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Former Buzz Jock Featured

August 15, 2003

NAME: Valorie Knight
MARKET: Manchester, NH
COMPANY: Clear Channel
BORN: Kansas City, MO 5/2/????
RAISED: Kansas City, MO

a brief stint in central Missouri after High School at KLDN, a 3,000 watt country station … it was the only station in town!

1. How did this happen? What made you want to get into radio? Who were your early influences? What was your first record you ever bought? First concert you ever attended?
I walked into the station and said I'd like to work in radio, and the GM/Owner/Engineer said, well, you've got some good pipes…why don't we start you out answering the phone…and then one night the overnight guy didn't show up and the rest is history! In college I would listen to a couple of female jocks in Kansas City and I would always think, wow, I could do that…and yeah, I was one of those kids that used to stay up at night and listen to my dad's short wave radio and try to pick up stations all over the country.

First record? The Carpenters (I think I was 7). First concert? Ray Charles, with my parents. Eric Clapton was the first without them.

2. What sets your station apart from others in your market? What makes it pop?
We are very local. Our morning show is one of the best shows I've ever heard…and you can't listen for more than a couple minutes and not know that you are in New England.

3. Let's look into your music meeting for a minute. How many people are involved in the process of putting music on the air? How much weight do others opinions have?
Usually, I have pre-meeting prep. I ask for opinions in the building (especially if I'm not sure about something) by seeking out what the guys that are actually in the demo think. A lot of times, I may hate it, but they all rally around and love it. Then J.R., the Music Director, and I sit down, and truly hammer out what we think are the best tunes that fit the sound of the station the most. I really like doing music the old fashioned way and just adding it because it's a good song. I think that surprises people sometimes.

4. The industry has so many tools today. It has changed the entire process dramatically. How much of your decisions are based on research and how much is just good old school gut?
I use both, but in different circumstances. Obviously, I use my gut more when picking records, and oftentimes you use your gut when deciding which records to move up and out of nights …b ased on phones and the sound on the air. For example, I don't have research on the White Stripes, but we're getting such huge phone reaction and it sounds so kick ass on the air that it went from nights to all dayparts. To be safe, research is an important factor when deciding which records are powers, when to move them out and when you have burn.

5. Any advice you could give to any less experienced up-and-coming PD/APD/MD's out there?
Network, Network, Network.

6. No one is ever right on the money every time. That said, when you don't like a particular track that you are being worked on, what other indicators do you factor into your decisions? Do retail numbers make you re-examine your decisions? Research? What other stations do you "look at"?
As I said earlier, I rely on the ears of others in the building, and I always surround myself with people in the demo. I do look at retail, but I don't really pay a lot of attention to what the other stations are doing.

7. What do you think of the current state of the ROCK/ACTIVE ROCK format? Where do you draw the line between a Rock and an Alternative song?
The state of music right now reminds me of a couple of other eras in rock, the early 90's and the late 90's, when there were so many new bands breaking and the pendulum is definitely swinging towards the rock side of music right now. Just look at TV adds…so many are rock artists right now.

When I hear a song that doesn't have that active rock edge, or it's more "alternapunk," it's more like a square peg in a round hole. It's very subjective, and it's really a song by song case.

8. Records are taking much much longer to test. The "sleeping giants" of the past 12 months , Chevelle, Seether and Trapt, took a tremendous amount of time and patience to develop into hits. How do you balance commitment to an artist and traffic? How do choose what records will get the 300-350 spins that they might need to test well?
I think that you have to make up your mind that you believe in a record and stay on it. I've seen it happen so many times. You hear a record for the first time and you just know. And despite what's happening around you, you stick with it and it's a beautiful thing when it happens. We were one of the first stations to put Trapt in power, and that was really a gut move. We believed that it was a hit and stuck with it.

9. Any advice for young, up-and-coming label promoters new to radio promotion.
Do your homework…be fair to everybody and have a story!

10. In the coming months, most new cars coming off of the line will have a satellite receiver of some sort installed at the factory. What kind of impact do you forsee this having on terrestrial radio? Have you been exposed to satellite radio? Any thoughts or comments?
I'm pretty out of the loop on that and frankly would never pay for music in my car.


A. What current based rock artist do you see having the ability and skills to stick around for several records in today's instant gratification oriented society?
Audioslave, Puddle of Mudd, Linkin Park

B. What are some of your favorite full-lengths from this year?
Audioslave, Black Label Society, Kevin Martin and the HiWatts