AS YOU KNOW, WE PUBLISHED AN INTERVIEW WITH BOB VANDERHEYDEDN A FEW WEEKS AGO. FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW, HOW MUCH INDIVIDUAL CONTROL DOES THE INDIVIDUAL STATION HAVE OVER PROGRAMMING AND HOW MUCH IS CORPORATE DICTATE?
I think you just hit the nail on the head in terms of the success of the CBS FM division, and that is that we have diversity among the radio stations. I remember years ago when the RKO stations were on top that people would come by and say, "The program director of the group hasn't decided whether to add it or not." You remember those days when one guy held the key to 7 radio stations. That's never the case with the CBS FM division. Bob Hyland, president of the FM division, just does not run the group that way. His feeling is the individual stations and their GM's hired competent program directors who are in their market and they know what's going on. I can tell you that Bob Hyland and Bob Vanderheyden have never issued an order or dictated to do something or play something. They allow each PD in his own market to decide what's right. And as a result, while there are similarities between the five Top 40 stations in the group because we subscribe to similar philosophies, none of these radio stations sound the same.
WHAT KIND OF INTERACTION DO YOU HAVE BETWEEN THE PROGRAM DIRECTORS AND THE NEW YORK OFFICE?
I would say the relationship could be best defined as supportive. I deal mostly with Bob Vanderheyden, our program director. My GM, Bob Nelson, deals more with Bob Hyland, although I feel free to call him whenever I want to ask questions or whatever. Supportive is the key word. As I mentioned earlier, they never come with dictates, they come with questions and then they open debate on them. If we get into a bind, whether it's a budgetary problem or I want to run a contest and I can't get it past somebody or we've got to bend a rule a little bit to get this through, Bob Hyland's going to be there to see what he can do and Bob Vanderheyden is going to be there pitching him. Our Director of Marketing and Research in New York is Cathy Seipp and she's tremendous. She's the one who says, "Let's look at these Arbitrends. Let's talk about the Arbitron and see what this book is really telling us about your radio station. Let's go to Maryland together and look at the diaries." She's right there telling us exactly what we need to know in terms of how our radio station is actually doing. Besides making that Arbitron book translate into everyday English for us, Cathy helps coordinate the in-market research we do - focus groups and so on. So when we look at New York It's not one of those home office things where you think, "Gees, I've got to get this through New York before 1 can get it anywhere." We're talking about people who are here to help us out and every one of us treats it in that manner.
DO YOU HAVE GROUP CONFERENCES AND CONFERENCE CALLS AND IF SO, WHAT DO THEY DEAL WITH?
The CBS FM PD's get together 2, maybe 3 times a year for B.S. conferences. As far as phone conference calls, we do them when there is a topic that Bob Hyland and Bob Vanderheyden would like us all to think about. More often than not, I feel free to pick up the phone and call Rick Peters or Scott Walker or any of my other counterparts and ask how they're handling something and we bounce ideas off one another.
LET'S PULL OUT YOUR PERSONAL LIFE SCRIPT AND LOOK AT TOMORROW FOR YOU.
I really don't have any major goals or aspirations, and that's the God's honest truth and I'll tell you why: When I was a jock at KSD I always said it would take a stick of dynamite to blow me out of there, I loved that radio station so much, I would have never left it for any kind of monetary offer. I had it firmly in my mind that I was music director, then I would become program director and then God knows what from there on. I had layed out a kind of order to my life and the net result was that the station was sold and I was just left out in the cold with all my plans. I swore at that point that, as trite as it is, I've got to take it a day at a time. I feel that I'm happy doing what I'm doing and if I succeed at it then I'm sure it will lead me somewhere that I want to be taken.
IN LOS ANGELES THERE'S KIIS-FM WITH SOME PHENOMENAL NUMBERS...
Boy, aint that the truth!