We recently had the pleasure of chatting with Tom Cook at Townsquare Media. Tom took time out from his crazy schedule to shed light on his radio journey and how he views the direction we are going as an industry:
[RCS] How did you end up in radio?
[Tom Cook] I’ve been in radio for 26 years. Started part-time the day after my 14th birthday, was full-time afternoon drive when I turned 16 and have done this my entire life. I’m currently OM over 5 stations in Grand Rapids, Michigan (market 68th) and direct day-to-day PD for 3 of them and Regional OM for 18 other stations in Michigan. Channel 95-7 is a HotAC that was 11th in the ratings when I took over and it’s now consistently top 3 in adult demos. 98.7 WFGR is classic hits, leaning heavily pop and recently adding 90s titles. The River is a Super Soft AC and sounds like the format did in the early 90s.
[RCS] How fierce is the competition for stations?
[Tom Cook] Competition in any market seems to be more and more intense. For its size, Grand Rapids is over-saturated with formats and signals. That means your station(s), libraries and scheduling have to be on-point all day, every day, every time someone chooses your station. Personalities are important, listener interaction is imperative, but the music HAS to be right.
[RCS] How does GSelector make a better work day?
[Tom Cook] I look at this from the standpoint of coming from classic Selector, sometimes you’d get a great schedule and sometimes you wouldn’t, no matter how well dialed-in it was. The biggest change for me on GSelector was, once I got it set up properly, I get a pretty damn good schedule every time. My time editing logs has definitely gone down, especially on the gold-based stations.
[RCS] What is your favorite feature in GSelector?
[Tom Cook] Honestly? That some of the “comfort” of classic Selector is still there. The developers – smartly – kept a lot of the same keystrokes and functionality in GSelector. That makes me very happy and it made the transition a lot easier. And it was a nice touch that “F12” brings up the old Selector menu to get you there in GSelector. That’s not such a big deal now, but it was HUGE during the transition. I also am a big fan of the fly-in links to stage songs, artists or categories.
[RCS] What made you decide on GSelector vs other options available?
[Tom Cook] I tell the story about how I was adamantly opposed to GSelector when it rolled out to our company. I hated it with a passion. And I was pretty vocal about it (no shock to anyone who knows me). Mostly because I thought classic Selector was doing exactly what I needed it to do and saw no need to change, but after I got to know the GSelector program, it became apparent what a huge upgrade the switch was.
I suppose the biggest endorsement might be a conversation I had with my friend who knew how much I loved classic Selector and how vocal I was about my dislike of GSelector. After I’d been on GSelector a while, he said “Tommy, if you had the choice right now, would you go back to classic Selector?” And my answer was “nope, not at all. I’d keep GSelector.” He was surprised by that because I was one of the biggest and most vocal critics of GSelector early on. I’m now a devotee and would recommend it to anyone. You just need a little patience to learn the program and to dial-in your goals and coding. GSelector is an infinitely better way of scheduling.
Tom may be reached at https://www.linkedin.com/in/tomcookpd.