Zach Sang is a rising radio and multi-media star. Find out how he turned an internet radio station in his bedroom at fourteen into a seventy-plus station syndication at twenty three.
R: What is this I hear about you starting a radio show in your bedroom when you were…?
Z: …14 years old in my bedroom! Internet was very much a thing. YouTube was just starting to emerge. When I was ten, eleven and twelve, I was a party DJ. I would go around with my friend Nick and party DJ all the Catholic schools and graduation dances. I was obsessed with local news on WPLJ in New Jersey and with Al Roker. When I combined party DJ-ing with my obsession with Al Roker, radio happened for me.
R: Did you get an audience?
Z: Yeah, we had a decent-sized audience. Interviews were our thing. I was infatuated with the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon when I was growing up. So I went after the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon stars. All the interviews were phone interviews, but they were hour-long interviews. I interviewed people who were on Hannah Montana and iCarly at the time.
R: How big of a role do interviews play in your show now?
Z: Everyone knows the PPM rule – when you play interviews, people tune out. But, we air them conservatively; you don’t get the full interview. When we get a guest that comes into the studio now, they come in for like an hour or thirty minutes. We do a full conversation. It lives in its entirety online, and fans really enjoy it. We cut it up to air on FM appropriately. Our digital side, which is our YouTube channel, is all interviews.
R: There are two approaches to interviews. One school of thought is to do a ton of prep and research so you know everything about the person, their book, movie, or music, and the other is to be curious and be a good listener.
Z: Exactly! I am incredibly curious about anything and anyone. When I sit down with someone like Sabrina Carpenter – she’s a Disney channel star- I am very curious about who she is personally, her dynamics, and how she lives, If you lead with a curiosity, it’s always going to work out. Also, comfort is king when you’re doing an interview. Where’s the eye line? Are they distracted? What else is going on in the room? What is the temp? Are the lights too bright? Everything matters.
R: We both believe Howard Stern is one of the greatest interviewers. Do you think that’s because he makes people comfortable in his space?
Z: It’s everything! The guests have a couch to lay on, they don’t have a mic in front of their face, and they have a head set on. Everything matters.
R: Actively living life is great show prep.
Z: I’ve gone into modes where I don’t live life. I get re-reminded that this radio show is a living, breathing beast; it has a pulse; it needs to be fed. The food I give it is content, and the content is from my own life.
I’m 23 years old, and I’m a virgin. I’m not open about my sexuality, but I am open about all my experiences in the dating world.
R: Ryan Seacrest was ambiguous about his sexuality when we worked together. That creates a mystique around your character.
Z: There’s a mystique, yes, but at the end of the day it’s proving a point. I go like to go deep into what my struggles are, and the fact that I’m not comfortable with myself. And that’s why I am a virgin.