Thursday, February 5, 2009

Former XMU PD Billy Zero Lands at WTMD

After the merger of XM and Sirius satellite radio, there were various shifts in personnel and station line-ups. A station that I wrote a lot about was the college-themed XMU (which is now known as Sirius XMU and has a blend of programming from the old XMU and the former Sirius station "Left of Center"). They did a nice job of featuring indie artists AND playlists from college radio stations from all over the country. Every weekend they did the "Student Exchange" program, which presented music and mic breaks from a different college radio station.

Billy Zero was Program Director of XMU and he left the station last fall. Thanks to an article in the Towerlight this week, I now know where he's landed. The piece profiles Billy Zero (real name Billy Gallagher), as he begins his time as Program Director of public radio station WTMD (aka "Radio for Music People") at Towson University. It also delves into some of the details surrounding changes at XM radio and why it was such an inspiring place to work initially. According to the article:

"Joining the XM staff in the company's early days was liberating for Gallagher.

'It was like a playground,' he said. 'We came to XM to do what we couldn't do in terrestrial radio, which was to do specials - hour long, two hours long - and play a wide base of music, not just 300 or 400-song play lists.'

Gallagher was eventually promoted to program director of XMU, a station aimed at college students. However, by 2004, the corporate culture he left at WHFS came back to haunt him.

'They started bringing in radio guys that were trimming play lists and telling you what to play and by 2006 it had taken a drastic turn and we knew things were changing,' he said."

He goes on to discuss the format of WTMD and his goals for the station, including a desire to expand the playlist, saying:

"The move to WTMD's adult-alternative format was a refreshing return to the freedom he had in the early days of XM.

'It's like taking eight, nine, ten satellite stations, genres and merging them into one amazing format,' he said. 'We're playing a little bit of everything.'

He said he also enjoys working with other people who know a lot about the music.

'When I worked at XM, I thought the people there that I worked with were some of the most knowledgeable people in music I'd ever met and now that I'm here, I'm realizing that the people here are just the same,' he said...

For now, Gallagher plans to change WTMD by exploring the 'little nuances of widening our playlist.' He stresses what commercial radio stations do wrong with how they present music.

I'm all for broadening the playlist, so I hope that Billy is able to accomplish that noble goal.

1 comment:

Beatrice said...

Was wondering where Billy Zero ended up - and thanks to you and Google, now I know! Interesting the way radio is gradually loosening itself from the grips of the label execs. Would love to see where Billy takes WTMD. Thanks for the post!