In the spotlight....

WOLFSHOW Wake Up with the Wolf Show

Skip Mahaffey & Lisa Taylor
99.5 The Wolf
Dallas, TX
http://www.995thewolf.com/wake-up-with-the-wolf-show/
http://skipshow.com/1/
Interviewed by Steve Harmon


Thought a great time to catch up on one of the original Bitboard fans Skip Mahaffey now at KPLX-The Wolf Dallas-Ft. Worth mornings.  Skip is a 14 time CMA Winner, actually they are thinking of naming the award the Skip now.  Sorry, wait... 18 time CMA winner.   Our friend had a few moments to answer some questions...  Harmonious
 

 

Harmonious:  Cast names and roles on show?  Introduce us to this Wolf Skip The Wake Up With the Wolf Show has been a staple in Dallas for years. Many players have passed through. Currently, we are a two horse operation. Skip Mahaffey (myself) and Lisa Taylor.

 

 

Harmonious:  Show bios?  Little background on each member. Skip Lisa has been with the Wolf for nearly nine years. Previously, she's been in Los Angeles, Nashville, Chicago, and San Antonio. She is best known for her ten-plus year stint in NYC at Z-100 and WYNY.


Skip was a former grocery bagger at Krogers, served popcorn at the Surf Theater in Huntington Beach CA and once dated Robin Williams. (that's a lie...I never worked at Kroger)

 

Harmonious:  How did you choose to introduce yourself to the Wolf listeners? Skip Do you mean as a character or method?

As far as method, it was a bit out of the norm. The guy I replaced had been gone for a couple of months. The show was functioning, hovering around the low teens in ranking. We were in the Holiday book and the general consensus was that nobody was really listening and to put out a gigantic campaign would have been a bit of a waste. Our Ops Manager was also desperate to get me on air as soon as possible.

Outside of a :10 promo Lisa voiced, I came in with absolutely no fanfare two days after Christmas. I spent the next two weeks on the air by myself, getting to know them and they getting to know me.

As far as a character, I'm the same person I was in Tampa, Columbus, San Diego, Los Angeles, Phoenix etc...

 

Harmonious:  Biggest lesson you can share about doing a morning radio show in a brand new city? Skip Stick to your gut and trust your intuition. They brought you here for a reason. Adapt to the nuances of the audience but don't change who you are.

 

Harmonious:  What's your biggest challenge been? SkipImpacting the importance for us to reach outside the city limits of Dallas and Ft. Worth. The Metroplex is gigantic with literally hundreds of small communities, many of them rural. There are some who are completely out of touch with who our audience is, and changing that is job one. Constantly searching for opportunities to be in their community...go to them, not the other way around. The other biggest challenge is reminding people it's about the audience...not us.

 

Harmonious:  How much contesting do you like?  Do you use social to promote it?   Skip We use social media to promote EVERYTHING! Lisa is very good about updating our social media for contesting. Could we do a better job of promoting? Of course but for now, we're okay.

When I got here, we had some sort of contesting once an hour. It was almost all 'be caller 99.' It had no entertainment value whatsoever. With a music intensive morning show, that was overkill in my opinion. My litmus is pretty simple: it's gotta be entertaining and it's got to be worth tossing content and most important, its gotta be worth the audiences time

 

Harmonious:  How often are you interacting with your audience on your social, Facebook...Twitter...Instagram? Skip Whenever humanly possible. I'm fortunate because I still have a great social relationship with my audience in Tampa as well as Columbus and even some as far back as San Diego. Admittedly, I should be doing much more with Twitter and Instagram. We as air personalities can't possibly compete unless we have that 24/7 social media conduit to our audience.

 

Harmonious:  Our Jeff and Jer Question:  One person is in a  bad mood, the rest of you     <do what to him/her?> Skip Tell them to get over it...Strangely enough, those instances haven't really cropped up...there are only two of us in the room and there's absolutely NO time to funk out. The rule is 'get it out there, get it off your chest and move on.' A good scotch always helps...

 

 

Harmonious:  Bits that work today? Skip The best bits are the ones totally focused on the audience. We tend to try to be 'too big' waxing on about meeting Dolly backstage at Carnegie Hall when all they want to know is why I haven't moved ten feet in traffic in the last 50 minutes.

For me, the best bits are the ones that come organically. We overthink the shite out of everything. Our audience can smell bullshit a mile away and when you try to play something on them, they never respond. That's not to say everything has to have an authentic origin, it just has to come from something that's real.


It's always been my philosophy that if you want to know what the audience wants...ask them. They'll tell you. Give them a forum. I was told when I got here "the Wolf never has listeners on the air.' My response "they do now...' A vast majority of our content comes from what they give us directly. It seems to be working. We have gone from somewhere around #15 to consistently in the top 5.


What's really funny is that I am discovering that old, old bits have a place. Primarily in terms of contesting. We're doing a Vegas trip a day right now with '5 in 10' and they love it.

It's all in the execution...

 

Harmonious:  Bits that used to work but useless now? Skip Any 'comedy bits' that are pre-produced. Characters, parody songs...nossir, they don't like them. My predecessor was big on character phoners, they sucked..  Texas is full of real interesting characters and they're REAL...love that

 

Harmonious:  Staffing issues, do you have all the help you need or are you a little stretched? Skip We are ridiculously short-handed right now. We are without a PD/OM, we share our promotions staff with six other stations and we have been without a producer since April of last year. I run the board, edit all content, calls etc. I am the producer and while the show lay-out is collaborative, it's up to me to determine what goes where and when. It's freakin' exhausting.

 

Harmonious:  Who decides the personality of your accounts and manages them?  Is it a show member, or a digital team? Skip We have several accounts. We both have personal and station accounts plus we are responsible for content on our web and Facebook pages. Our digital team is there to assist but they also have six other stations to deal with.

I am terrible at upkeep for my station accounts. Lisa pretty much handles all that, especially during the show.

 

Harmonious:  Do you find doing live shows on location valuable?  What determines a live show vs. saying no to sales? Skip I find them extremely valuable IF, they make sense. If we are broadcasting from opening weekend of the Ft Worth Livestock Show and Rodeo (Harmon you've been there you know its HUGE) hell yes its valuable. If we are at the Lewisville Western Days, that's pretty big too. But if we're at Jack's Used Cars in McKinney as an obligation to a client...not so much.

I prefer to be someplace that's already going to have a crowd built in or if we're headed to someplace that I know will create a draw.

(For example, we did a show from a donut shop in Red Oak, a tiny community thirty miles south of Dallas. I knew we'd have a huge crowd...we did)

Bottom line is: Is there any listener benefit to us being there?

 

Harmonious:  Are you on sales calls daily? Skip My sales staff knows that I am available to them 24/7. They are my first line of offense/defense and chief cheerleaders. How can I expect them to support me if I don't support them.

I've never understood the mentality of jocks with a "f**k sales' attitude. These people bring in the money. We are the product, they are the ones who get the money for you.

 

Harmonious:  With a smaller budget available for promoting your show, is social the way to get noticed? Skip Absolutely.


 

Harmonious:  Was there a radio star you loved growing up listening to? Skip Jim Mantel. There were no other jocks before him.

Oh wait...there were a few.

I grew up outside Los Angeles. That market had a litany of legends. Don Steele, Robert W Morgan, Charlie Tuna, Dave Hull, Frazier Smith, Bob Coburn, Dick Whittinghill, 'Dick Haynes at the Reins', I got to work with Paul Freeman when I was at Star 98.love that guy. ..dozens of names it would take days to list.

Local sportscasters: Chick Hearne...my God Vin Scully. Great time and place to listen to the radio.

 

Harmonious:  The best BitBoard bit we ever tried was....." Skip Easy. 'You Can't Win This.'

I didn't actually get it FROM Bitboard. It  was given to me by Paul Castronovo in a men's' room in Ft. Lauderdale (just seeing if you're still reading this) We've taken Paul and Ron's idea and made it our own. It's the biggest on-going bit I've ever done.

The other one was Dirk Rowley's 'Mr. Indestructible Microphone.' We did that for years. That goddamned microphone was more popular than we were...had his own fan club, Facebook following and received several marriage and sexual proposals than anyone I know in radio!
 

 

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