Friday, April 28, 2006

The Brian Pierce Interview

Mike Marino is an L.A. Radio Programmer & Consultant and interviewed Bri for his website. Here is the transcript.

THE SHOW: "Brian & Kellie"
THE CITY: Springfield, IL
THE CAST OF CHARACTERS: Brian Pierce, Kellie Michaels.
CREATE THE SCENE: Name the one thing about your city most folk’ don’t know?
Brian: Springfield, Illinois is the final resting place for Santa Ana’s LEG. (Get in a history book.)

And the one thing about radio in your market, that impresses you (or, does NOT impress you)?
Brian: I’m impressed by my own company – Midwest Family Broadcasting. We break all the rules – remembering we made the rules in the first place. Our programming is a throw back to the days when this business was fun. I can’t imagine working anywhere else. My company operates it’s own 40,000 sq. ft. venue – and we promote virtually all the live music here.

If the radio station disappeared tomorrow, what’s the ONE thing listeners would miss most about your show?
Brian: Brian & Kellie are the grown up’s on the radio. We’re that show you can’t beat – because we’ve been together so long (just passed 13 years)
In Dallas – I wanted to be Ron Chapman. In San Antonio – I wanted to be Sonny Melendrez. In Boston I wanted to be Dave Maynard. Here I am that guy.

Give us brief rundown on both of you, your personal history, your radio bio, and what brought you together.
Brian Pierce: Springfield local who went to B97 New Orleans, WOAI, KAJA, KLLS & KSMG San Antonio, KLUV Dallas, WZOU Boston & ABC/Dallas SMN. I came back home in 1991 I felt I’d accomplished what I set out to do.
Kellie Michaels: WYBR Rockford, WMIX Mt. Vernon. WILS Lansing – Springfield 1981 and here at WNNS since 1989.

Briefly describe your show your personalities and the “premise” listeners wake up to every morning.
Brian: Full service adult talk, Hot A/C music. We have our noses in everything. It’s the kind of radio our women grew up with.

Segue to the show planning, how much of it is prepared before you walk into the studio? How much left to spontaneity?
Brian: I’ve prepped 3 hours the day before – but will throw it all out for anything better. We “ride the crest of the moment”. The morning “unfolds” in real time.

Who makes up your pop-culture VIBE team, in terms of the creative brain trust?
Brian: I do. Bri. It’s 32 years of experience that comes in handy. I spend my day inside the minds of “our women” – literally every woman over 30 - for 60 miles.
When does the PD, or marketing director get a say?
Brian: My co – host is PD – and target audience – sitting right there. I play to her. Her input is vital – and she does often. Marketing Director? No.

Name your most memorable radio moment. (Good or bad!)
Brian: I sent this comedian into Copley Plaza with a handful of dollar bills & a walkie talkie. He was to simply give the dollar bills away. No one would take them. It was a scream. The comedian? Jerry Seinfeld WZOU/BOSTON.

CELEB Interviews… do you do ‘em? Love ‘em? Hate ‘em?
Brian: Yes & No. Only if they’re pretty big. We don’t get many press agents banging on the door here in Central Illinois.

Name your most memorable CELEB interview. (Good or bad!)
Brian: I almost got into a fist fight with Richard Simmons at B97 New Orleans. Same deal with Jackson Browne. I’m the nicest guy in the world – these guys just weren’t in the mood.

**Quick Word Association:
Politics -
Brian: Bush.
‘American Idol’
Brian: Seacrest.
Gas Prices
Brian: Mr. Refinery (A million dollar idea).
Tom Cruise
Brian: Goofball.
Morning Radio
Brian: Beddy Beddy good to me.

If there was one facet of radio you’d like to see change, what would it be… and what kind of change?
Brian: Frankly – my company has adopted my philosophy. This isn’t brain surgery. Work hard – think it through – have fun. Be different. The same old shit – doesn’t cut it anymore.

Tell us about your best weekly or daily on-air Benchmarks?
Brian: Our longest running bit is “Brian & Kellie to the rescue”. Simple “Dear Abby” bit – but we get a shit-load of mail.

How 'bout GAMES or TRIVIA you like to play with or ON your audience?
Brian: "Password", "Think Fast" (a 10 in :30), "Battle of the Sexes" – “Wheel of Worry” (:30 sec to worry about anything….Go!)
We do a trivia question everyday – but it’s custom written & designed to appeal to adult women.

What in your mind is your favorite on-air PROMOTION, Contest or giveaway?
Brian: “Miss Lite Rock 99” – a station QUEEN. We have talent competition only and the winner rides in a convertible in the Christmas parade. We never know what the Queen looks like – until the parade.

And Stunts?
Brian: I created my own marketing campaign at B97 New Orleans. I took beer commercials – and replaced the word “Beer” with “Radio” – and completely re-cut a bunch. They were a scream – and I surged to a 20 share.

Throw us a freakin’ bone, name one thing about yourself or about each other, that most people don’t know.
Brian: I did a parody song in San Antonio with the line “Come on you guys” – and my bud – Scott Chapin @ WGTR Miami liked the inflection sooo much – they developed an entire imaging campaign around those four words. I eventually saw it on TV, Billboards & T-shirts.

Parting Thoughts on anything, from the radio industry to the world we live in, marriage to this painful interview.
Brian: Young people in this business are waaaaay too pissed off. Young people aren’t willing to pay dues. They want it all right now – and seem less likely to work their way up. I recall starving for nearly 7 years before I made a living doing this.

I know, a little behind the scenes, but there's nothing wrong with "pulling the curtain back" once and a while.


Shiela said...

Thanks for the insight Brian. Pretty cool.

Your Daughter said... I hate to say this...but the Cubbies suck.

Helen Tomlinson said...

Bri, I used to listen to you in Boston at Z94. Nice to see you're still in the business. I was just a listener who always dreamed of being on air. It never materialized and I became a social worker. Nice Blog.

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