Hello Rochester: Jazz90.1
Rob Linton has been with Jazz90.1 WGMC-FM since 2004 as Station Manager and Afternoon Host. Prior to that, Linton worked for iHeart Media in Rochester, New York, which owns seven local radio stations. During that time, he also taught Television and Radio Broadcasting to Greece Central School District students in grades 9-12, students at WEMOCO Career and Technical Education Center in grades 10-12, and he currently serves as part-time Professor of Communications at St. John Fisher College, Nazareth College, and Monroe Community College.
1. What inspired you to work in radio?
Growing up, it was always a dream of mine to either work in television or radio. Originally, I was more interested in working behind the scenes as a producer or director, but once I started my first job on air in radio in 1998, I was hooked. I then went on to 1180 WHAM where I served as a part-time News Anchor, which further cemented my desire to be on air. I have a job that allows me to speak to and entertain tens of thousands of people each day. I can help to make their day better, introduce them to music that they've never heard, connect with them, and have a positive impact on their lives. I consider myself very fortunate to have such a career.
3. What advice would you give to a young adult interested in pursuing a career in the media?
Never give up. Yes, that does sound cheesy, but it's true. I would tell them the same thing that I tell my students: work hard, have a positive attitude, overcome obstacles, and to do what it takes to succeed in this business. The media landscape has changed drastically in the 23 years that I have been in the business. There are less jobs, but there ARE jobs. You may need to move out of town or out of State to land the perfect job. You must have the willingness to work long hours including weekends and holidays, possibly move around a bit, and not be in this business to get rich. Younger people wishing to get into this field must be multi-talented and versed in many different digital platforms. You also need the drive to work from the bottom up in a competitive field.
4. Compared to other radio stations, what makes Jazz90.1 unique?
We are one of the last 24/7/365 public jazz radio stations in the Country. In fact - there's about 8 of us left. We are community focused and have live local talent on the air 18-24 hours each day. It is very uncommon to have Rochester based talent on the air in town, so the fact that our station is driven by over 25 volunteers and a small paid staff, is a testament to our dedication. We are also independently funded, which means that we must raise all operating funds each year through fundraising.
5. If you were offered a job at a radio station that features a different genre of music, would you accept the position?
The chances of me leaving Jazz90.1 are slim. I fully anticipate retiring from this station, because I love my work so much. When I began here, I came with a passion and desire to invest myself fully into seeing this station grow and succeed. If an opportunity for growth into another position were to present itself, I would not be opposed to working in a different format. So far, my career has taken me to rock, top 40, AAA, news/talk, sports/talk, soft rock, Christian and jazz. In radio you go where the work is, not where your favorite music is played.
6. Is jazz still important, even though it originated in the late 19th century? Why or why not?
Jazz has always been important. Many people don't know that jazz is America's original musical art form. So much of the music today has roots in jazz. R&B, pop, soul and other genres all have roots that began in jazz music. Some of your favorite music has elements of jazz. While many people paint the genre as "old music," we have young artists who are keeping the music alive today. The station spends half of our broadcast hours each day playing new artists, and new music.
7. As Spotify and Pandora become more popular, how do you maintain the relevancy of radio?
I am asked this question quite often. While the amount of choices in media has changed over the last two decades, one thing has not - that is the LOCAL aspect of radio. Services like Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music and even Sirius/XM Satellite Radio lack the local, hometown connection. There's nothing better than being able to turn on your radio and hear local people talking about local issues. AM/FM radio continues to dominate in listenership for both morning and afternoon drive time, beating all of the other digital services. While there is more choice for listeners these days, the numbers continue to suggest that listeners of all ages continue consuming terrestrial radio. Also - AM/FM radio is FREE.
8. Anything else you would like to add?