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Rock Up Close: Chris Doc Garrett, PD, WGIR/Manchester & WHEB/Portsmouth

Chris Garrett

Chris Doc Garrett is a New Hampshire radio lifer. He began his career at a local station in Concord in 1981 before joining WGIR (Rock 101)/Manchester in 1983 and subsequently moving over to WHEB/Portsmouth, where he has been ever since. In addition to PD, he has served as Promotions Director, afternoon drive, middays and practically every conceivable job at WHEB, becoming part of the fabric of the station for over 25 years. About two-and-a-half years ago he took over the reigns of GIR in addition to HEB, as well as being PD of the
Greg and the Morning Buzz Network, which is syndicated on four stations across the state. Obviously Doc has a full plate, but he took the time to speak to FMQB about his daily programming philosophies and challenges. 

eQB presents excerpts from the May FMQB magazine Rock Up Close:
Chris Doc Garrett, PD, WGIR/Manchester & WHEB/Portsmouth

The biggest thing is communication on a day-to-day basis speaking to people everyday, and making sure that we have a clear vision of exactly what the station is all about and what were trying to accomplish as a team. Its a lot of fun, its a challenge, and I look forward to it. Thats what keeps me coming back the challenge and excitement of what the new day brings, because it definitely isnt the same everyday.

We certainly market ourselves as New Hampshire Rock stations. Were able to use the network and the power of Greg and the Morning Buzz and drive that home. The nice thing is we have two Clear Channel affiliates and two non-Clear Channel affiliates that carry the morning show. This gives us state-wide coverage because we not only have WHEB and Rock 101, we have Max FM in Lebanon, NH, which is the home of Dartmouth College. Within the past year we added K-Rock, the new Rock station in Keene. It really has given us a stranglehold on trying to spread the word of our properties and our Rock affiliates throughout the state of New Hampshire.

We used to be in the tall towers, basically just a radio frequency. Im looking at myself more as a content manager now. Im delivering content and I have to really look at all the different ways we can do that. We have so many different areas that we can now utilize to deliver content, with the web obviously being in the forefront of that. I remember when I challenged my jocks about three years ago to make the website become organically part of the programming. Its almost embedded in the programming itself, whether its an Easter Egg Hunt to help hide concert tickets or video quizzes that the morning show will do daily.

You cant just spam your listeners with useless information. You want to get promotional stuff out there. You want to try and marry partnerships with clients and sales, but at the same time, every time we send out an e-mail, the first question I ask is: What is the benefit to the listener? When Im doing programming: Whats the benefit to the listener? When Im doing online programming: Whats the benefit to the listener? You need to give listeners benefits, and more and more reasons to come back to your station and your website because thats a real challenge with the up-and-coming young generation.

You cant just sit in your corner and go, Okay, great, Ive got the website and Twitter. You can never be satisfied with where you are. You always have to be looking down the road at new technology and saying, I know this is how we did it today, but tomorrow my job is going to be completely different. We have to learn how to embrace new technologies and be out in front of that to make sure were giving listeners what they want and giving them content in a number of different ways.

Ive always wanted to be in radio, so I have a hard time thinking of something else Id want to do. Its funny, because Im not doing now what I was doing a year ago, or even five years ago. I had to take myself off the air. The reason I got into radio is because I wanted to be a jock. Thats why we all love doing this! If I wasnt in radio, I would be a sports announcer probably a hockey play-by-play announcer, because thats one of my passions.

** QB Content by Mandy Feingold ** 


Nicki Farag,
SVP of Promotion,
Def Jam Recordings

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