Interview: DJ A-OH, PD of 103.5 The Beat


DJ A-OHThe flip from CCME’s WSHE Adult Hits “Variety 103.5” Miami was made 10/11/13 to “The Beat—Miami’s Bangin’ Hip-Hop,” putting the station (now WMIB-FM) in direct competition with Cox Media Group’s heritage Urban WEDR-FM “99 Jamz”—which is consistently second place in the market to sister WHQT-FM. “The Beat” previously aired from 2002-2010 under the WMIB calls as Urban and later Urban AC. Here, we asked JD A-OH Hashem about the music, the station, the market and the strategy:

Tell us about the launch—bringing back 103.5 The Beat to SoFla. What promotions did you use?

We launched 103.5 The Beat in October 2013, led by Clear Channel Urban SVP Doc Wynter. It was truly a blessing to be involved with the launch as I was able to witness the goal and direction of the station from its conception. The Beat started out commercial free with “2000 joints in a row,” and our on-air personalities started a week later with “10 joints in a row” and a chance at “10 stacks a day.” The launch was confident and aggressive… a glimpse of where The Beat was headed.

Tell us about your radio history.

I started my career in Chicago at Columbia College pursuing a degree in radio. I then interned at WGCI-FM in Chicago and was hired as a mixer, on-air personality and part time producer. With the guidance of my mentors and coworkers, I worked my way up to the position of Assistant Program Director and Operations Assistant at WGCI-FM for Clear Channel Chicago. I have always wanted to live in Florida, so when the opportunity to program 103.5 The Beat arose, I was more than ready to make the commitment.

You are mixing in a lot of Reggae. Seems like a good idea, given the decades of Reggae pirate FMs in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area. What research shows that a Hip-Hop station in Miami should have a good mix of Reggae on the playlist? What is the reaction from listeners, by demo?

Reggae and Dancehall is very much a part of the Urban / Hip-Hop universe. There is a large Caribbean community in the market, so it’s important for us to cater to those listeners as well – we always play the music our listeners want to hear.

What are your battle plans against heritage Hip-Hop WEDR? Is it possible to beat them? Is there plenty of room for both stations?

Our primary focus as a station is to provide the best product possible for the urban community and our listeners.  Yes, we are aggressive and at times take “shots” at our competition however, battling to be the best is part of Hip-Hop culture. Both stations have their place in the market because we provide a slightly different product, but being the authority is definitely our goal.

Your ratings are on the rise. Where would you like to see them within a year from launch? How do you plan to hit that goal?

We are focused on growth and a year from now I would like to say that we have continued that trend.  We are constantly fine tuning all aspects of The Beat and to remain relevant we will adapt as trends and culture changes.

What local promotions are you working on? South Florida has so many venues and events.

We just rolled out our yearly concert, The Beat Down. It’s a very strong line-up and currently our main focus promotionally. Recently, we’ve partnered with many festivals including the 9 Mile (Marley) Festival, Forgiato Car Festival, and hope to continue those and other new relationships.

What help is Clear Channel/Miami bringing to the table?

The support from Clear Channel Miami is undeniable. From the Market President Lonny Anger, and Vice President of Programming Alex Tear, to the entire programming, promotions, digital, sales and engineering teams, all are more than willing to help The Beat win.

–Carl Marcucci

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Carl has been with RBR-TVBR since 1997 and is currently Managing Director/Senior Editor. Residing in Northern Virginia, he covers the business of broadcasting, advertising, programming, new media and engineering. He’s also done a great deal of interviews for the company and handles our ever-growing stable of bylined columnists.