INVISIBLE AIRWAVES Issue #027 | Page 28

looking to wear it like a badge of honor. They trusted that I would figure out how to get up to that line and not fall too far over it. Obviously we fell too far a couple of times, but it wasn't intentional.

MP: I don't think anybody set out to do it intentionally. It was just a really free time where you could push the limits on things and you didn't realize that you went over the line until somebody complained.

ES: I wasn't looking to be that guy. I don't know any of the other guys, so I don't know what their mindsets were, but that was never mine. But suddenly all the rules started changing. It was a scary time, that's for sure. Every time one of the NALs came in, don't think that I didn't sit there and go, "Well, maybe this is the one that I'm going to get it for." Because I was watching it happen to everybody else and some of them were losing their jobs.

MP: Compare that to today where social media has almost taken the place of the FCC. The reaction is instantaneous if you say something wrong. Look what happened in Buffalo where they were doing a bit that in the Nineties would have been innocuous, but in today's world, you're off the air and the program director is fired. It's definitely a different time.

ES: Yeah. You just have to figure out where you can live and where you can't. I don't know that I agree that we can't be as edgy as we once were. I would say that you have to approach it differently. That you have to deliver it differently, but I don't think your content has to be any less edgy. I've always believed that as long as it's entertaining, informative, provocative or interesting that you can get away with talking about anything.

MP: Talk to me about your show's crew.

ES: Diane [Stupar-Hughes] has been with me since day one. When I first got to D.C., Diane had been working at the hot AC station here and I was trying to get a show together. The GM at the time said he had someone at WASH who is far more talented than what they were using her for. We went to lunch and hit it off. I think we spent about three or four hours at lunch and she's been with me since day one. Tyler [Molnar] is the producer of the show, but also really the third voice on the air. He's definitely grown and matured into being a very large on-air persona, as well as the producer of the show. He's been with me for 17 or 18 years. He graduated from Georgetown and was working in promotions at the radio station. He was just one of those kids around the station that you just knew was smart. We had an associate producer who was mostly behind the scenes that had been with me for 10 years, but recently left. So I just hired Krysten Warnes. She's been with me for about six weeks, but had worked at the station years ago in promotions. You kind of figure out real quick who's smart and has the right mindset. Kristen's work ethic is big for me. She had left the station, so when I knew that there was going to be an opening, I reached out to her. She loves radio and wanted to come back. That's it. It's just the four of us. Everybody has a great work ethic and we have a great chemistry. We've been able to keep those two principles in place through 20 some odd years now. MP: What advice would you give to someone starting in the business that wants to be an on air personality? ES: God knows we need them. I don't know that the industry is doing a good job right now of grooming talent for the future. If there's somebody young that wants to get into it, I would tell them don't get impatient and be willing to put the work in. I look back and thank God that I was able to learn from Lander and Shannon. And then being able to have program directors, whether it was Brian Phillips, Steve Kingston or Poleman and learn from them. There are people that are doing this that are far more talented than I am where comes so naturally. For me, I'm getting up at two in the morning and go until ten o'clock at night. There's some great perks that come along with this job, but it is a tremendous amount of work.