Your educational and professional background is very interesting. Did you enter the Air Force Academy right after high school? Yes. I got an appointment, which to attend a military academy, you have to secure from a congressman or senator. I went there in 1994 and graduated in 1998.
Can you tell us a little about your experience there? It’s an immersive four years of leadership training and military history training. Obviously it’s a pretty intense academic curriculum, military curriculum and athletic curriculum. It’s a long four years. That’s the best way to put it.
After that, did you go right into radio? No, when you graduate from a military academy, you have a minimum amount of service commitment in that branch of the service. When you graduate from the Air Force academy, you have a five-year minimum active duty commitment in the Air Force. You become an Air Force officer, so I became a Second Lieutenant, and then I went into a very unique career field for the next five years, which was the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, known as AFOSI. It’s essentially the Air Force’s version of NCIS. I was a special agent, authorized to investigate all felony level crimes for the Department of Defense and was also authorized to do counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism investigations of behalf of the Department of Defense and the Air Force. For the next five years, up until I was a captain, that’s what I did – mostly counter-intelligence work, and felony level investigative work. I chased bad guys around for quite a long time.
What came next? When my commitment was done, I wanted to go into business for myself. Essentially, I wanted to be an entrepreneur. And of all of the things I looked at and contemplated, media seemed to be something I was most attracted to, and of all of the media, I thought radio was the most interesting and dynamic. It kind of married up my love of business with my love of music and with my love of communication and persuasion. In my late 20s, I formed the Bold Gold Media Group, and in 2005 the company made its first acquisition of radio stations.
What do you enjoy about it most? There are so many things. It’s never boring. Every day is a brand new interesting day that presents interesting challenges. In radio, you’re involved in multiple industries at the same time. You’re in the music and communications world, you’re in the promotions world, and you’re in marketing and advertising. They’re their own kinds of fields, and they all kind of come together in radio. Good radio stations are really a reflection of the communities that you’re in, and what I like about doing radio in Northeast PA is creating local content that is interesting to local people. We define radio at Bold Gold as “What happens between the music.” You’re there to create an engaging, relevant, real time live and local experience for the community that you’re in. And that’s a fun and tall order to do and to accomplish every day. It never gets boring.
What do you like to do in your free time? I’m a huge history buff. I love American history and do a lot of reading about great leaders from American history.
Favorite music? The Beatles. I grew up with my dad’s Beatles records. I remember just laying on my bed, playing them until they almost wore out, and just looking at the back of the albums, and looking at the lyrics and looking at the photos. My dad would point things out to me, such as the recording techniques that George Martin used in the studio, and how they did great mixes, and a bass-line that Paul McCartney was playing. He taught me, very young, to be able to isolate the different instruments. I kind of grew up in his recording studio, as a kid, learning how to write, produce and perform music. There is no question that my love of music came from my dad. I still do a lot of writing.”
Favorite color? Black.
First car? A 1982 Black Fiat Spider.
Favorite vacation spot? Periodically, mostly for business, I get to Arizona. I love Arizona.
Favorite thing about NEPA? Lake Wallenpaupack.
Favorite food? Seafood.
All-time favorite movie? Nightshift.
All-time favorite TV show? Happy Days.
Favorite quote? “Freedom lies in being bold.” – Robert Frost
Favorite holiday? Thanksgiving.
Guilty pleasure? Scotch.
What might surprise even your friends? I have my Air Force jump wings, for completing Air Force jump school. I did five freefalls.
Proudest moment? Being commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force. I wanted to go in the military principally for the reason of just serving my country and to take the oath to defend the constitution, and to have that kind of trust bestowed upon you as officer is one of those moments where you just feel really good.”
Alan K. Stout has covered rock and pop music in Northeastern Pennsylvania since 1992. His weekly radio show, “Music On The Menu,” airs every Sunday from 9-10 p.m. on 105 The River.