Member Spotlight – Mike Couchman

What is your favorite song?
That’s like asking a parent of multiple children to pick a favorite. Has anyone every told you that before? If I had to pick, it would be “Girl You Know It’s True” by Milli Vanilli. NOT the original (which I do like), but theN.Y.C. Subway remix version. ( BTW, I won the cassette tape from my local Top 40 radio station when I was in 5th grade! Shout out to 92.1 The Ape….WGOR…St. Johns/Lansing, MI.

What is the last book you’ve read?
Currently reading “Fail Until You Don’t” by Bobby Bones. The most recent one I FINISHED was “Scrappy Little Nobody” by Anna Kendrick. And for my (sorta daily) devotional, I’m doing an old-school verse-a-day thing through 1st Corinthians.

What led you to a career in radio?
I was always grounded. No TV. No going to see friends. Sometimes even no books. Radio became my BFF, my BAE, etc.

What advice would you give people new to the business?
Be curious, patient, and persistent. There’s a tension in the patient vs. persistent thing. PD’s are being pulled in more directions than they have limbs for. So you gotta keep them aware of your aspirations and need for coaching, mentoring, etc., but you also have to respect they have too many other priorities as well. While you wait for the attention you need, practice. Practice. Practice. Study. Practice some more.

Give a shoutout to someone who is making a difference in radio and what are they doing to make an impact?
Jonathon Eltrevoog recently name-checked half the industry. If you skim his list, I’m sure you’ll find people I admire too! For real though, I admire anyone who values the wisdom and creativity that got our format this far, but also realizes the future will require us to do new things and rethink/question old things if we’re going to survive and hopefully thrive.

How do you refresh your creative energy at work?
I love to mix. (The wiki wiki mixing…scratchy scratch, etc. Not mixing like chemicals or cooking.) I usually do it late at night when the kids are in bed and my wife is catching up on her soap opera. I can’t do it as much as I’d like. So I take random routes to work. The curvy road instead of the straight shot. I listen to stations and formats I know little about. Various podcasts and blogs rev me up. But I have to be careful because the  great ones only make me want to dive into my work more, and I forget to leave margin for the unexpected. I’m a zombie when my family needs me. And so on.

Amazon Echo or Google Home?

What is your favorite part of your job?
No two days are the same.

Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
Broadway Bill Lee. Say what you want about his style for better or worse. But what I think gets overlooked is how meticulous he is at making not only every word, but every syllable, even every pause, count. He clearly practices the breaks he is most famous for until he has them right. And practicing breaks before going live is a lost art we need to get back. The love and attention to detail he puts into his content makes me aspire to one day, maybe, be half as good as he is.

What was your last non-industry job?
I’ve been blessed that even my side-hustles have been industry connected for a couple of decades now. I guess we’d have to go back to the late 1990’s when I was a salesperson at Radio Shack. Remember them? Back in those days (wow I’m getting old) you had to take an electronics knowledge test to get the job. You had to know basics like how the different colors on a resistor told you how many ohms of electrical resistance it had.

Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
We’re having an amazing, albeit challenging and stretching year, at JOY-FM and BOOST 101.9. Very honored to earn the Station of the Year award from the CMB, and grateful to have been #1 ages 6+ in St. Louis for 4 months of 2018, so far. But to be honest, as great as moments like those are, I’ve learned they cannot define you. 11 years ago, I was PD for WAYK/Kalamazoo and WAYG/Grand Rapids. WAYK won the Radio and Records small market

Station of the Year award. Like many who’ve come from mainstream, getting a nod from R&R was a very desired stamp of approval and validation. On my way back to the hotel room that night in 2007, award in hand, I was lonely. I had poured so much of ME into that station, at the expense of  pouring into others on my own team, and into my own family at home. The winning moment was so fleeting. I had nobody to share it with. God used that moment on the mountaintop to show me I had assigned far too much of my self-worth to my career. I still love my work more than I should some days. But since 2007, I have learned to value the very short time I have with my three sons, and my baby momma. Cliche’ though it may be to say this, I doubt I’ll be on my death-bed lamenting that I didn’t spend as much time as I could have creating the most perfect TSL + cume building strategy radio has ever seen.

Teach me something I don’t know in the next five minutes.
If you ever shopped at Radio Shack back in the day, you may recall the sales associates (if they were following the rules) asking you “Do you need any batteries today?” That’s because we got bonus commission for battery sales. Big profit margin for Radio Shack, since they were RS branded batteries. You better believe I tried loading you up if you were one of my customers. Even if all you came in for was batteries, I was trying to talk you into even more!

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
Conspiracy. It’d be similar to white or yellow crayons in that almost nobody can see it.

Mike Couchman
99.1 JOY-FM and BOOST 101.9 – Program Director
CMB Member Since 2013


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