V103 is a MAJOR, top rated radio station in the Atlanta market and has been for decades and Reggie Rouse is a programmer that pays great attention to his audience. When I lived in Atlanta for six years, I was invited to cover several V103 events and I can honestly say I have never seen such an incredible love and dedication to a station by the listeners.
They LOVE this station. Rouse took the time to talk about the station’s success in Atlanta.
Tell us about your history in the business?
REGGIE ROUSE: V103/WAOK PD V103/WAOK 7 YEARS- Now VP/Urban – PD Live in the Den with Big Tigger/Premiere Radio.
WPGC-Donnie Simpson morning show producer/APD Promoted to OM Morning Show Producer at WPGC (8 years). WBLS-Co-APD. WAEG/WAEJ PD-Augusta, GA AND WQKS-First PD gig, Hopkinsville, Kentucky.
RF: Your on-air lineup is very unique and they all have different personalities that mesh well to form the image of the station. Do you think it’s important to allow announcers to be themselves? Tell us about your staff.
RR: Yes, our talent is a major part of our success. Frank Ski’s foundation gives out grants for kids heading to college and takes kids on overseas trips.
Wanda Smith volunteers at Shelters for abused women and reads to pre-school kids.Ryan Cameron’s foundation does a free health fair every year, a father daughter dance for fathers day and he also give out scholarships to students attending college.Our night Radio DJ Greg Street does a “We need to read program” and a mentoring program for young men.
The Egypt cares foundation recently did their first major promotion with V103, Mommy Makeover for mother’s day which was a huge success. Our Gospel Announcer/Ambassador Larry Tinsley is only on the air on day a week but he is a full time employee. His job is to work with the Churches in Atlanta.
He has a huge following and he single handily beats a full fledged Gospel Station by himself. Kenny Burns is our Life style specialist and is the club king for Hip-Hop and R&parties across the country. My mixer team is incredible. Dj baby Yu has done work for Kanye and is currently Young Jeezy’s Dj.
DJ Infamous is Ludacris’s DJ, Green Lantern was Jay Z’s DJ when he started out and now works with NAS and Dj Kash is the next one to take over Atlanta . Our News Director Jean Ross and our African American news Talk station WAOK keeps us involved in the community. The staff includes Lorraine Jacque White, Mo Ivory and Derrick Boazman
RF: When you became PD of the station some years back, it was already a winning station and several changes took place in the line-up. Were you intimidated by that and were you initially apprehensive about making changes?
RR: Great TEAMS are always looking to improve.
RF: The midday slot appears to be incredibly important to V103, do you think this is generally an ignored shift by many Black stations and how is NY transplant Egypt adapting to Atlanta ?
RR: All of our day parts are important.
Adding Egypt to a strong line up with Frank and Wanda, Ryan Cameron, Greg Street Larry Tinsley, etc can only make us stronger. Egypt is very experienced. She has been part of a Morning Show and has done mid-days in New York. Her TV experience including B.E.T., HGTV etc”¦can only help the enhance the V103 brand.
RF: V103 does not have a lot of syndicated shows but the other Black stations in the market depend on quite a bit of syndication. Do you think it’s important that Black stations maintain more local talent over syndicated full time slots?
RR: Being local is very important to us. By being local we can connect to our listeners and clients and super serve their needs. CBS believes in local radio.
RF: What are some of the biggest listener events that V103 does during the year?
RR: The V103/WAOK Car and Bike Show and For Sisters Only
RF: How important is it for Radio DJs to have the freedom to be creative?
RR: I think when you have established veterans like V103/WAOK has, you have to give them room to be creative. Personality radio wins.
RF: How important is social networking for the station for you in your programming?
RR: Social Networking plays an important part of CBS Local’s Digital Strategy. Social media allows us to communicate directly with our fans, listeners, partners and advertisers. Social media is a great feedback loop for our stations.
RF: Who are some of the great programmers in our industry?
RR: Radio has changed a lot, great programmers in my book include people like: Frankie Crocker, Barry Mayo, Donnie Simpson..etc as far as trailblazers.
Current programmers that I admire include Terri Avery at WPEG/WBAV, KJ Holiday at WJLB, Derrick Baker at WEDR, Derrick Brown at WGCI. Non Urban programmers include Kevin Weatherly at K Rock, Jim Ryan In New York, Michael Martin on the West Coast and the O.M. of my favorite station outside of V103/WAOK Mark Chernoff of WFAN
RF: Do you have space for local or new music on your station or do you limit the playlist to hits only?
RR: Yes we play local music, ask any major music label. Every major label still comes to Atlanta to sign artists. Atlanta runs the music industry. Usher, T.I., Jeezy, Justin Beiber, Wacka Flacka, Future, Travis Porter, Monica, Ciara, and more to come”¦.
RF: Any final thoughts?
RR: TEAM WORK is important. Passion and Creativity are vital. Community and Clients are important to our success.