Mark and Mercedes in the Morning
Interviewed by Steve Harmon
Harmon: Don't we all
love Mercedes Mark and JC? When they are not at BFD I feel cheated!! As they
get ready to celebrate another year in Vegas, I thought we should catch up..
Harmonious: Cast and show bios?
MARK: The show consists of myself,
Mercedes and our Executive Producer J.C. Fernandez. I grew up in
Broomfield, Colorado and graduated from the University of Colorado in 1994
majoring in Business Administration, before landing my first radio job at
Denver's KQKS-FM (KS-104). Within a year, I went from doing weekends
to mornings and was eventually paired with Mercedes. We left Denver
for Las Vegas in 1997 and have been at KMXB ever since.
MERCEDES: Been at Mix 94.1 Las Vegas
since 1997. Married, two girls.
Harmonious: One person is in a bad mood, the rest of you <do what to
MARK: Usually, just give them the space
they need. We've been doing this together long enough to know when we really
need to sit down and have a heart-to-heart about something, but we all have
bad days once in a while and usually a little time to work through it on our
own does the trick.
MERCEDES: Honestly, I think giving that
person room to breathe is best. By confronting it during the show, you're
making that person feel attacked and that ultimately affects their
JC: If someone is in a bad mood I
stay in my producers booth! Kidding, the great thing about having 3-4 people
on the show is that if one person is down you know you can count on the
others to carry you through the morning... or even have you in a better mood
by 7 a.m.
Harmonious: How long in your city now?
MERCEDES: 14 years this March!
MARK: In true Vegas tradition, we just
skipped the thirteenth and pretended like it didn't exist. ;)
JC: I was with Mark and Mercedes from
98-01, then I went to Washington D.C. for four years. I came back to work
with Mark and Mercedes in 05 and have been with them ever since.
Harmonious: Cool things about your market?
MARK: It's a very hip market. The
"out with the old and in with the new" mentality of the Las Vegas Strip is
pretty fascinating to watch when you live here. It results in a cyclical
reinvention process that parallels radio in many ways. How are you going to
do it bigger and better next time and how is it going to be different from
the way it's being done across the street? That's the Vegas Strip -- and
radio -- in a nutshell.
MERCEDES: The access to celebrities is
another cool aspect of the market. Many live here and join us on a regular
basis and others make themselves accessible because they are performing at
one of the dozens of major venues in town. The entertainment lineup in Las
Vegas on any given weekend is remarkable and opens the door to interviews
that would never be possible in other markets.
JC: The Entertainment Capital of the
World, so we get some A list stars coming to town... and every so often
those A list stars are in the mood to do a radio interview.
Harmonious: Was there a radio star you loved growing up listening to?
MARK: Bill Lee at KPKE/Denver in the
1980's. His airchecks still give me chills.
MERCEDES: I was a big fan of Frosty,
Frank and Jamie in Denver.
JC: I grew up outside of Philadelphia...
so Stern and John DeBella were the two big names in town. I was also a fan
of “John Lander and the Nut Hut” on Eagle 106. The show was great with Danny
Bonaduce and Elliot Segal of DC 101 fame as cast members.
Harmonious: What time do you get into the studio?
MARK: I'm up at 4:00, do my final prep
from home before heading in and get to the studio around 5:30. We hit the
air at 6:00.
MERCEDES: Around 5:30am. I'm up at 3:30
prepping at home though.
JC: I usually get in around 4:15.
Harmonious: What's your biggest challenge this year?
MERCEDES: Juggling morning radio with
family, school, friends...however, most of the time they go hand in hand.
And, of course, lack of sleep.
Harmonious: How much web work do you do?
MARK: Very little. J.C. handles the vast
majority of the website and podcast updates and does a phenomenal job with
MERCEDES: Our show is very web
intensive. We use this tool as a supplement to our show a lot!!
JC: I am constantly updating our site
during the show. If Mark and Mercedes are talking about a survey, or crazy
video, I try to have it on the site immediately so they can tell our
listeners to check out it right away.
Harmonious: Did you know Philip's Daily Dose includes videos for your
MARK: I'm a HUGE fan of Philip's Daily
Dose and am always finding unique content that the other services miss
entirely or discover days later. I check out his nightly update before I go
to bed and then scan it again in the morning before the show.
MERCEDES: I did know this and I love the
Daily Dose! Hello Philip!
<<PHILIP NOTE: WOOT!! Tons o' love comin'
from me to you guys... always!!>>
Harmonious: How many promos a day and who decides what runs?
MARK: We discuss what the daily promo
should contain in our post-show meeting and J.C. handles the production of
it. They air every other hour throughout the day.
MERCEDES: One may be a teaser promoting
the next day's show and the other is a clip from that day's show...we always
discuss what we will use for a promo in our post show meeting.
JC: We air one daily recap promo from
the show... it is the best :30 - :40 of the show. We do discuss promo ideas
in our post show meeting and I usually have it produced within an hour of us
getting off the air.
Harmonious: How are you using Social Media on a daily basis?
MARK: Facebook has become a huge asset
for the show. We each have individual accounts and then a show page as well.
We use it to promote upcoming guests, appearances and bits. I find it to be
a good "testing ground" for content as well. You can throw a question out on
Facebook and based on response, immediately gauge if it would be a
compelling show topic or not.
MERCEDES: It is such an important tool
for our show. It makes listeners feel like they have access to you. Twitter
is very important to.
JC: Mercedes is AWESOME with our show’s
Facebook page... I still don’t think it’s going to catch on so I have yet to
Harmonious: Has your prep changed recently?
MARK: "Real, raw and relatable" has
always been a little motto that I like to follow and I don't think it will
ever change with regard to the kind of show we do. I think I've become a
little more selective when it comes to prep and keeping it tight.
Harmonious: PPM changes to your show you can mention?
MARK: I'm the type of person that
overanalyzes everything as it is and I'm finding that spending too much time
breaking down PPM data can negatively affect your focus. Yes, we're
tightening some things up, setting more appointments when we can and so
forth, but to be honest, those are changes we would make on our own from
time to time anyway. I'm trying to do my best to understand the methodology,
accept it for what it is and ensure that we don't let it change the core
dynamic of our show. If it's good and it's compelling, your audience will
stick with you, meter or no meter.
Harmonious: The best BitBoard bit we ever tried was...."
MARK: "The $100 Bill" bit for April's
Fool Day. We had been on the air in Vegas for a week and told listeners that
everyone who joined us at the top of the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino on
April 1st would receive a crisp $100 bill for showing up. They did. It was a
bill charging them $100 for listening the radio station and enjoying our
fine services. A few thousand people later and after coverage from every
television station in the market (and many out of market as well), we had
accomplished our goal of letting the market know that we had arrived and
what our names were.
MERCEDES: Hate that Harmon Question....
So many great minds on Bitboard...it's impossible to name just one!
Harmonious: Changes or tweaks for Bitboard you might like
MARK: More Harmon....less Gaga! ;)
MERCEDES: Oh my!
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