Interview and Photo by Jason Setnyk
Cornwall, Ontario – Over the airwaves, where music is the lifeblood and DJs the guiding stars, few have etched their names into the annals of local radio history quite like Darryl Adams. As the Music Director of Boom 101.9 in Cornwall, Ontario, Darryl plays a pivotal role in curating the soul-stirring tunes that grace the airwaves 24/7. However, his journey into the heart of broadcasting started with a humble yet serendipitous beginning.
Darryl’s passion for radio was ignited at a young age. Born in Winnipeg, where his father graduated from medical school, Adams would grow up in Sault Ste. Marie, where his dad opened up his medical practice. Just shy of his 19th birthday, he landed his first gig at a local radio station in Sault Ste. Marie. Here, the young Adams was first exposed to the enchanting world of broadcasting. From the harmonious symphony of songs to the artistry of commercials and jingles, Darryl was spellbound by the magic of the medium. More than anything, he was captivated by the phenomenon of Radio DJs who, through their charismatic voices and impeccable song choices, had become local celebrities and community pillars.
One fateful day, a departing Radio DJ, who was leaving for a more lucrative career, gave Darryl a nudge in the right direction. With a gentle push toward a part-time position that had just opened up, Darryl embarked on a journey that would change his life forever. This opportunity seemed almost destined, as he had no prior experience in the field. Yet, Darryl’s passion and enthusiasm shone brightly during his voice audition, catching the attention of the Program Director, who wasted no time in offering him a weekend on-air position.
From that moment on, Darryl Adams was hooked. He dove headfirst into the world of radio, eagerly soaking up every bit of knowledge and experience that came his way. Over the years, his dedication and hard work paid off as he climbed the ranks and honed his skills, becoming a master of his craft.
Fast forward to today, and Darryl holds the coveted position of Music Director at Boom 101.9, a station that proudly adheres to a unique and groovy philosophy. Their mission? To serve the top hits from three iconic decades of music – the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Its mission resonates with music lovers of all ages and brings a timeless quality to the airwaves.
But what exactly does a Music Director do? For Darryl, it’s not just about picking tracks and hitting play. It’s a meticulous process that involves what he calls “auditorium testing.” This consists of gathering diverse music enthusiasts into a room and presenting songs for them to listen to and rate. The result is a treasure trove of data, each song’s popularity distilled into numbers and preferences. This valuable information is then meticulously categorized using advanced music scheduler software. Rules are established to determine how frequently each category of songs should be played, thus creating a dynamic and engaging playlist. This intricate system culminates in creating a daily music log that ensures the station delivers a perfectly balanced, era-spanning, and tempo-logical musical experience to its listeners.
For Darryl, the role goes beyond mere data crunching. It’s about ensuring that the songs played are popular and upbeat, fitting perfectly into the station’s signature sound. It’s about spacing the eras just right, creating a nostalgic journey through time with every track. It’s about maintaining the tempo logic so the music flows seamlessly, setting the mood and rhythm for the day.
Five Questions with The Seeker
1 – Can you discuss any unique or creative elements you bring to your shows?
“I am a big supporter of community initiatives, service clubs, and many non-profit organizations, which I reflect on my show. I peppered each show with some humor with crazy and odd stories across the internet. Most importantly, I strive to stay topical with the audience demo 35-64. It’s the mothers & fathers and the grandparents who we appeal to injecting entertainment.”
2 – Can you discuss any memorable moments or experiences you’ve had on the air?
“I can remember back on my 20th birthday working the overnight show. I was reading the weather over the air when a fellow radio broadcaster came up behind me with a bucket of snow. The forecast read cloudy with a few flurries. At that point, I felt light sprinkles of wetness on my back. I went on to read, “Snow is becoming heavy later today.” That’s when the whole bucket came down on my head. Another memorable moment has to be the ice storm of ’98. This was a priceless time when we all came together for a common cause, and it bonded our relationship among each other.”
3 – How do you stay current and informed on the latest music and trends?
“This is almost like a trick question! Even though our radio station appeals to an older audience, which I may add is becoming the largest section of the population in Cornwall, I still like to find out what the tastes of the younger generation are like because all that new music eventually becomes entrenched in our society. The internet is a huge information machine, and availing yourself helps me stay in the game with up-to-date info and trends. Working with Boom 101.9 and the greatest hits format, you take the information and relate it to the audience you’re appealing to. We’re in the entertainment business, and I try to have fun whenever I open the microphone.”
4 – Can you discuss how technology has impacted radio broadcasting and how you’ve adapted to these changes?
“I think keeping an open mind to learning how to do things differently keeps you there. I’ve been in the broadcast industry for 45 years. I’ve learned every aspect of the business. You always need to do more than one job in this industry. I believe that’s how I’ve survived all these years by being multi-faceted. Not only do I do a 5-hour radio show daily, but I also host an all-70s Sunday morning show, I am the music director, and I create the on-air schedules for the announcers, as well as help organize “On Location” remotes for everyone. Doing all these other things keeps you in the game.”
5 – How do you envision the future of radio, and what role do you see yourself playing in it?
“Radio is local, radio is free, radio is now intrusive. You can have us in the background while you are doing other things. How often have they signaled the death of radio because of the advent of television, cassette tapes, CDs, Spotify, etc., only to find out that it has come out strong through every paradigm shift? I love this industry and will be around until I’ve become irrelevant. I always say, “It’s the power of radio” that connects our listeners to Cornwall businesses. It’s all about living and making friends all the time. You never let up. You live and breathe the community you live in.”