SanDiegoRadio Spotlight - November 2015

By Joe Nelson
   The November 2015 SanDiegoRadio Spotlight features Ernie Martinez of iHeart Media San Diego.

Ernie, thank you for your time...

What is your current position?
   Producer, Senior Reporter, Host and anchor (Dave & Jeff on XTRA 1360 FOX Sports San Diego, KOGO 600 & 101.5 KGB FM. ROCK 105.3) I have made appearances on 9.33, Star 94..1 and KISS FM 95.7...and creator of creative graphics.

How are things with you right now? Life, work…..
   Life is quite busy. Husband, father of two as well as job roles. A producer job is ongoing...because sports is ongoing. The goal is staying on top of today's, tomorrow's and yesterday's stories. And with our radio team we are always thinking of the best way to deliver and utilize these stories in an informative and entertaining manner to our fantastic listeners. Stories and headlines always play a segment on the Show some how and some way.

Do you have anything you’d like to talk about? Such as stories from radio?
   My first day in professional radio was December 25th 1988. There have been numerous stories...and fortunately for me mostly great and good because the people I have had the pleasure and honor to work along side of have made for some memorable moments and friendships.
a couple that come to mind? At this moment a story I have told on occasion to young professionals, from the "Always be prepared Department" I was fortunate to make the quick jump from college radio to paid radio and then a 5K Watt station to a 77K Watt station (The Mighty 690)...I was on my first shift and moments away from my first sports update...when I asked Brad Cesmat for some advice....he said, "No worries there's just about 250-thousand people listening to you...have a good shift!"...I got real freaked. I cracked the mic to greet those 250K...and a million butterflies came flying out of my mouth...I dropped my copy all over the floor while on the air...and the board engineer Chris Kinoshita went to break and spared what I had left...I'd like to think things got better from there.

San Diego… What is your favorite place to visit?
   My favorite place to visit? parks anywhere any time...with family and friends!

Is your job still as exciting like it was day one?
   Yes. The industry has changed yet not what it once was...but neither are the Padres and the Chargers (this year), but I still love them! As mentioned, I have been fortunate to work with some great people...and no better time than the current time. I had always wanted to work with Dave Palet and Jeff Dotseth and so I am enjoying every moment of that right now. Yes, and Herm Gasaway!

Having the opportunity to work with Bob and Coe (101 KGB) and BIG Jon has been loads of fun and laughter and I have learned a lot. Most recently I have learned a ton about an all news format working with KOGO professionals morning team. Ted Garcia, LaDona Harvey, George Chamberlin, Mike Usher, Jeremy Pfouts & Joshua Baldilocks Lipton.

Where is your favorite place to go out and eat?
   My mom's kitchen when she makes my favorite all time food her tostadas with mexican rice are fantastic! I love sushi! Any place that has an all you can eat special...I'm in! That also goes for a good hamburger, pizza and mexican food place!

What are some facts about you that maybe no one knows, but could be interesting?
   I love Doo Wop music! For me the the sappy innocent yet nonsensical rhyming lyrics of young love and romance just pulls at my musical heart strings. My favorite song of all time, Dion and the Belmonts, "I Wonder Why" (1958). I really enjoy all kinds of music and my iPod is proof. Music is memory and creative genius.

How do you view radio now, compared to the past, then looking to the future?
   Unfortunately computers have replaced people. People have personalities, feelings and character...computers don't. Technology will continue to grow and working staffs will continue to diminish.

How vital is the connection between an on-air personality and the listener?
   Huge! without listeners we're out of work. There has never been a better connection from on air talents to listeners than ever before due to social media and applications that allow people all over the world to listen to your show. Unfortunately there is still no true way to use this to the benefits in ratings which ultimately determines how a show is doing. Yet it allows radio shows to connect with it's audience.

What is your favorite movie?
   One movie? Man Joe! I would have to say the first Star Wars...I was truly amazed by it all.

With Social Media being so prevalent, tell me the advantages of using FB, Instagram, Twitter to connect with your listeners
   I have mentioned the benefits...yet unlike in the past the results and feedback from what you did on the air wasn't so quick. Before, time would pass before someone would say, "I heard you on the air today and you messed up" they just facebook or tweet you and tell instantly.

What is your favorite radio moment?
   Cinco de Mayo 1988. I did my first college radio show (Palomar Junior College KKSM)...and I knew I had just done what I had wanted to do for years!

How long have you been in radio?
   First professional day December 25, 1988. 1450 - KOWA "The Cow" Escondido, CA. Second story at the Vineyard Mall...behind a huge window where everyone could see you.

What is the most interesting job you’ve ever had?
   I was Chuck E. Cheese the mouse. Talk about stories. Biggest one was the day my head fell off in front of a girl celebrating her second birthday. There was about 15-20 girls with about 10 moms snapping pictures and my head falls off and I all hear is a little girl shout in a sad voice, "Chuck E's a man" about spoiler alert. I put my head on turned around and walked back into my mouse hole and stayed there until my shift was done.

What broadcasters do you look up to?
   Dave & Jeff. Growing up Art Laboe, Vin Scully, Jerry Coleman and Bob Chandler.

If you could go back in time and work during any era of radio for a few days - which would you choose?
   Baseball the 1950' late 50's to late 60's...I would love to work with the great announcers and disc jockey's of those era's.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
   I love my family!

I like creating things. I love to draw. Started with greeting cards when I was five years old, that lead to my sister and I creating competing family newspapers. From there it went to making my own baseball cards and sports magazines (all hand drawn)...these things have helped build a foundation of what I love to do and have done during my professional life. I'm a radio professional with a graphic design background and vice versa.

I am also a volunteer and a board member for the The Miracle League of San's a wonderful and enjoyable experience that I get to be a part of two times a year as the league announcer.

Thank you for your consideration to allow me to share my story.

Thanks Ernie! Hey that's kinda funny... I too was Chuck E. Cheese! AND my head fell off when I was blindsided by a kid as I was crouched down. Wow.

Thanks for tuning in!


1) Family and I
2) Del Mar Fair 1988 College Radio with Chris James
3) KOW FM-AM Postcard
4) Mighty 690 Chargers Game day sticker (1991)

5) Sports Illustrated article August 3, 1998...I'm the reporter to the far right with the big glasses. I'm also referred to in the article as the reporter who lobs "BIG Mac" a lollipop question.


kjm said…
I went to College with Ernie, good times...

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