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[EXECUTIVE SPOTLIGHT] Skip Dillard, Program Director of WBLS/WLIB New York City - Emmis Communications

Image: [EXECUTIVE SPOTLIGHT] Skip Dillard, Program Director of WBLS/WLIB New York City - Emmis Communications

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Here at The Urban Influencer, we love to highlight music industry "big wigs," corporate America execs, successful entrepreneurs, and small business owners.

Today (Nov. 30) we spotlight Skip Dillard, Program Director of WBLS/WLIB in New York City for Emmis Communications.

In this Q&A, learn what makes this "head honcho" tick.


How did you get started in this field?

I’m a product of college radio.  I spent time after class in high school at WNAA (NC A&T State University) in Greensboro NC.   After graduating high school, I  attended College at Hampton University and was able to secure a slot on WHOV, the Hampton’s radio station.  

What's a normal workday like for you?

My day is full of meetings from time with my DJ’s to sales and marketing.  I spend a lot of my day researching our ratings, the market and music.  And there’s always tons of daily time devoted to our upcoming events and initiatives.

Do you feel pressure being a part of the #1 media market in the country?

There’s always pressure but it’s far beyond market size.  Today radio is working to innovate it’s product in the digital universe.  Keeping our spot on new car dashboards while working to live on ever-evolving smart-phones are crucial to our future.   The challenge and excitement of growth and change  far outweighs the stress.

What's the most enjoyable part of your career?

The most enjoyable part of my job is the ability to bring positive change to the communities I’ve been blessed to serve.  Radio is the BEST medium for serving local communities.

What's the least enjoyable?

The toughest part of my job is continuing to grow our brands despite having less money to do so.   Digital advertising and platforms have “moved our cheese” so we have to work so much harder to find opportunities to generate revenue.   Today, we’re all in the sales business.  Even in market #1 the phone doesn’t ring, you have to get out there and chase the dollars.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I’m most proud of the opportunities to be an on-air talent and Program Director in Cities I’d only dreamed of visiting as a kid.  I was born in NYC and we relocated South when I was young so I never dreamed of a chance to come back here.  But I also enjoyed my work in DC, Detroit, Buffalo, San Francisco, New and New Orleans.  It’s one thing to visit these places, but quite another to live in them and positively impact local communities.

Who are your role models/mentors?

My role models are too many to mention here!  But I have to credit my parents for SO much support to this day!   They’ve encouraged me to pursue my passions from day one and I’m so Blessed to still have them on this Earth. 

What advice do you have for those who want to pursue a career as a program director?

Today’s PD must have multiple interests.  I recommend taking management courses and reading up on digital strategy and advertising.   You really have to be a multi-tasker, while learning how to make work fun.  I’m always working but I try to have as much fun doing it as possible.  When I feel burn out, I take myself “off the grid” to recharge, then I’m right back at it. They may outsmart you from time to time but don’t let anyone out-work you!