Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Houston DJ greats broadcasting with SuiteRadio

Ever wonder where some of Houston's top radio talent are working today?  They could be with SuiteRadio Broadcast. 

Big Houston radio DJ talent such as Donna Mackenzie, Rowdy Yates, Outlaw Dave, Pam Kelly, Steve Robison, Maria Todd, Atom Smasher and Keegan Lucas are all on air somewhere on a radio station across the United States.

SuiteRadio, is a Houston-based company located between Uptown and River Oaks, that offers musical formats with big market talent, to radio stations around the country.


I caught up with SuiteRadio's Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder, Pat Fant (and the founding father of 101 KLOL), to give us the details on the company.

Mike McGuff:  When I first interviewed you in 2010, your company, RFC, was streaming stations online.  Now you are doing streaming and terrestrial radio broadcasts.  How did you move back into FM?

Pat Fant: We added a second company, SuiteRadio Broadcast a couple of years ago to fill the need for a more refined syndication service to station owners.  With the technology we have now, our SuiteRadio host/personalities can be heard on local stations all over the country.  The economic advantages to owners are obvious when bringing in top talent from the outside.  But starting a syndication network is really hard work and takes time.  But we did it.  SuiteRadio is now on air with over 30 affiliated stations in 20 states with a combination of either full, 24/7 format service or a high-profile morning show.  Alongside my partner Cruze, and with the invaluable help of Chief Talent Wrangler Rowdy Yates and our Senior Director Chuck Bortnick, SuiteRadio has opened a new market for a preferred level of syndication service to radio. 

In your latest video, SuiteRadio features a who's who of Houston radio.  How did you land all of this big time H-Town talent?

PF: Well, fortunately they took my calls and said yes!   I think we said something like, "if you help me build a network radio business with the best on-air team, together we will wind up with great pipeline for top Texas talent to have a national outlet."  Just give us time to build it all the right way.  We can now say with confidence that the level of talent and personality heard on SuiteRadio formats is unmatched by ANYONE ELSE in the music format syndication business.  We also had to find the right technical delivery system, and the smart minds that could make network and local talk to each other electronically - around the clock.  We brought in our national ad sales partners at United Stations to monetize all the commercial minutes we earn on affiliated stations.  Finally, we grabbed the most knowledgeable guy out there in Affiliate Sales.  Ed Moloney heads up our SuiteRadio LA office talking to radio stations around the US every day.  

What kind of programming are these Houston DJs providing for stations?

PF: SuiteRadio offers 8 different hosted music formats for radio, from country to rock to Hot AC and also Spanish language.  Definitely watch the VIDEO here!  I believe I've been making these station videos since the 80s going back to KLOL and KTRH, and then for The BUZZ and even KRBE in 2009.  Now this new one for SuiteRadio is the best showcase ever for well-known, high-functioning Houston radio stars like Donna Mackenzie, Rowdy Yates, Outlaw Dave, Pam Kelly, Steve Robison, Maria Todd, Atom Smasher, Keegan Lucas - dang -- did I just say all that!  That's a lot of radio royalty in one place, and they are all right here at SuiteRadio making radio for new fans nationwide.  And wait until you get a look at our next generation of on-air hosts in Kaitlin Doyle, Tom Harris and Adam Andrus.

Mike McGuff, Dusty Hill, Pat Fant
Mike McGuff, Dusty Hill, Pat Fant

Since signing on 101 KLOL in 1970, you  have been on the cutting edge of radio and video production, what are your predictions for the future of broadcasting?

PF: There are a lot of opinions about what's next for over-the-air radio.  I only know that good content ALMOST always finds a way!  Whether from a 2,000 foot tower or an app on the phone, give me someone who is AUTHENTIC and isn't reading a card.  I believe you will see a lot more specialty programming on broadcast, like stations built around cause marketing, foreign language, religious, sports, politics, education.  People with something to say and hopefully, more influential music outlets that find value in introducing new artists.  Today most radio programmers would run from that idea - but I can see a strategy there given the proliferation of streaming that can handle the basic, day-to-day stuff just fine.  

Anything else you want to add?

PF: We are finally starting to filter back into keeping an office schedule of sorts, with staff coming back into the studios to track their shows.  I have missed that more than I would have thought.  In the creative business, you need people and interaction and those little 10 second hall way conversations that fire off an idea that go go make into radio before heading home.  That's how all my stations thrived over the years by bringing personality into the presentation.  I want to go on record that 8 second limits on a jock are having the opposite effect from what PPM programmers expected.  You are taking away incentive to listen, not adding to it. With all the streaming alternatives, the more you dumb down your station to songs and sweepers the more you give up in your fight to remain a factor.  But what do I know - I've become a comedy writer!  I wish I had done this years ago.  

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