'm currently studying industrial engineering, my question is: should I put my efforts in helping them with the business or carry on with my studies? Btw I'm 19 turning 20 on monday
Moana was animated, but do you still ever get recognized in public?
like weird al yankovich (who I love)
A real fan would know it's Yankovic without an H.
j/k thanks for the AMA
If you think that you can come in and save the day but you also have the air cover from your family to quit your studies then you should do it - BUT that's a big IF.
YES! The response to our film has been so wonderful and positive, and I'm always surprised and grateful when I am recognized as the voice of Moana. :)
I'll use my phones autocorrect as an excuse. Lol. My bad. I can sing that whole song by heart if that builds my Yank cred.
Depends on the radio station. The one I worked at tried to minimize pre recorded voice, and have us live as much as we can.
To try as many things as possible and get into the YES business instead of the NO business. Think about what you can potentially do.
My favorite part would have to have been during our press tour, he was so kind and sort of a mentor that I could look to for help.
The jock is usually live but talking over a playlist, but even then a lot of jocks just pre-record their whole show.
What's your favorite meme?
Is it true, that person on air (moderator or DJ) don't have any control over the playlist? Even requests from an audience are pre-recorded?
Far bigger than most people thing in 5 yeasrs - Billions and billions and billions and billions -- 10 years - understood with more billions : ) -- in 20 years might start looking like television which means it will be a mature market or overpriced
Yes. It is all pre-set a week in advance. I hated the music that I played (all the poppy top 40 garbage) so I would occasionally play a request if it was a song I liked. To do that was a pain because when you insert a song it adjusts the entire playlist by 3 to 5 minutes depending on the length of the song. If you don't have the song already on the playlists then you have to manually input it from a Disc which means you have to pause the playlist and play the song live which is a super pain, but I still did it.
Gary, what are the three biggest trends you see in digital advertising today that are here to stay?
What are the best and worst aspects of finding such great success at a young age?
Being 16 I know I have a lot to learn in many areas; my career being one of them. I've had once in a life time opportunities and experiences, and I've also missed family functions and friend's birthdays. I think keeping an open mind is really important for any type of success.
Lol yeah they are actually a Disc/gassed. It's a CD in a cassette like deck and you put it in to the system.
Hey, Gary! I'm a web developer with entrepreneurial tendencies; I've been watching/reading your content for a couple of years.
Have you experimented with chatbots or other AI-related web technologies? The AI market seems to be heating up thanks to cloud-delivered services, and I'm wondering how you think AI will affect digital marketing?
First, a big THANK YOU! Moana is an amazing character and my son (3) adores the movie. Moana is an instant classic and one so many future films will be compared to.
Were any of your parts ad libbed, or changed on the spot due to your own personality or unexpected things that happened on set?
And another thing. Why radios playing the same songs again and again? For example, interpret has dozens of songs and radio station plays just two over and over.
Obessed. Time is the most valuable thing. AI is built on saving us time. BUT the people that try to eliminate the human element will lose. People still need to be a part of it. Needs to be a good blend. Those people will win
There were more than a few parts I ad libbed. I have a natural tendency to make weird flabbergasted noises and somehow they worked with the film!! Yay!!
P.S. Please tell your son I said hello!!
How do you vet the people you work with?
What's a trend you're glad is over?
Omg!!! A live AMA and it's someone that I'm a huge fan of! Questions.... What's your favorite ice cream flavor? What music have you been listening to recently? What's your Favorite book? What's the best advice you've ever gotten?
Thanks for this AMA!! You're a huge inspiration for my little cousins, they want to be just like you when they grow up :)
I worked in a small/medium market radio newsroom for close to 9 years. You aren't kidding. I was amazed when I first entered the industry at how much radio wasn't live.
Anyway, where do you feel FM/AM radio is going? Since I left, I notice less and less emphasis on local content, which is all FM/AM radio has to offer that other sources don't. If they aren't offering the only thing that sets them apart, how do these station remain open? I can get music anywhere and I set the playlist, which I can't do with traditional radio.
I vet people 100% intuitively. As quickly as I hire, I'm willing to fire. I'm glad people are no longer using a tragedy to get a follower account i.e using donating to cause for every new follower.
Thank you so much!! -Vanilla Bean -THE ENTIRE DEAR EVAN HANSEN ALBUM -Aesop's Fables -Always pre-treat a stain before washing. ALWAYS.
This was just starting to be a problem when i left the business. Car dealerships were taking note of what station the cars coming in were set to and found that a large majority either had satellite or their phones connected. That reduced the advertisement sales price eventually. We used to have conference calls on how to keep free radio relevant and our Production Manager said we would soon be equivalent to newspapers.
Did you interview anyone you wanted to punch in the face? And if so,Who?
Zero. I get uncomfortable because I am unbelievably competitive.
He. Is. AMAZING!!!! So sweet, so smart, he also gives realllly good hugs.
EVERYONE OF THE AMERICAN IDOL FUCKS. Edit: thanks for the Gold. Cherry popped.
Thank you so so much. As of right now, my life motto is stay grounded and stay appreciative. I think it's something I can always work on, so it'll grow with me over time.
Contestants. They just acted like they were famous and made demands and were snotty. Even the losers of the show when they did the idol tours.
Aloha! Growing up in Hawai'i, as well as attending a school firmly rooted in Polynesian teachings, I was able to bring my life experiences into my performance.
Definitely Hamburger Steak. Rainbow Drive-In. YUMMEH.
I didn't but another jock did and yeah she was nice.
Where is your favorite place to go out and enjoy in Hawaii?
I'm bullish on it. I haven't gone deep enough so I stay away. Technology always eats the world.
If I'm not at home chilling, you can find me at the beach :)
The women. Seriously the notoriety was awesome. I did tv commercials too and I couldn't go anywhere without getting recognized and signing autographs. I felt like a tool doing it, but I also felt like I was in the top of the world. Girls everywhere, until they found out I lived in an apartment and drove a honda.
You have spoken before about a college ambassador.
What are you looking to get out of in particular from that position/person in the future?
Congratulations on being the first Polynesian Disney princess! It's really amazing that little girls can look up to someone who looks more like them which was something I never had when I was young. What's your favourite dessert?
Why does the new radio station in my area play only 9 or 10 songs, basically on repeat, all day long, with a few random ones sprinkled in?
People with attention and influence is what I trade so that's what I'd be looking for -- but there has to be an exchange in value. What I love is that influencers can go out to dinner and get paid for it because they're posting for the restaurant -- those are getting paid and those are making fun of it.
Thank you so much! It's so important to have heroines our younger generation can look up to. I know being 16 myself, I look up to Moana as well! ALSOOO.... (this is a VERY hard question btw) Key Lime Pie. :)
So the station I worked for was a CHR (contemporary hit radio) top 40 station. So songs are broken down in to categories by ClearChannel. Gold is a song that has been around for years and is still relevant, ie. Baby got back, California love, etc. Then there are the top 5 - 7 songs on the top 40 charts. Those play EVERY hour. Then the next 5 they play EVERY other and So on and so forth.
Hey Gary, what is the best strategy to gain a following and to get known for a musician (Hip Hop) with a very poor following?
What was it like performing at the Oscars?
Performing at the Oscars will be something I will never forget. I still vividly remember being SO. NERVOUS!!! It was a new experience working through those nerves and giving everything to my performance, and it worked out pretty well!
It may be a song the programming director loves or shares with his spouse as "their" song and he does it for them. A lot of jocks do this.
Gary, what's on your homescreen? Whose homescreen do you wish you could see?
What was your and your family/friends reaction when you were cast as a lead in a Disney animated film as your first major acting role? Had to feel insane. Thanks!
There was a fair amount of screaming, I can tell you that. My family and friends are incredibly supportive, I love them to bits.
Knew a guy. Lol maybe they really liked your music or the station had it set up where they would play some unknown artists from time to time.
Gary, What are you getting out of being a volunteer for Pencils of Promise? (Thanks for being you)
How exactly do you pronounce your name? And what are the worst pronunciation of it you've had?
A lot of stations know you probably only listen to the radio going to work and going home.
They don't have to pay someone to DJ if they can just have automation play a ton of music all day long.
Scratching my intuition. It just felt like the right place to be giving back. It made sense for my time and I loved the founder, Adam Braun.
OW - like you stubbed your toe LEE - Like Bruce Lee and add another EE
They don't, but someone has to fill the dead air and introduce songs and talk about what's going on in the are and promote businesses. All of that is factored in to sales.
London! I worked on my accent on the plane over and everything.
P.S. Moana is coming to Netflix!!! Check it out!!!
When I listen to radio and I catch it, yes it does aggregate me. It also aggregates me when the jock uses filler words or doesn't have a music bed he/she is talking over dead space or just has no flow with lots of pauses. I rarely listen to radio anymore.
HOW MANY CLIENTS did you have when you started to put systems in place and outsourcing? Thanks for all the content!
How has being cast as Moana changed your life? This is my four year old daughters favorite movie right now (and mine too)!
When do you feel terrestrial radio started going downhill?
I remember growing up, the radio was pretty much the only option. Using a boombox and recording a song off a radio, song after song, hoping DJ Jackass and the Morning Zoo didn't add a fart or barfing noise at the end of the song is how I made my first playlist.
I never outsource work.
My life has certainly changed. While I am still a student, I now do my studies in places other than a classroom. I have been able to travel around the world, and meet wonderful people as well. So so grateful!!
I remember recording songs off the radio and recording songs off MTV on my tape recorder. Lol. When iPods and napster/sharebear, and satellite radio came out, we saw a decline in sales and callers.
What is it about you that frustrates the people in your life the most?
What's your favourite line or song lyric from the movie?
How much did you make? How many hours did you work? What are you doing now, professionally?
Getting time with me. Access is a real challenge. You can have a 5 minute facetime for #60secclub but only 1 minute with my own employees.
"Blow dart in my butt cheek." from Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson.
Jocks make shit money $30-$50k, unless you are syndicated meaning your show is across the nation (Ryan seacrest or open house party) then you can make a million a year or way more. Each station that plays your show may pay you $10k+. The real benefits are the sponsorships and free shit. Bill bang my interns Clinton screwed this up in a way by creating the play for pay law which prevented companies and studios from giving gifts or paying jocks money to play songs or give free advertisements. Now it's done through sponsorships. I had a free unlimited cellphone, free cable/internet, discounts out the ass, free golf (I played almost every day any course I wanted), free stays at vacation spots, free drinks in clubs with VIP access, and any concert and sporting event I wanted with back stage access. Edit: Today I am a Federal Agent putting murders and rapists and child rapists behind bars. Big change.
I might be a little biased, but I'd say it's pretty high up there.
ONE TIME I MET THIS BABY (I'd say around 3 years old) AND HE WAS CRYING SUPER SUPER HARD AND HIS PARENTS WERE LIKE "omg you're about to meet Moana can you please relax and take a nice picture" AND HE DID. LIKE FULLY STOPPED CRYING AND LOOKED UP AT ME WITH HIS FACE AND WAS LIKE "Moana?" AND. I. LOVED IT.
I was riding on a plane and the guy next to me was a Fed. We talked about it for a while he told me to shoot him my info. I did he sent me a packet I filled it out got accepted and that's that.
How are DJs able to keep talking right up to the point that lyrics in the song start? Is it practice, a visual thing you can see, or just listening to it while talking? Or some other thing?
By executing. Don't expect anything until you've actually done it. Nobody owes you shit. Look at Kobe and LeBron - they executed and got the attention they deserved. Don't blame it on anything - especially your age.
You see two wave lengths on the screen and a moving line that shows where your at in the song. You see when to start talking and when to stop before you start talking over the words to the song
How much consumer information is being gathered from radio listeners by apps like I Heart Radio?
By learning how to say "yes" and "no." You're only a pushover if you allow it. Learn how to take, not at the expense of what your giving. I am always willing to give because it is not transactional. I pay attention to the Macro.
Pineapple. I'm a total 'Pineapple on Pizza' kind of person.
So the companies buy this data and that's one way they determine what songs are hits, what older songs are gold, but other than that, not too much.
When changing careers to a different industry, any tips on best way to convince hiring managers that your previous experience is relevant?
Do you think Moana represents a new kind of Disney movie, where the heroine doesn't need a love interest or to be pursuing/evading one? Did you get that impression while working on the movie?
That sounds dangerous, do radio hosts ever mess with the questions? For example you have a recording of lady ga ga saying "yes I do" has there ever been a case where the radio asks a different question, "like do have 3 nipples" or something really bad?
By not trying to convince them. Never sell. Make them believe you and your story.
I think Disney films are reflective of their times, and at this point in time we need heroes and heroines who take control of their story! I absolutely loved working on this film, and everything it stands for. <3
If do this with callers on my topic for the day. If I asked a question and they didn't give the response I wanted I'd ask something else which would generate a response that fit the previous question then edit it around.
Gary, we know you are a Mount Ida Mustang alum however I've never heard you say what your major was?
Thanks for all you do!
Hi Auli'i! I've been singing Moana on my way to class for so long now, thank you for making this movie magical!
As the newest Disney princess, what other Disney princess is your favorite and why? Thanks for doing the AMA!!
Ok maybe this is outside of your knowledge, but there's a radio station in Seattle where the morning hosts do a thing called "2nd date update" where they call a girl while a guy she went out with is on the line, and ask her to describe their first date, and explain why she won't return his calls or go on a second date. Some of these seem very scripted with events that seem impossible to have actually occurred and over-the-top interactions between the guy and girl ... They make us think it's legit but I swear half the time it's made up... Legit?
Mulan was my favorite Disney Princess growing up. I recognized from a young age that she was breaking gender roles, and I also really loved that she had a talking dragon as a friend.
I talked about this already but I did the exact same thing for another station. I was the guy who didn't call back and my script was because she was ugly. Needless to say, it got a lot of discussion brought on to the show.
What was the biggest shock that people not in the industry might have when learning about this profession?
Well after performing on the Oscars and performing the National Anthem, next thing on my bucket list is going skydiving.
My biggest shock was how important and "famous" jocks think they are.
What is your process for making difficult decisions quickly?
Everyone's asking serious questions about your career. I just want to know, what's your favorite sandwich?
Why do radio stations never announce format changes? I've noticed they're very secretive when it comes to firing DJs or changing formats completely. Just turn it on one day and my favorite dj is gone. Or my alternative rock station is now meringue.
Believing in my intent. That's all that matters.
Grilled cheese. Made specifically by my mommy. Slightly burned.
I didn't experience this so I'm not sure. I mean jocks quit or get fired and they would scramble to replace them with whoever they had available for the next day ( that's how I got my own show)
What would you credit with being the source of your poise and composure? You performed so well at the Oscars, even with a slight flag-related mishap!
I hope great things await you in life!
Did you find your coworkers to have a lot of substance abuse problems?
I worked at a large, non-Clear Channel Top 40 station for a couple of years and nearly everyone had an obvious drinking problem that they'd pretend was just "being cool" and "partying". Obviously if you're paid to be at a bar for an event you're going to have a drink or two but these were full-grown adults getting so drunk they'd piss themselves in their sleep and just kinda shrug it off. It turned me off from the whole industry (among other things), which was a bummer because I do enjoy hosting things with a microphone.
I always make sure that I'm well practiced and prepared, but in the moments before I go out on stage I just remember to breathe. Phew.
Yes. I drank a lot. Never really got in to the drug phase but I saw a jock show up to a live event, mumbling, and staggering, clearly shitfaces and snort a line of coke then grab the mic and start talking. You couldn't tell he was the same person from a few seconds ago. Lots of pill poppers too.
What are you planning to do next career wise (other than sing the National Anthem)?
Wait, magic shows are fake?!
I'M IN A TV SHOWWWW!!!! It's new to NBC and it's called RISE!!!! If you can tell by the number of exclamation points, I AM SUPER-DE-DUPER EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
No they are just like wrestling.
Yes indeed I am!! Thank you so much for all of your questions!!!
Each night before bed it's real to me.
The callers for contests and giveaways: real people or is it John and Mary from sales acting like callers?
Some yes and some no. So you first have to realize that companies spend thousands and thousands of dollars to be associate with big contests so if for whatever reason the station isn't getting enough callers or enough entertaining callers then a friend or salesman or jock (disguising their voice) would call in and act goofy and bring about excitement to spark interest, boost ratings, and please the associated business. I have used and been used by other stations across the country to act as a contestant on a show. Specifically a blind date show and I just stand by they tell me the script and tell me I'm playing an assholes who thinks the date was ugly. The girl was also in on it and So I'm bashing her looks and saying how her picture was bullshit. This caused a whirlwind of callers creating excitement on the show. Guys defending me and girls defending her.
Not the OP, but have a friend who worked in radio. Mid-sized market, she says all the callers are real, but you always get the same people calling in all the time and an individual can only win once a month or once every three months or something.
One story she told me, they were taking the 100th caller or something and the same 5 people probably called 10 times each.
Happens a lot. I would change their voice in Adobe audition so they would sound like a man if they were female or visa versa or make young people sound older or older younger on these nights
I've won a bunch of stuff from my local radio station. Money, concert tickets, tickets to shows, lottery tickets. It's very real. Just gotta be quick on the redial.
Not all of its fake, but if you win that much then you are what we call a "long time caller" we love you guys and hook you up every chance we get to keep you coming around.
Do y'all still speed up songs in order to get one more song (or commercial) into the hour?
We did this at the station I worked at in the '90s (was owned by Genesis Broadcasting).
Follow up to that: in my day, we literally sped the rotation of the record (2%, I think). This, of course, slightly affected the pitch.
I suppose today you have the tech to speed up the songs without affecting pitch.
We also cut out parts of songs that didn't fit our format. I remember we tossed the guitar solo out of Simply Irresistible because it didn't fit our top-40/pop format, but was a top-40 song.
Yes they do very minimally but yes. That's also how you can tell it's a requested song cause if they play it out of the playlist then it doesn't have that few % upspeed. The radio edit songs are typically already in this format.
Whats your take on popular independent stations like KEXP?
I think it's great. They are the home brew of radio and some great bears come out of home brews. Edit: beers, but bears would make for one hell of a story.
Is there a surefire trick to winning radio contests, where you have to be X caller to win?
Be a regular caller all the time. If they know you they will be more likely to just pick you. Other than that the lines jam up instantly. Know the time that they typically run contest and call a minute or two before.
This is a cool AMA. Thanks for sharing.
I DJ weekly on an independent college station.
What metrics did you use to tell how many people were listening at a given time?
Any run-ins with the FCC over something you said/did on-air?
What ultimately will keep FM radio alive? Should it be kept alive?
Thanks for working to take down creeps and criminals. How do you feel about the current perception of law enforcement in regards to force used, and question of its necessity?
- Nelson ratings. We would go through a book period where they were monitoring it through various methods for a month or so at a time like sweeps week for tv.
- I played some local bands that cursed on air I didn't get in trouble cause it was during safe harbor time (after 10) but my management got a call. I also answered the phone lines with the sound board on and blew both my ear drums and yelled fuck. They let it slide.
- If the internet goes out and satellite radio goes away.
- I think a lot of bad people exist in the world and some of them are cops. People don't understand though the reaction it takes to protect yourself and others. A person can stab you before you can pull your gun and shoot them from a pretty good distance. So when you are faced with the split decisions and the wrong one could mean you are dead, you tend to go with the other choice, sometimes it's wrong.
How do they shrink you down small enough to fit inside my car stereo?
Ever watch Willy Wonka?
By fake, do you mean that we're meant to think it's live when most of it is "pre-recorded"?
Yes it's set up a week in advance. I elaborate more on it somewhere in this thread.
How does one get into radio?
I'm constantly being told to do so as I apparently have a nice voice.
I was amanager of a store. We did promotions with the station. The jock and I hit it off and always had fun on the air. When we were off air I did silly voices and we were just joking and having fun. He incited me on his show and I did characters on his show then one thing led to another and I had a contract in my face. Then through luck chance and a little skill I got my own show fairly quick. I would say show up to a station and get your foot in by asking to be an intern. Unpaid and they will work the shit out of you, but if you are good they will keep you around and start giving you assignments and gigs.
What's the honest opinion in the radio business on Howard Stern and how much of an impact did his move to satellite radio have (if any)?
So a lot of jocks hate him because he "ruined radio for the rest of us" a lot of what he did cause rules to change. I love Howard. He is a pioneer of radio. No fucks given with that guy.
What does the on-air talent, and I guess more importantly, program directors, think of all the bullshit that people like O&A and Stern talked about when they'd shit-talk terrestrial radio: I'm talking about faked prank calls, prep service bits/talking points, the fake 'war of the roses' and 'busted' and 'the fugitive' bits, etc? Are these things actually considered to be positives for the station/shows, or are they acknowledged to be kind of garbage filler that is just sort of there because it's always been there?
Why do women on morning shows not get to actually ever say anything of substance and instead just laugh and scold the host and the wacky guy? Why is the morning format so standardized, anyway?
Were you ever involved in a 'radio war' with another station? How fake and dumb was it?
First question: Not really. They did their thing we did ours. We have our bullshit fillers too. I'm not sure. We had a female for a long time she was the main on air talent for the morning show. Yeah it was real. They talked shit about one of our guys and our station was way better and bigger than theirs so we went and bought out their best jocks contract and hired him (just to talk shit really) and then I absolutely crushed them in ratings right after. It was epic. Our jocks (i never did) would fight at live remotes and sabatoge eachothers sound equipment. It was an eventful year