9 1/2 Questions: Energy 103.7 Launch/Jake Kaplan

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Since I have had a delay in podcasts I wanted to get you some juicy content in the meantime.  I do have 2 episodes almost ready.  Brian Lee will be posted once he gets a few spare minutes for me (he seems to be VERY busy voicing everything, everywhere these days) but we have chatted and he is definitely on board.   Dave Bethell will be following that episode soon after (or may before!).  Dave was in Dallas recently so I coerced him into an “In Person” interview but that’s not all!  He is handing me TONS of audio and we made a movie.  I put him in Studio B at TM and made him teach me something.  He did not disappoint.

Today, I start a new segment on my website which I wont do all that regularly except when I think it is warranted.  If something goes down that needs more than just a “note” or link I will try and reach out to the proper person and get their take on the situation.  I call this 9 1/2 questions because All Access, the best radio trade publication, has 10 questions and who am I to try and one-up All Access?  So “9 1/2 Questions” seemed like a nice way to pay homage and save everyone involved valuable time.

This time we talk about a pretty major station flip or launch depending on how you want to see it.  Sophie 103.7 in San Diego had been one of multiple “Hot AC” stations and while I do not know much about that particular landscape it seems obvious Clear Channel had that battle won with Star.  SO, much like in L.A., CBS is waging a CHR war for the younger female demos and if things go anything like L.A. they should have a pretty cool battle in their future.  Of course like L.A. they are going up against a MONSTER in Channel 93.3.  Enter Jake Kaplan (and Mike Crank as you will read, sort of).  Jake was given lots of time and the resources needed to put on a GREAT CHR station built FOR San Diego, Energy 93.7.  These aren’t just my words but the tone of the comments I have been reading online.  First, you will see a link to the launch audio then the interview.  Hope you dig my brand new blatantly-ripped-off totally original concept for a new segment.  As with anything I do, critique is welcome and suggestions should go to my email address.

Site Link: http://formatchange.com/sophie-103-7-hits-energy/#.T38AMI7I5j6

MP3 Link:  http://formatchange.com/audio/566.mp3

1.  First, Congrats on the “flip” or launch of Energy in San Diego!  The word on the web is that people love it.  What are you hearing as far as feedback?

Thanks so much.  Super stoked to finally have the station on the air.  We’ve been getting a lot of listener feedback on the phones..people seem to love the station, and they are getting it…the staff at the station has been amazing!!! All the board ops, jocks, promo staff and sales staff have been super excited about the station.  Got a couple of really nice emails from friend’s of friends too, people not in radio…which is great!

2.  So, its a big market, big decision for the company, but correct me if I am wrong not a huge format change?  Still female driven, just shifting the music a bit (Not going from CHR to FM Talk etc).  How does this play into the decisions you make when planning out the imaging?  Also, just discuss your vision and what you tried to accomplish with this.

Being that the previous station was a female targeted station doesn’t hurt,  def put us ahead of the game.   Rather than the format flip from KLSX to AMP, where the format change was a complete cume flush.  But the previous format didn’t factor into the Imaging, it’s all about matching the vibe of the music we are playing…creating Imaging that fits the Energy brand, the artist we play, and the lifestyle of San Diego.
3.  You told me Mike Crank (my hero) had a major role in this? what did he do?
Mike Crank was def my hero in this format flip.  He produced the beatmix during the sign on.  We had been going a different direction with the stunt, and it just wasn’t sticking.  So we decided to go in a new direction the day before, and Mike came to the rescue and produced that beatmix.  I totally didn’t have enough time to produce something like that in the short amount of time before the flip.  One of the great things about our building is we have several amazing Imaging Guys all under the same roof..Mike Crank, Trevor Shand, and Mike Santos!
4.  Talk about the timing/workload of the whole process.  From the minute they said “We’re doing this” to the instant it all hit the air.  And how much time did you put into it?
It was actually decided earlier this year.  Kevin Weatherly, John Michael, Chad Fitzsimmons and I where able to go down to San Diego a few times and listen to the market and hangout.  So I actually had a lot of time to build the imaging.   So nothing was every rushed…we really signed on with a ton of production, cause I had plenty of time to produce it.  When i got to the station Thursday morning, it was all about organizing it in the Audio Vault…and finishing piecing together the sign-on.
5.  Because a ton of cool people are out of a gig, will you be the main imaging guy full-time, did they hire someone awesome?  Are they looking to hire?
We are looking for an Imaging Director,  it’s a great gig, you get to live in San Diego…and work with us in LA.  I’m not sure if the job has been posted yet but I’d love to get the word out.  I’ve already heard from a lot of interested people.  Could you have em’ hit me up if interested.  [email protected]

6.  We discussed the AMP launch in your interview but tell me about all the different people that were involved in this.  Who all heard your stuff and who all participated in the imaging AND the launch as a whole?

I actually produced all the imaging, cept for Mike’s amazing beat mix during the sign on.  Pretty normal drill,  played the stuff Kevin as I progressed along, also made periodic demos for Greg Strassel and everyone in New York,  also demos for Bob Bolinger’s staff in San Diego…

7.  Did you get any fancy new tools specifically to use on Energy?  Maybe a cool new FX library you hadn’t had before, plug-in, hardware, brand of whiskey, etc etc

Was able to get my complete Pro Tools set up mirrored on my Macbook pro…so i could seamlessly edit my sessions on my Mac Pro in LA…or produce on my laptop in San Diego…was very handy.  Had to get the wireless keyboard and magic mouse as well.
8.  Talk about the Voices, sound elements and FX you are using and why.

Voices on Energy are the same as AMP..Mocean Melvin, Leah Dukes, myself…and the listeners!
9.  Talk about the San Diego aspect.  What do you know of SD aside from just living a few hours away?  Did you move into the gaslamp district for a month?  Start calling random people? You injected a lot of SD related elements and references which is obviously a major aspect of the imaging.  (For anyone that didn’t hear it he had a major part of the Ron Burgundy, Anchorman 2 announcement in the launch – QUICK! and funny.)

San Diego and LA are totally diff markets.  People in San Diego don’t really like the Lakers, the Dodgers, and Hollywood.  I’m not gonna lie, we stayed in the most gorgeous city in the US, La Jolla on our trips down there…But i’ve spent plenty of time all around San Diego in the past, and we went out a few nights in Gaslamp, also John Michael and I drove the entire market one Saturday…which was a lot of fun!  i hit up a lot of my friends in San Diego,  non-radio friends who didn’t have a clue as to what i was up to.  Also Charese Fruge was a great help in getting me more familiar with the market.
As for the Ron Burgundy drop,  he announced the night before on Conan that there would be sequel to Anchorman (Chad Fitzsimmons dug that drop up)….it was perfect timing for stunt, one of those gems…totally a coincidence.
9 1/2.  Tell me something you know now, you didn’t know before Energy launched.
I know how well a staff can adapt to change.  Format Flips are tough, one day your going in one direction. and then next it’s a totally different direction.  The staff at CBS San Diego was so pumped about the new format,  the board ops/jocks got it, and we’re super excited about the change.  The KYXY staff, our promo staff from LA, the sales staff all was super excited for Energy.  So i learned how well people can adapt to change,  and how well people can embrace it in a difficult time.

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