Today, many radio listeners are probably unaware that on-air announcers (called DJ’s) once actually programmed their own music. Nowadays, it’s all done by computers and focus groups.
The personalized touch is no longer much in evidence.
Zach voice can be heard all over the world’s first 24-hour, all-sports radio station, where former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason fired the shot that rattled maternity wards around the nation last month.
Yet, his roots are in music.
He’s a classic rock enthusiast and has interviewed countless artists, including two Beatles, Yoko Ono and members of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, according to his official biography.
He’s worked with the legendary Scott Muni at New York’s Q104.3. He’s also just been announced as the new radio voice for Amtrak.
Being from the Jersey Shore and the streets of New York, he knows how to get the point across without having to dance around a topic.
Zach took time out to visit with TheImproper in WFAN’s office in downtown New York City.
IM: You worked closely with radio legend Scott Muni; what can you tell us about him and those times.
Martin: Working with Scott Muni was the best thing that happened to me. Scott and I were a great combination, but it all happened at the right time. Timing is everything. But you have to be prepared for the right time. I always had a vision that I would work with Scott as a kid; my brain made it happen. Scott was a great person and a close friend.
Scott would always put things in perspective. When my mother died, he was the first person I called. I was really upset and could barely speak. He said to me, ‘I lost my mom at 14 years of age…I know how you feel.’ I was in my late 30s, and I was able to pull myself together because he knew what to say.
As far as work, it was a blast. It was the best radio that I ever was part of, and it will be hard to recreate that type of show again. Scott would tell people, ‘You never had it so good.’ He was usually right about that. He was really something else.
IM: Who are some of the other radio-legends that have influenced you?
Martin: Besides Scott, I’d include Dan Ingram and Imus as my big three. I would say that I have borrowed a little bit from each and put my spin on it, thus creating my own personality. Hopefully, I have influenced a few over the years in return.
IM: Tell us how the Amtrak deal happened?
Martin: I was just in the right place at the right time. One of the sales reps here at CBS Radio introduced me to the agency that does the work for Amtrak last year. I did my best, and when it came time to create the latest run, the people at the agency asked me to do them again.
IM: Could this your biggest audience ever?
Martin: I would imagine that millions of listeners have heard the spots. It is by far my biggest accomplishment on the Voiceover side of the business. Hopefully, I will become the voice for more products and companies, but as we all know, the Voiceover-business is really difficult.
IM: Have you heard your voice on there yet?
Martin: Yes, I have heard the commercials-They sound good to me.
IM: What do you think is the biggest problem in radio today?
Martin: The biggest problem in radio is how people use social media. We all understand the problems created by expressive thoughts that have no place on Facebook. You run the risk of losing the opportunity for work. There are some people I would never hire because of their Facebook and Twitter use.
IM: Creative Services Director at WFAN what does that entail?
Martin: My job is to help make the station sound the best it can. I use my talents and skills to do whatever Mark Chernoff, the Program Director of WFAN, asks me to do to the best of my ability. I am available to help facilitate sales, and sometimes I try to provide Business Intelligence to Account Executives that want me to work with them on various projects.
IM: What would be your dream job?
Martin: I would like to be the owner, or be part of the management, of a NASCAR Team. I really like motor-sports and would like to be part of it in a bigger way. That would be a dream come true-I also would love to drive a Cup Car in a 500 race on a track like Martinsville.
Also, I would also love to be the PA Announcer for the Giants, Yankees or Mets. Other than that, it would be a dream come true to be the voice of a major Network, like CBS Television, or the voice of an auto-manufacturer. I love the Dodge Challenger!
IM: Controversy in radio … good or bad?
Martin: Everyone has a different opinion. I am not an expert on this subject, and if I tell you my opinion, I might cause some controversy.
For more about Zach, check out his Web Site, and please help support us by following TheImproper on Twitter.