10 Questions with KAWO, Program Director Dan Matthews


I started my radio career 12 years ago as a student at the University of Arizona in Tucson. I tried to get on the student radio station, but nobody would call me back so I started working promotions at KiiM FM. It didn’t take long to work my way into the overnights and full-time nights once I graduated.

In July of 2005 I accepted a job I was terribly unqualified for to work at Clear Channel’s KTMY in Boise and six months later it was purchased by Peak Broadcasting and rebranded KAWO, WOW Country 104.3. I’m the last man standing from that original staff.

1) What is new and exciting at KAWO this year that you are looking forward to?

It has been a tough battle for the past 5 years against some very strong competition, but now we are really beginning to hit our stride in this market. We provide a fun and fresh approach to the music and it seems like the listeners are really digging what we’re doing. It’s an exciting time and maybe I should be knocking on wood, but we’ve got some big things coming our way!

2) How did you convince Buzz Jackson to give you your start at KIIM?

Relentless begging. Haha! Buzzy is truly one of the greatest guys out there (I can see his head swelling as he reads this). I’d like to think that he saw someone who was willing to do whatever it took to get on the air. He took a chance on me and I’ll always be grateful to him for that.

3) How old were you when you decided you wanted to be in radio and what do you think makes it a good fit for you?

I was probably 9 or 10 when my dad set up a little mixing board, tape deck and microphone in my room. I used to do radio shows talking to myself in different voices. I’m sure that my mom has a few incriminating tapes stowed away somewhere.

4) Tell us what kind of sound you want to be known for at KAWO and how do you think that helps you stand out in the Boise market?

We are Idaho’s Fresh New Country so we’ve got to deliver on that promise. Since we’re the new kids on the block, we decided early on that we were just going to be fun and friendly. If it’s a hot new song on Country radio, the listener knows they’ll find it on WOW. We work very hard to be entertaining and listener focused. Also, we identify every song by title and artist using song tags. No other station in the market does that and it’s been tremendously successful for us.

5) Has it always been Country music for you or what did you listen to growing up?

My folks used to refer to Country as sounding like ‘a cat with it’s tail stuck in a meat grinder.’ I’m still not sure what that means, but I was definitely not brought up on Country. I get my appreciation of Pink Floyd and the Allman Brothers from my folks.

6) Tell us what your favorite radio station promotion has been so far in your career and why.

Every year I endure a promotion called Hope for the Holidays. Essentially I spend 104 hours freezing in a tent outside of a local WalMart raising resources for the Boise Rescue Mission. Outside of St Jude it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve done in radio because I’ve had the ability to speak to so many people who have experienced homelessness and still contribute every year or parents stopping by to teach their kids how to help out others. That’s where radio can truly be magical.

7) What do you like better- being on the air or programming and why?

Hands down, the best part of my day is when that studio door closes and I get to do my show. That being said, learning to program a competitive Country station is one of the most challenging and fun things I’ve been able to do. Right now it’s a toss-up.

8) What is your favorite thing about your job and if you could get rid of just one job responsibility what would it be?

I love interacting with our listeners. The people here in Boise are ridiculously friendly and they have really begun to embrace WOW as a part of their daily life. Rather than ditch any particular job responsibility I’d like to negotiate for more hours in the day. Who do you suppose I talk to about that?

9) Who have been some of your mentors in your career so far?

Big ups to Buzz Jackson. I kinda want to be him when I grow up. I’ve also had the ability to work with some amazingly talented people including Lisa Adams, Jaye Albright and Becky Brenner.

10) So tell us what you like most about living and working in Boise! What is not to miss for visitors?

OMG – Boise is such a surreal place. It’s just so nice and safe and pretty. They might actually get mad at me for not keeping this place a secret. Come on out in the summer and we’ll float the river, or wait until the fall and hit up a Boise State football game!

Bonus Questions

1) What is your biggest guilty pleasure?

You know what… I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve seen every episode of Jersey Shore. (OK, I’m slightly ashamed.)

2) If you could pick a fantasy dream job outside of radio, what would it be?

I’ve always wanted to be a cartoon voice or a lion tamer.

3) What is your favorite place to travel with your lovely wife Rosie and what should we see there?

We’re really taking advantage of living in this area of the country. Seattle and Portland are easy for a nice weekend getaway. Sometimes we like to sneak up to Sun Valley where I drink whiskey and pretend to be a brilliantly tormented novelists

Source: All Access Music Group

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