R.A.P. Interview - Brian James

Brian James - Creative Services Director at The Power Pig, WFLZ-FM, Tampa, Florida

By Jerry Vigil

It's no doubt one of the hottest stations in the country, if not THE hottest. It's the Power Pig, WFLZ-FM, in Tampa, Florida. Late last year, Program Director Marc Chase began his search, an important search for the perfect production person for his promos, for his sweepers, and especially for his station's "attitude." The search ended when the tape of X100's Production Director, Brian James landed on Marc's desk.

Brian began his career ten years ago in Richmond, Indiana where he started as an overnight jock and worked his way up to Program Director. Several other small Indiana markets tasted Brian's talents before he landed a job as Production Director at then WNAP in Indianapolis. As Brian says, "I was steered out of programming because people kept coming back to me for production." Brian wrapped up his stay in Indianapolis at WIBC-AM, replacing Rick Allen who left for New York's Hot 97. After stops at B94 in Pittsburgh and X100 in San Francisco, the polished, 29 year old Brian is planting a firm foot in America's most popular pig sty.

R.A.P.: Is there any such animal as "Pig Production?"
Brian: I believe there is. I think "Pig Production," if you will, is a whole lot of attitude. We've done some pretty ferocious things here, like sweepers that say, "The Power Pig...Eat Me!" There's a lot of that attitude in the production, and we maintain that attitude in everything we do. It's a lot more aggressive stance than I've ever heard at any station. It's the most fun I've had in my time in radio, and Marc Chase is a big part of that because he really lets you be creative. He gives you the ball and lets you run with it. He doesn't hover over you. He gets good people in there and lets you do the job.

R.A.P.: Is this attitude carried over into the production of commercials?
Brian: No, not really, but there's a strange thing happening. We're starting to see a lot of the night clubs and the bars trying to follow suit. They've started having in-house promotions similar to those we run on the air. But other than these places trying to follow the radio station, the other spots are pretty much left alone as far as transferring the attitude goes.

R.A.P.: Your title is Creative Services Director. Is there a Production Director there as well?
Brian: Yes, there is. His name is Brad James. I call him my illegitimate brother. He takes care of the commercial production, and my job is doing the promos, sweepers, and helping Marc come up with the creative side of the radio station.

The station's a big one for brainstorming sessions. We'll sit around in Marc's office, and somebody will bounce an idea off of the wall. The next thing you know, we've got a promotion. Marc is a very "open doored" PD.

R.A.P.: Do the jocks help out with the dubs and tags?
Brian: Yea, they do. We also have probably one of the most overqualified Continuity Director's on the planet. He's Paul Turner, and he's got a set of pipes like you've never heard in your life. He was working at The Wave here in Tampa before he came over here. His stuff is so good that he was just hired to go to the Fox in Detroit as their Production Director. He'll be leaving us in a couple of weeks. He's around 22 years old and has a voice that everyone would kill for. He's gonna be big. Remember that name, Paul Turner.

R.A.P.: How much of a part does production play in Jacor's success there in Tampa, and is this attention to production typical with Jacor?
Brian: Our station is very highly produced. I'm on the air as much, if not more, than the disk jockeys. We're pulling the jocks down, right now, to stay with that music intensive image, so the guys have ten second breaks then boom, they're off. They're probably doing that three or four times an hour. The rest of the time, it's sweepers and promos.

All of the Jacor stations are highly produced to the extent that their format will allow. Take Joel Moss at WEBN. He's one of the best AOR production people going. You can't really call an AOR station highly produced, but I think they are as highly produced as they can be. Jacor is real good about keeping their production top notch. The way they outfitted the room down here is incredible.