WJPZ at 50

TuneIn's Mark Verone, Class of 95, On The Future of Audio

Episode Notes

Today we are joined by another member of the great WJPZ Class of 1995, Mark Verone.  Mark grew up listening to the station, even when they worked with Whirlin' Disc DJ's coming to East Syracuse Minoa High School.

Mark was determined to work at Z89 - even if it took a brief detour to Onondaga Community College before eventually transferring into Newhouse and SU.   The first half of the 90's were a great time to be at WJPZ - as they refreshed the logo and sound, and gave away a car at the New York State Fair.    You'll actually hear the promo in this podcast (8:11).  The promo won the station national recognition and a story with Bill Maher.

After graduation, Mark spent a decade in radio. He worked with former Soviet countries through Metromedia International to get radio stations running.  He also spent time at Jacor, ClearChannel, and their Critical Mass Media, where he began learning about ad tech and digital sales.

The next phase of Mark's career was on the digital side, working for Orbitz and GoGo, before marrying his tech knowledge and radio routes at TuneIn.   He shares how his company's discovery platform is opening up the entire world to content creators.

Mark's also done extensive work with the alumni of Syracuse University as a whole, serving as President of the national alumni club, and recruiting other WJPZ alums into the fold.  (By the way, he met his wife through the Chicago alumni club, as he shares.)

WJPZ taught Mark a lot about working hard and playing hard.   He talks about learning scrappiness at Z89, and how that hustle has served him well in his career.   And he also talks about 507 University Ave.  You'll have to listen to the podcast to hear those stories.


TuneIn Website: https://tunein.com/

Listen to this podcast on TuneIn: http://tun.in/pnKwa

Join Us in Syracuse for Banquet on March 4th: https://bit.ly/WJPZ50BanquetTickets

The WJPZ at 50 Podcast is produced by Jon Gay '02 and JAG in Detroit Podcasts

Episode Transcription

JAG: Welcome to WJPZ at 50. I've tried to make an effort in this podcast to include alumni from all different years and decades. Although I have to say the mid nineties, particularly the class of 95, has had so many all stars, it's hard to do this podcast without including so many of them. One of which joins us today, Major Market Mark Verone joins us from Chicago. Good afternoon, sir. 

Mark: Hey, JAG, great to be here. 

JAG: You are part of one of the best classes in the station's history, just in terms of active alumni and professional success. Take me back to the beginning, getting to Syracuse and getting involved with the station. 

Mark: Oh my goodness. It's interesting cuz. I'm what they call on campus a townie. So I grew up in East Syracuse, went to East Syracuse Minoa High School. And I was that local nerdy kid that was obsessed with radio, TV, and the media. And I was a member of the AV club. But I grew up listening to Z89 and 93Q and Y94 FM..

And I wasn't one of those kids that was exposed to major market radio, like a lot of our colleagues and friends that are coming to Syracuse from the tri-state area or bigger media markets. So I actually remember Z89 worked with Whirlin Disc sound years ago. It was a local DJ company and they used to do dances at the high schools and they used to come out to ESM when I was in high school. And yeah, instead of dancing I was hanging around the DJ booth. 

JAG: You're in good company on this podcast Mark. 

Mark: Yeah, exactly. I'm one of those people, right? But it's actually funny cuz I also had another encounter with an alum when I was a kid. I was still in middle school and Ed LaComb was running production for WFBL in Syracuse.

So my parents did some advertising on a local Italian radio show and I got to voice a spot for them when I was a kid. And Ed was the guy recording me and little did I know that later I would actually work with Ed at Hot 1079 and become a fellow alum. My core focus in high school is how do I get into Newhouse and work at Z89

JAG: So you're in high school. You must have been listening to some of our alumni before you even got there. 

Mark: I was. It's funny, Jimmy Z, I believe was one of the guys I remember listening to, I wasn't the best student in high school. So I graduated in 91 and I ended up at the radio and TV program at SUNY OCC, cuz I couldn't get into Syracuse as a freshman.

So I spent my freshman year on the other hill, the Onondaga Hill. Working at WOC C, which was the campus radio station for Onondaga Community College. But I was dating a fellow Z 89 alum at the time. She started working at WJPZ as a freshman. So I would actually hang out for my freshman year, and I got to meet a whole bunch of people who eventually became some of my closest friends and colleagues.

I kicked butt at OCC, got a really good GPA, got into Newhouse, passed the grammar, punctuation, spelling, exam. 

JAG: Oh, the GPS! 

Mark: Yes. I don't even know if they give that out. But I'd passed it and in the fall of 92, I started enjoying the station as a sophomore transfer student. And that's how I became part of the JPZ team.

JAG: I love the stories of folks who grew up in Syracuse, and there are several of you that we have talked to and are going to talk to on this podcast just knowing what an imprint the station had in the market for people who grew up there before they even set foot on the Syracuse campus. 

Mark: Yeah, and there's several of us too. Dan Austin's a great friend of mine, also local, started working at the station, I think when he was like 14 or 15 or something. He was still in school. 

JAG: Yeah. So tell me what you did once you got to the station as a sophomore. 

Mark: There's an old saying, all I really needed to know, I learned in kindergarten. All I needed to really know about radio, I learned, not in a traditional classroom, but I learned at WJPZ from my fellow students and alumni.

So my experience in the nineties was, I think it was one of the best times to be at Syracuse. I'm also convinced the nineties was one of the greatest musical decades of our time. I won't go into why, but there was so much great music that came out in the nineties. But the thing I loved about Z 89 is it's a group of college kids that were trying to emulate a commercial Top 40, urban slant leaning, contemporary hit music station. And even though we were non-commercial, we were scrappy. We didn't let the noncom thing get in our way. You know what was really impressive too, is like the number of artists that would stop into this little college radio station in Syracuse when they were playing gigs.

Sometimes they didn't even play in Syracuse, but they would go out of their way, take a detour, come into our studios in many cases, because we were the ones breaking their music in the market. Other stations weren't playing their music. So I really loved that aspect of it, but I really enjoyed the freedom to experiment.

Make mistakes and learn from each other. That was like the one time I think in my career, that you could make a mistake, recover from it and learn. Not that you can't make mistakes in a major market or you're a broadcaster out in the marketplace, cuz they still do to this day. But it's more forgiving in that student kind of safe place environment. The thing is you learn to move past it and not dwell on it. It's like the show must go on, so like you fall down, you get yourself back up and you move on. 

JAG: So besides on air, what else did you do at the station? 

Mark: So I was heavily involved with production and working closely with the marketing team.

One of the big things that we did is we did shift from Brian James, who was that iconic voice, and we moved over to another voice by the name of Mitch. I forget his last name, but Mitch had this amazing urban sounding voice that we moved to. And so that was a big thing, like re-imaging the station was a lot of fun.

And then in 92, 93 we updated the logo. At the time it was the old black and white and red kind of logo with the lines. And then we moved to a new logo that was more nineties colors. It was turquoise and like that hot pink color. And with that came a bumper sticker promotion and a contest with Coca-Cola.

And so we gave away a car in 1993. It was a brand new 1993 Chevrolet Geo Tracker. And at the time, that was a big deal for us. Like I, I'm not gonna bore you with the details of how the Geo Tracker was given away because I know Goofy Betty and kid Michael Rock and Jeannie Schad and Tony Renda can tell you about the contest winner and on all the details there.

But really, what was fun about that was the behind the scenes part of piecing that together, working as a team to actually go out and build a sponsorship. Pull it together. This is a bunch of college kids going to a car dealership and working with a brand like Chevrolet on a national level and working cohesively to build a promotion together.

That kind of stuff happens at commercial radio stations, not non-commercial stations. So at that time Tina Mussino, now Perkins, who's also Professor Perkins at the Newhouse School. She was the production director and we had to come up with this kick ass promo and the theme was just stick it.

It was the summer slammer jam. And because we're resourceful, a lot of the sound effects and vocal effects processing that we needed, we had to borrow. And I use the word borrow with quotes around it because a lot of us worked at Y94FM up the road part-time. We were part-timers over there.

And New City had a ton of equipment. Their production facilities were outstanding. So a lot of the special effects on that promo came from New City. Thank you very much. New City, now iHeart, 

JAG: I think we're past the statute of limitations here 25 years later. 

Mark: Yeah. Okay. And I'm sure we weren't the only ones that did that, but , just those vocal effects that we, we just didn't have that capability at Z89.

Now, I'm sure we have much better ways of doing things digitally, but back then we were doing carts and tapes and splicing things together manually. The voices on that promo, you had JD Redman Tina, myself, Ed Brundage Jumping John Petricillo, James Leatherman. We all came together and created this amazing promo.

JAG: All right. I know you've got it sitting there, Mark. Let's hear it.

Oh, that is awesome. I love that. That's fantastic. 

Mark: So now here's the best part. We submitted that promo to the National Association of College Broadcasters, and I believe the NACB is now defunct. There's another organization for college broadcasters these days, but we won best creative production in 1993 at the NACB for the promo that we created to give away a car.

Now, can you imagine a college radio station that gave away trips and cars and cash? It was almost unheard of, especially in the nineties, even today. I don't know of a lot of stations that do that. I remember we piled into Tony Renda's car and we drove out to Providence, Rhode Island. And we went to the Brown University campus where the NACB was hosting their annual conference. I think Tony got a speeding ticket at some point. And I'm not sure if it was on the way there or the way back, but I remember we got pulled over, but we were so excited it didn't matter. And then the awards show was being hosted by Bill Maher.

This was before Bill Maher was a household name. He was about to become huge, but he had just started at Comedy Central with Politically Incorrect. So here we are in the audience waiting for our category in the envelope and they mention our name and they play our promo. And it sounds great and we, everyone's cheering.

But the funniest part was when we got up to accept the award. We all forgot the instructions we got, they gave all the nominees instructions like, oh, when you come up to the stage, make sure you enter from this side . And we entered on the wrong side. So Bill had a field day making fun of us for not following instructions, but we didn't care. We won this incredible award. 

JAG: I can picture it now. You college kids are giving away a car in cash on the air and you can't even walk up the right side of the stage . 

Mark: It was monumental. So that was my first introduction ever to Bill Maher and probably my last. 

JAG: So you have had a fascinating career in your time since JPZ. You've had a lot of different roles in a lot of different places. I hope you can walk us through this for those who don't know you as well, and take me through what you did after graduation. 

Mark: Yeah, so after graduation, I spent 10 years in radio. In broadcast professionally. So after graduation, 95 through 2005. And then eventually after 2005, I went into the digital side, but after college I moved to New York City. I worked for Bill Hogan. He was the former head of Westwood One Radio. He was working for John Kluge at a company called Metromedia International, and we made investments in radio stations in Eastern Europe and Russia.

I actually crossed paths a little bit with Hal Rood during this time because Hal was also doing stuff internationally. And so we had some interactions there. That was a lot of fun. We would bring people over to New York City, we'd train them, teach them how to do broadcasting, in a more objective way than they probably had been used to.

JAG: Than the Russians had told them? 

Mark: Yeah, it was great. We had to teach people how to write stories objectively because under the Soviet Union, under communism, they might write a story about a recall on tires. That recall on tires would've been just like a normal thing here.

But they would say, due to the substandard American quality of tire production. So they'd rewrite the story. So we had to teach 'em that. We also blew up the grid in Moscow when we did a cash contest. We had to bring AT&T consultants in. Unlike in the United States where we have a different exchange for radio stations, all radio stations have their own exchange in every market, and it was set up that way because of the volume of calls that would come into radio stations.

So radio stations always have their own prefix that's unique to them, and other companies or other places can't use that. 

JAG: Growing up in Boston, every radio station was area Code 6 1 7, 9, 3, 1, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So okay. 

Mark: So when you think about that whole logic happened a long time ago to handle the volume of traffic coming in. We had to help Moscow literally rebuild their network so that the media had their own exchange. And luckily we had enough people on the staff that were involved in that. But then while that was fun, the 96 Telecom Act changed everything, and I was recruited back to Syracuse, where I ran promotions of marketing for WSYR, WHEN and Hot 1079.

And I was working with Ed Lacomb and in 97 I was consulting for Metromedia again. They were looking to expand into other markets, and then I moved to Lexington, Kentucky with Jacor and everyone's like, why are you going to Lexington? But it was an opportunity to be close to corporate Jacor at the time, cuz Jacor corporate was up in Covington. And Lexington wasn't too far away.

JAG: This the Randy Michaels days? 

Mark: This was the Randy Michaels days. And I worked with Nick Miller, who ran Marketing, national Marketing and Promotions at Jacor. And then I ended up leaving Lexington. I ran their cluster there, marketing promotions there, and I took a corporate gig with Jacor.

I moved to Chicago in 99. Was working for Critical Mass media, which was doing music testing and music research for radio stations. And then was tapped to basically figure out, hey, we've got all these radio stations. We got 1200 radio stations that came together under Clear Channel , which is now the predecessor for iHeart. What do we do with them? And so I learned digital really quick overnight, and I learned ad tech and I learned how to use ad servers. And when they first came to me and said, oh, we want you to run ad traffic, I'm like, you mean the place where we hide those people that work for accounting and they hide them underneath the stairs?

JAG: The trolls. 

Mark: Yeah. Like those guys. And like they used to come into the studio with the logbooks and check off what ads played, and they're like no. It's digital, it's different. And it is different. And I used that to really propel my digital career. And I spent 15 years in the digital space in the travel business.

Six years at orbitz.com, running ad ops and marketing operations, and then nine years at Gogo doing the same running content operations. Then the pandemic hits, everything stops. No planes are flying, more planes sitting on the ground than flying. And I lost my job at Gogo, but through the power of networking, I reconnected with an industry colleague who was just appointed CRO of TuneIn.

And he knew me from my travel days in digital, but he didn't know that I had an a background in radio. And that led to an opportunity to do some consulting work. And then in August of last year, I became Vice President of Operations. So I oversee a team that's focused on ad ops, content ops. Customer support for both listeners and broadcasters and it's great.

Working for TuneIn is full circle in my digital audio career. I've never left audio. It's always been there. It's always been something I love. But I grew disenfranchised, like a lot of folks, with the radio business when I left in 2005, I mean that Telecom Act brought me back into the local media, but it changed everything. 

But I don't believe radio's ever died. And I think right now I believe audio is having its renaissance moment. And I think that the future's bright for right radio and audio and I'm really optimistic on where the future is going. 

JAG: You're right, radio's not dead. In fact I'll tell you a quick story.

When I was laid off in my first Clearchannel gig in Burlington, Vermont in 2006, I got a phone call from a Syracuse number. And it's Rick Wright to give me a pep talk. And he very famously said to me, JAG, Radio is not dead. And the way he said it always stuck with me. But obviously there's been a lot of consolidation.

A lot of really talented folks have lost their jobs, particularly at the larger companies right now whose names we won't have to mention here, but what is your perspective on what radio needs to do to really come back in the years to come?

Mark: I think you need to think of radio beyond the typical geography. And the limitations of a tower and a coverage map. I think historically local radio has always thought in those terms. I think radio has evolved beyond the tower and the antenna. Wifi is still radio. I joke that when I was working at Gogo, I was still technically working in radio because we use cellular technology, satellite technology to get a digital signal to an airplane traveling at 500 miles an hour.

At TuneIn we're different. We don't own local radio stations or towers. We don't compete in the local market, but we're a distribution and discovery platform for live streaming and audio and sports and news and music and everything. But we're global. We have 75 million active users. We have over a hundred thousand owned and operated partner radio stations in our directory.

That's amazing when you think about the sheer volume. I find radio stations, this is the fun part of my job. I find the coolest radio stations around the planet because I have access to them. But everyone does. Anyone that has the ability to download our app and explore, can learn about radio and learn about different places.

I think some of the powerful things that come from that is when you move beyond borders and start to think of radio in a different way. I look at some of our partners and the folks that we work with, we're helping them to help monetize and reach audiences in ways they've never thought of before.

I'm working with stations in Mexico City that have big audiences in the United States. Because there's a huge Hispanic population in the US. They are tuning into those radio stations. Unfortunately, they're hearing ads and commercials for products and services that are local to Mexico City. So what we're able to do is take their stream, split that up, and geographically restrict it.

So they control the advertising messages in their local market, but we help them monetize outside of their market. So now they can open up new revenue channels that they've never had before. You can't have a sales team in every part of the globe, but you can with the power of distribution and platforms.

I think radio stations need to all, they need to serve their local market, especially the FCC rules are in place and I think that's critical, but there is such an opportunity for you to think beyond your borders. We have a lot of fun stories. There was a presidential election that was happening in I think like Venezuela or somewhere down in South America, and we saw a huge uptick in listening in New York City, in the New York metro area, and we're looking at our dashboards.

Something’s wrong here. Did someone hack into our system? Turns out there's a huge Venezuealan population in New York that was concerned about what was going on back home and they were tuning in to listen to see what was going on in their local market. So if you start to think about it in that way, the power of audio is just incredible.

That's what I love about what I do now is I'm not tied to a corporate radio company and towers. But we work with all of those corporate radio companies. We partner with them, we help them monetize. And I look at radio as it's evolving. If you're a radio station right now, you need to be thinking about where your distribution is.

You need to be thinking about where you can be heard, because I'm making a prediction. That's just me talking. I believe that the am dial and the AM signal will go away. I think it'll be repurposed for Wi-Fi and connected 5G or whatever. They'll leverage that bandwidth for something else, but it'll still be able to carry radio signals, right?

It'll still be able to stream your audio from anywhere. And the growth of podcasting is just incredible. I'm still overwhelmed. Like people keep saying, oh, you gotta listen to this podcast or watch that podcast. And podcast discovery is a big challenge I think right now. And, like video didn't kill the radio star and I don't think that the Telecom Act killed the radio star. Because those radio stars are showing up in podcasts and they're doing their own thing and they're doing it without restrictions and so I think if you're a radio station right now, it's looking at your distribution.

How do you get into electric cars? How do you get into Tesla and Rivian, who are shipping their vehicles without AM radios? Or in some cases without FM radios. Tesla doesn't even ship with a satellite radio option. So your only choice is internet enabled radio. 

JAG: Wow. I didn't even know that. What is TuneIn doing in the podcast space versus the radio space?

Mark: So around the discovery piece is something that we're really focused on. What do I listen to? Oh, I like true crime. I like this, I like sports, but what do I listen to? And so I think giving people some samples, we're starting some 24x7 podcast channels, which is pretty exciting. We're working with Bleav and a few others in that space to put some stuff out there that's different.

But then we're also taking a lot of stuff, like if we came up with a true Crime 24 7 channel, you'd have a bunch of different podcasters from different places, so people get a sample of what to listen to, and they might say, oh, I really that guy and that podcast, or, oh, I really like the partnership over here.

I listen to a podcast out of Hawaii. It's the Ghost Lore of Hawaii. . It's one I enjoy and I've got I actually connected with the host of that show and loved the podcast. But that's a great example of the power of this medium is that those hosts are accessible. They're all on social media and you can ask questions and so the interactive model is still there, but I think the biggest challenge is discovery.

How can TuneIn as a company help people decide what they wanna listen to? 

JAG: My wife and I are obsessed with Hawaii. We've only been there three times, and I know you've got a house out there. One of these times you and I will meet up in the Rainbow state for sure. 

Mark: Big fan of the big island. That's our place. 

JAG: So Mark, you talked about content and really content being the king, and that really comes back to a lesson that I think we all learned at WJPZ, right? 

Mark: Absolutely. I look at some of the morning show folks that were there in my era. And what they're doing now, and some of them are doing some amazing work in different industries.

But. I think what really sets WJ PZ apart, and I was thinking about this today. I have the best thoughts in the shower. That's where my best ideas come from. 

JAG: You're not the first guest to say that.

Mark: But I was in the shower and it sparked to me, Everyone from WJPZ is not only just a Syracuse alum, they're part of our big orange radio family, but, I would like to point out that our alums aren't always from Newhouse.

We attract students from the legal school, from the business school, from Whitman, from different parts of the university, engineering. And I think that's the piece that makes that dynamic interesting because not everyone is there to go become that next sportscaster. Some people are just very interested in media from a different angle, and I remember several students that we had during my era that were in the engineering school and then we're also the engineers at the radio station cuz they got some practice and they got some real world experience.

But back to that content thing, I think that learning how important content is to the consumer and learning what it is to create a product is not something that a lot of people have that opportunity. You have the textbook examples of how products are made and created, but to actually do that in a real world situation is something that is very unique to WJPZ.

And I do wanna point out that Z 89 alums have infiltrated the SU Alumni Association. So you've got Chris Velardi, who's now employed by the University Alumni office. He serves as director, I think, of digital entertainment or engagement and communications. But I spent 10 years as a director in the SU Alumni Association.

My wife and I actually used to host a new student sendoff for all the students going in the fall to Syracuse from the Chicago area. Don't quote me on this, but I might have been one of the first Z 89 alums to become president of the National Alumni Association. 

JAG: Yeah, the Syracuse University Alumni Association, in the larger group.

Mark: Yeah. And I served as a member of the Board of Trustees. During my tenure there, Ryan McNaughton, who I recruited to the board, now serves as the current president of the Alumni Association. And get this. The next President-elect is Peter Gianesini, class of 94. Who's major market big shot over at ESPN. And Peter and I get to work together because professionally. TuneIn and ESPN have a partnership.

So we get to talk every now and then. I also get to work, and this is the best part of being in this business. I get to work with other big shots like Howard Deneroff at Westwood One Sports. So it's not just the Newhouse Mafia and the WJPZ family that we talk about, but. It's amazing walking into a meeting sometimes with SU and WJPZ alumni sitting across the table from you and then your coworkers like, oh, do you know all these people?

And it's yeah, we went to school together. Even if we didn't go to school at the same time, we're all like friends and colleagues and we all have that connection. So SU has been the center. It's been a huge part of my life. My wife is a fellow SU alum. She was not a JPZer, but she certainly tolerates the craziness of the Z89 alums.

JAG: So did you meet her at school or later? 

Mark: So we met in Chicago. So I moved to Chicago. I didn't know anyone, and I was like, all right, they have an alumni association here and they have an alumni club. So I reached out and my wife was the social chair of the alumni club. And I was supposed to RSVP for, they were doing like an annual dinner, having some alums speak at the dinner.

And I was supposed to RSVP and I did, but I forgot to check whether I wanted chicken or beef and she had to call me. And that conversation turned from checking what meal I wanted, to an hour long conversation and we're like, we knew all the same people. So it's funny, we knew all the same people.

We graduated the same year, but we didn't actually meet at Syracuse. We met after Syracuse. 

JAG: Oh, wow. That's a great story. Before we wrap up, Mark, you've, you've already answered all the questions I was gonna ask you except one, which is, give me a funny story that you remember from your time at the station.

Mark: Oh my God. So many funny stories. On the morning show, we would have a sober awareness or a drunk intoxication awareness thing. And I remember this time that I think it was Goofy Betty and Kid Michael Rock, and there may have been a few others. They were all 21. They were all drinking age and they had a bartender that was getting them drunk.

And then they actually did this whole safety thing of why. And we had the sheriff's department there, so it was funny, but it was also educational at the same time. But they were just out of control. And I think the other thing that I think about too is just that connection. We worked hard, we played hard. And so even though we were doing an educational thing, we had fun at the same time.

I look at Z89 as my first fraternity. I was in a fraternity at Syracuse. Z89 was definitely my first. And the 507 parties were legendary. There was this time that we stole a 93Q banner from the New York State Fair . And it became a slip and slide at 507 University Avenue. And those, I thought those parties were more wild than the fraternity parties, but it was a team of like-minded media folks and we just liked to have fun and we worked hard.

I remember working through breaks and even though I was local, I didn't travel much, but a lot of people stayed back for breaks. And I remember there was one year I had Big Daddy and Neon Dion at my house for Thanksgiving or for Christmas, one year. And it was just a blast, like making those connections and lifelong friends. It's just incredible. 

JAG: That 507 University house has come up a couple times in the podcast that was like passed down throughout the years from various students to others, right?

Mark: It was, and then I think they ended up tearing the building down or the lease got, something happened and that era ended.

But for a number of years, the 507 parties were like the place to be. So it was like non-radical folk could get in if you knew the secret handshake. 

JAG: Yeah. You had to know somebody at the station. 

Mark: You had to know someone at the station. But it wasn't like it was open like a fraternity party.

It wasn't open to everyone, and it was off campus too. It wasn't regulated. One year they had a what do you call it? One of those super soakers filled with liquor and oh, it was just a mess. But the fact that we would do the crazy stuff, like just a lot of those stunting antics that I don't think radio does as much anymore cuz it's probably illegal.

But, taking 93Q'S banner from the state fair, this giant long... it ran, I think around the track and it was at night. And I think that, I don't know who grabbed it, but someone managed to get it into the station van and took it home and whatever. And it was great.

JAG: These have been some incredible stories. It's been fun taking a trip down memory lane with you, Mark, and hearing about how your time at the station really did prepare you and what you learned there. To have this amazing career into radio, into digital, which, we saw them merge over the last 20 or so years. It's been really interesting to hear your perspective on it. 

Mark: It's been great to watch it evolve, right? Coming from a more traditional media background, even being away from radio for as long as I had. Coming back to the audio business, it's like riding a bicycle. You don't forget. And I think one of the great lessons that came from my time at Z 89 and carried into my radio career, and even beyond is, you learn how to be scrappy and resourceful.

You know at a student run college radio station, you're operating on thin margins as it is. And even though we made some money from sponsorships, it was enough to keep the lights on and cover basic expenses. So we had to learn to do more with less and we had to be creative. And so I think that those types of skills are critical in business because, and just cuz you have a budget doesn't mean you blow through it.

So I think radio has always been scrappy and resourceful even when I was working professionally in radio. But I think that lesson has carried throughout business for me. 

JAG: Mark Verone class of 95. Appreciate you coming on the podcast. We'll talk to you soon and hopefully see you in March.

Mark: Sounds good. Thanks Jag.