Power 98.3/Phoenix Rhythmic PD Mikey Fuentes is one of the most respected PDs in radio. One of our programmers described him as “One of the PDs the rest of the Rhythmic PDs watch.” After living in Phoenix myself, I know that it’s a huge city that’s very spread out with a lot of land and a lot of new construction. It’s a great place to retire and relax or to have fun. The heat during the months of June through October is unforgiving and one is left to wonder how a station plans outdoor promotions during those sweltering and busy months. Great news for the station, MC Magic returns to host mornings with Dee this week after a brief hiatus.
ALL RADIO NEWS: You have had an incredible career and worked in various formats including: Rhythmic, Classic Hits, Alternative, Spanish etc. In programming high energy formats have you found the style is similar or at total opposite ends of the programming spectrum when it comes to listener expectations? (example Spanish and Rhythmic)
MIKEY FUENTES: Regardless of the format the key in my humble opinion is to know exactly what the listeners expectation is and then to never violate it.
MF: With some Top 40’s leaning rhythmic and some rhythmic stations leaning pop, the degrees of separation are few and to the average listener, stations end up sounding the same depending on rotations that particular week. Rhythmic /Urban station are benefiting from these blurred lines when and if those stations are focused and not violation the listeners expectation.
ARN: When industry people think of Phoenix as radio market they think retirement, heat, dessert and limited outdoor activity. Is that true?
MF: We all live in our own little world and if you’re 65 and collecting social security then YES. If you’re young, active Phoenix is a city that host all four major professional sports teams, all major music tours and has a cracking night life in Scottsdale and downtown.
ARN: What do you like most and least about the market.
MF: Phoenix is a big city (6th largest by population) that is clean and modern and I like that but my favorite thing about this city is that no matter what you’re into, there is ALWAYS something to get into. As far as dislikes… 115 in the summer is a little much.ff
ARN: What are some of the things that you think today’s PDs can improve on?
MF: Talent development is definitely a weak link in our business today. We need to create more engaging personalities if we want to compete with all the other platforms.
ARN: You appear to be a PD who allows talent to thrive. There are some formats that are adamant about protecting their brand and restricting jocks from social networks and self promotion. What’s your theory on that?
MF: All successful stations have successful personalities. Power 98-3’s social media numbers are second to none in our market and that didn’t happen by us restricting our personalities, on the contrary we teach and encourage social media strategies.
ARN: Finish this.. When PDs are too restrictive and don’t allow their jocks to do their jobs on the air they…..
MF:…Might as well call their station Pandora.
ARN: If you could spend an entire day playing golf with 5 current PDs, who would they be? Why would you choose them?
- Tom Poleman – (Not a current PD) Two words… industry… leader
- Michael Martin – Tremendous track record
- Rick Thomas – Fierce competitor
- Orlando Davis – One of the few that can do mornings and program simultaneously
- Tony Coles – He’s programmed in the top 3 markets
ARN: Realistically, how many hours do you spend a day working?
MF: Working 9-10, Thinking about the station – The whole time I’m awake.
ARN: How do you take a break from the industry and relieve stress?
MF: I used to Wakeboard but a couple of concussions later, floating around the pool is more my speed when I need a break. My stress relievers are P90X and Insanity.
ARN: What’s your favorite place to visit?
MF: San Diego, it’s where I grew up.
ARN: When hiring jocks, what do you always look for?
MF: Passion and Personality… without it you’re just a DJ.
ARN: Have you ever hired someone who had no experience but you knew they had the talent?
MF: MC Magic our Morning Show host had never done radio before (other than being interviewed). He now holds the record for highest AM drive PPM ratings for Power 98-3.
ARN: The hottest 3 songs in your market right now?
- Drake – Hotline Bling –
- Fetty Wap – 679
- Sincerely Collins – Light Work
ARN: What do you like to do besides program
MF: I collect and customize classic Volkswagens (1964 and Older)