AA: 10 Questions with WTDY host Dan Deibert

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Posted by madcityradio.com on March 25, 2010 at 11:32:11:

Dan Deibert
Afternoon Host
Madison, WI
Midwest Family Broadcasting
Rock Island, IL
Rock Island, IL

10 Questions with ... Dan Deibert
March 16, 2010


�Started part-time in Aledo, IL at WRMJ, at WLLR in Davenport, IA.
�First full-time job was overnights at KBOB in Davenport.
�Then did my first morning show at WJEQ in Macomb, IL.
�1996, moved to Madison, WI to do mornings as part of the Crash and Burns show on WJJO. (I was Burns)
�Then moved within the company to do mornings on WWQM in Madison.
�While working the mornings at WWQM, I had the opportunity to also do afternoon talk on WTDY. From there it was all talk radio for me.
�WSAU in Wausau, WGEE and WNFL in Green Bay, WISN in Milwaukee, WGN in Chicago, and back to where it all started on WTDY in Madison.

1. How did you get your start in radio? Why radio?
My dad was/is good friend with Spike O'Dell. My start came while sitting on Spike's lap pushing buttons and putting away carts at KIIK-FM in Davenport while Spike was doing mornings.
Why radio? Wow. No idea. I think maybe it's because it was nice to see people doing jobs that they loved. Also, sitting on your butt, talking, and getting paid for it seemed like a great way to make a living.
2. About what are you most passionate these days?
I'm passionate about trying to make radio embrace technology and adapting to the the way things ARE and not the way radio wants it to be. Using social media and other platforms to develop brands for stations and individual shows. My biggest fear for radio is coming true and that would be streaming the internet into cars. I think that radio is arrogant sometimes. When it's just as easy for a 14 year old in his basement to program a station/show as it is for those of us that spend millions on facilities and licenses, we have a problem. It becomes a bigger problem when it's just as easy for a person driving a car to listen to that kid in his basement as it is to listen to us. We've had years to get ahead of the ball and most stations haven't done it.
I also like my dog.
3. You've been a standup comic as well as a talk show host for years; are there things you've learned performing in comedy that apply to doing talk radio? Do your standup or improv experience play any role at all in your radio work?
I started doing radio when I was 16 and standup when I was 18, so I've had the opportunity to learn them both at the same time, which I think is a plus. They are two very different animals. With standup, you have the immediate reaction of the audience. You know right away when something works.
Radio is much more (allow me to quote Billy Joel) a matter of trust. You just have to "know" when something works. Also, when a comic hosts a talk show, they seem to want to make every line a joke. That's just not how people converse in the real world. The opposite it true as well. I've seen radio people do standup and get on stage and try to "make people think." Yeah, they don't want to do that at 10:30 on Friday night.
4. You're a Midwestern native, a Quad Cities product, and you've worked in Milwaukee and Chicago before taking the Madison job. What differences are you finding in Madison -- the audience, the mindset -- from what you've encountered in other Midwestern cities? What IS the Madison mindset? Is it as much of a liberal college town as the stereotype would have us believe?
I worked in Madison before I worked in Madison. I was here several years ago so I know the town well. We have awesome Big Ten Sports, a very safe city, and a great place to raise a family.
Is it as much a liberal college town as the stereotype? Oh yeah. It's a liberal town. The further you get away from the campus, the less liberal it gets but you'd be hard-pressed to find any true "conservative" areas.
All of that being said, our audience seems to be a nice mix. Most of the time, our show is about "guy stuff". Politics doesn't come into play that often, but when it does the audience tends to skew liberal.
5. What's the dynamic between you and your co-host Kurt: Do you each have a defined role, or is the show structured more fluidly than that? What is it like to work with Kurt?
I'm having fun working with Kurt. The dynamic is this: He's the guy that's out partying on Friday and Saturday nights. I'm the guy who's home in front of the computer or the TV. We are pretty much opposites in every way. To me, that makes it much more fun work with him and I think more entertaining to listen to.
6. Of what are you most proud?
On a professional level, I'm most proud of having worked at WGN. Growing up, I used to listen to Spike in the mornings on KIIK 104 and then Uncle Bobby in the afternoons on WGN. When I was 12 years old, Spike moved to Chicago to work at WGN. Since my two favorite radio people worked at WGN, it became my goal to get there. My career highlight has to be the morning that I filled in on the overnights for Steve and Johnnie and I actually got to do thehand-offwith Spike.
On a personal level, I'm proud that Jennie, my wonderful wife of soon to be 16 years (we married on my 20th birthday) hasn't gotten up in the morning yet and realized that I got the MUCH better end of the marriage deal. :-)
7. You're into tech, which is a polite way of calling you a geek. What's your favorite piece of tech, and what gadget do you lust after?
You don't have to be polite, you can flat out call me a geek. I'm proud of it. :-) My favorite piece of tech would be either my Blackberry Bold or my Nikon D5000 digital camera.
I'm ashamed to admit this but I don't have an HDTV. Seriously. All the gadgets I own, and there are tons of them, I haven't stepped up to HD yet. I haven't really lusted after that 'till watching the Masters golf tourney at a friends house in HD. Just freaking WOW. Now I lust. In fact... where is the Dell credit card? This answer might change by the time you publish this.
8. Say you hadn't gone into radio, or comedy, or anything in entertainment. What do you think you'd have ended up doing for a living? What would Plan B have been?
I would have loved to have been a commercial pilot. I have a private pilot's license and don't get to fly too much anymore because of my schedule.
My dream is to move to Gettysburg, PA and open a B&B with my wife. She'll do all the B&B stuff (she likes that for some reason) and I'll give tours of the battlefield.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ______________.
...my Blackberry (I call it Jennie 2) and a Diet Mountain Dew.
10. What was the best advice you ever got? The worst?
Best: In the radio biz, you have to be prepared to starve for 10 years or so. Save money.
Worst: Not sure if this is really advice but.. from a PD AND a consultant: "Hey, just do things this way. If it doesn't work, we'll take the fall for it."

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