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Brian "Big Bear" Davis

8-9-2013

As a tall and handsome man with a voice that sounds like a warm summer night, Brian Big Bear Davis puts Barry White to shame. As the man entrusted with seven stations, overseeing 23, Brian can implement almost any format with intelligence, confidence, clarity, creativity, and competence. His stations compete at the highest level, and Brian will not rest until each station is a finely tuned machine. He is truly a man of a thousand talents. Whether as a programmer or on-air talent, Brians abilities go well beyond what is expected in our industry. He can dominate the room with his presence but is the sweetest, warmest, kindest person. For those of us in the radio industry, we are fortunate to have Brian Davis influence and leadership.

Now, in his own words, here is how Executive VP, Chief of Programming Operations Point Broadcasting LLC Brian "Big Bear" Davis got into radio

I have always had a love for music and was intrigued by radio at an early age, but I never thought that it would be my career. The way I actually got into radio was a complete accident.

While in college, I was majoring in agricultural business (yes, I wanted to be a farmer and live off the land, kind of), a friend of mine who was a communications/drama major, asked me if I could fill in for his show because he had something to do that night that was really important. Being a good friend, I said yes before I even knew what his job was. I didnt know if this guy was a stage actor, street performer, or what. I had NO IDEA what fill In for his show" meant. So, I called back for clarification, and it turns out it was a radio show. Specifically, R&B Slow Jams, Tuesday night from 10 p.m. to midnight on our college radio station.

That was the beginning. The show was in five days, and I grabbed every CD I had, borrowed a few pieces of vinyl from my Dads collection, and proceeded to tell everyone on campus and anyone I could get on the phone to make sure to tune in Tuesday at 10 p.m.

As I continued my street promotion campaign, I realized that I had to narrow down my playlist. I had amassed a ton of music, however it hit me that it was only a two-hour show. Thats when I figured out that I needed to consult a pro. At the time, I was taking one communications course, and my professor, Jim Wilson, was a great guy. He let me pick his brain, calmed me down, told me where I was waaaaaay off base, and basically helped me assemble the foundation for what is now my career. From there I comprised the most incredible playlist for two hours of radio ever assembled. It consisted of everything from Faith Evans and Jodeci to the Isley Brothers and Mtume. (Look them up, classic love triangle ballad of all time You, Me and He)

After all of that, the time had come: Tuesday night 10 p.m., I was on. It was INCREDIBLE!!!!!! After the 10 minutes of phone calls from family and friends, I realized something: People were calling me because they loved the music (that I loved), and were enjoying listening to it. It was great!

And then IT happened. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just given out the number to the studio line, and talked into the Isley Brothers Between the Sheets. The break was perfect -- a 23-second intro, flowed perfectly, got out right in time, hit the post perfect. I just sat there for a minute grooving to the song; the speaker was directly in front me. I was basking in the moment. In my head Im thinking, I AM THE MAN RIGHT NOW I AM KILLING IT! After a minute of getting over my own ego, I heard a little voice inside say Hey man, isnt the small speaker in front of you for cuing music, and what plays on the air comes through over the big speakers up on the walls? 

Sure enough, my perfect delivery and perfect track were not what was airing on the station. Pure terror ran through me. You know those moments when you get nervous, and your underarms feel like theyre on fire for a split second? I had all those types of feelings. All I could do was open the mic, and start it over.
 
After my fumble recovery, I proceeded to take calls, let people make dedications and requests, share stories etc. I had a ball, and then the two hours was over. The phone kept ringing with people commenting on the music and the show, so I stayed there talking to people for another hour as we switched to bluegrass music (gotta love college radio).

After I left the studio that night, and walked back to my dorm, that was it, I was hooked. I had just had one of the greatest moments of my life (up to that point), and one my greatest blunders (up to that point). All at the same time. Radio is GREAT!

My friend asked that I continue his Tuesday night show, which later evolved into a longer form Sunday afternoon show, which further evolved into me becoming music director of our college station, creating other opportunities to expose different types of music, interning at our local commercial station, and continuing through a typical radio career path of multiple jobs, multiple cities, multiple call letters. To this day I still approach radio with the same passion, eagerness, and uncertainty of my first day taking over that show.

Lisa Miller is the President of Miller Broadcast Management in Chicago. She's also one of Radio Ink's Most Influential Women in Radio. Miller can be reached at Lisa@millerbroadcast.com or 312-454-1111.
So, how did you get into radio? We'd love to hear the story about why you're passionate about radio.




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