Colby Tyner, SVP of Programming for Radio One and Reach Media, Explains Radio’s Shift Over the Last Two Decades
Interview: Bianca Torres
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.
The way people consume music has changed over the last 20 years. Colby Tyner witnessed the shift firsthand over the two-plus decades he’s put into the game. The Philadelphia native first got his start in the business around his freshman year at Temple University as an intern at Power 99 radio station in his hometown. He worked his way up the ladder and eventually landed a position as the Assistant Program Director, producing Wendy Williams’ The Dream Team and spending 15 years at the station.
In 2002, Colby moved to New York City to help launch the famed Power 105.1 as the Music Director and worked there for five-and-a-half years. By 2009, he moved to Ohio and became the Operations Manager for Cleveland’s WENZ, WZAK, WERE and WJMO. Five years later, Colby moved up in rank as Vice President of Programming at Urban One and this past January, became the SVP of Programming for Radio One and Reach Media. He also hosts a podcast, Backstory with Colby Colb, where he airs old interviews he’s done with artists such as Jay-Z, Kanye West, Fat Joe, Wu-Tang Clan and more. Here, the radio vet offers several gems he’s picked up along the way.
On The Shift In Radio Over The Last 20 Years
Definitely digital. People have so much access to content now. You have this phone with access not just to radio but other things. People listen to radio differently. They listen at home on smart speakers. Smart speakers allow you to get any radio station you want. If you’re from California and living in New York, if you wanna get that California experience, boom, you listen to your favorite station in California.
On Metrics To Decide What Music Gets Airtime
What’s brilliant about the time that we are living in is technology has allowed different resources whereas in the past you would wait for people to call the station and say, “Hey, I wanna hear a song.” Now, when an album comes out, you could look at the singles people stream. It’s hard to miss.
On Advice For Aspiring Radio Executives
I would tell people to get a good night’s sleep because the job has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. You have to be aware and alert to things that are happening around not just your community but around the world. You want to make sure you’re a proper resource of information to your audience. You want to [be] able to lead and direct the team around you.
Read the cover story with Playboi Carti and check out the other interviews in the magazine with Fivio Foreign, Latto, DaBaby, Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J, Joey Bada$$, Denzel Curry, Hit-Boy, Big K.R.I.T., RZA, Saba, Morray, Kali, Sleepy Hallow, Nardo Wick, ATL Jacob, SSGKobe, Pink Sweat$, Saucy Santana and Angie Randisi in the new issue of XXL magazine, which is on newsstands now and in XXL's online shop.