Photo copyright Austin Prime, 2012.
RICHMOND, Va. – Sitting in his bedroom studio in a t-shirt and pajama pants, Austin “Prime” Moore lives the life many dream of – working a job, building a network and creating a brand without leaving the comfort of his home.
It took many hours of hard work and self-learning to get Prime to where he is now. Not only did he break into the radio business at the age of 12 on a small Internet radio station but he also landed a big-time job at Clear Channel Communications at 16 – two years under the minimum age requirement.
Austin “Prime” Moore was not always known simply as Austin Prime. He experienced what some call an epidemic in America – online harassment and bullying – that resulted in the nickname “Prime.”
“Someone found my last name and where I lived and they were calling my cell phone and texting me all the time. It was freaky. Changing my last name to Prime just stuck. Prime is like ‘the best, number one,’ so that’s how I did it. Everyone had stupid last names back in the day so I figured I’d just do this.”
Jasmine Flowers, a longtime coworker of Prime’s, said he is a hard worker and very professional. “He’s a go-getter. He doesn’t wait for opportunities to happen, he creates [opportunities].”
Many of Prime’s coworkers and friends share the same sentiment. In 2009, Prime’s second Internet radio show, The Prime Krew, was a three-year excursion in which Prime and two co-hosts were able to interview some big name celebrities, including Damien Fahey of MTV fame.
Greg Simpson, a long time friend and coworker, holds a high opinion of Prime. “My impression of him has grown in the time I have known him. I think he’s a very determined person, I think this idea that he has of being involved in media is something he’s had for a very long time.”
Between taking classes at John Tyler Community College, interviewing artists for his current Internet radio show and booking events for his mobile DJ business, Austin Prime is just as busy as the rest of the working professional world. There is just one gaping difference between Austin Prime and everyone else – he is only 20 years old.
Prime’s latest show, The Weekend Show, of which Prime is the only host, is about two hours long and can be heard on about 20 different Internet radio stations on Saturdays and Sundays. Recently Prime interviewed Jeffree Star, a singer-songwriter from Los Angeles known for his outlandish transgender outfits, makeup and fashion line. Most recently though, with the addition of The Weekend Show, Prime has gained several thousand Twitter followers, bringing his follower count up to over 28,000 – a number reached by many well-known journalists and successful radio hosts.
Prime has become more and more popular since the debut of his first Internet radio show in 2004. In 2011, Prime was a finalist for a Shorty Award in the “brand” category, losing only to Sesame Street. The Shorty Awards honor the best of Twitter and other social media networks in a variety of different categories. Anyone is eligible to be in the running – all it takes is peer voting for individuals, businesses and brands to be nominated.
“I went up to New York [for the Shorty Awards] and there were about five other people from Richmond there, so it was kind of crazy…The Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote an article about it [with me included].”
The Times-Dispatch article featured the other Richmond natives who attended the event, but added that Prime is a “teen multimedia whiz.”
As a multimedia whiz, Prime has also added being a mobile DJ and voiceovers to his resume. He does a lot of school dances and Girl Scout functions and is always looking to expand his client base.
“The school things are fun but they’re less pay because schools have no money. I’d rather have fun – I’m still making way more money than I do at the radio station,” he said.
Voiceovers, although hard to advertise for, are something that Prime enjoys doing. He has built his client base through a website called Fiver that sells voiceovers for just $5.
“[People who do voiceovers can make about $100 for 30 seconds] so I’m ripping myself off big time, but at the same time I’m getting a client base so it’s hard to advertise for that,” said Prime.
As a part-time student and full-time multimedia enthusiast, Prime spends his days running from class to work to his home studio and back again.
Clayton Hall, Prime’s boyfriend, said Prime is very smart and loves what he does. “He’s a very hard worker and he’s extremely motivated to do what it takes to succeed,” he said.
Motivation for success is a driving force in Prime’s life. His busiest days happen on days he has to record his radio show in order for Cam Black, his producer, to produce it in time for airing. Prime will advertise for The Weekend Show on his Facebook Page and Twitter account in order to garner more followers and listeners to the show.
Social media plays a large role in how many individuals become celebrities. Prime has become best known from Twitter as opposed to other platforms because it is more open. “Back when I was 17 it was crazy. I had almost 16,000-17,000 followers and everyone in Richmond thought it was so cool. Back then it was a big deal,” he said, and that his recognition is due in large part of shout outs on local radio and overcoming the struggle to build his brand from the ground up.
Social media has taken on a whole new level of influence in the communication industry since Prime started in 2004. Radio is changing and so is how we listen to it. A lot of radio has changed over into Internet radio, but the industry continues to thrive. High definition radio has come into existence, changing the concept of radio and taking it to a whole new level – listeners can now see the weather and artist information right from their radio.
“A lot of people think radio’s dying and that’s kind of funny to me. I can totally see what [people are] saying, but it’s not dying. Cars still come with radios built in; iHeartRadio, an application that Clear Channel owns, is one of the top apps on the App Store under Pandora. It’s not radio waves anymore, but it’s still radio. Radio is never going to die I don’t think,” he said.
Prime is unique in his success at such a young age because he has no formal training in the industry, but has attended several conferences and learns the equipment on his own. “It’s nothing special, just playing around with [the equipment], knowing what you’re doing,” he said.
Prime is able to utilize a variety of equipment for all of his endeavors. At Clear Channel Radio, that owns Q94 and an abundance of other stations, Prime is the board operator, meaning that he essentially runs a radio show that airs on 102.1 the X.
In his home studio, Prime makes use of “an audio mixer; a nice microphone – the Shure SM7 – very nice, a lot of radio stations use it; that’s pretty much it,” but as far as DJ equipment, he simply said, “that’s a lot.”
“In radio he’s energetic, intelligent and in the know. He always wants to succeed,” said Lacey Morlan, who has known Prime for about five years. She and Prime became acquaintances back when Prime was first starting out in radio.
Prime has certainly succeeded – he has held multiple jobs in the radio and multimedia industry and has big plans for the future. “I’d like to do marketing and work with small businesses and have horrible benefits and do social media. But as far as working radio full time, probably never going to do that. Social media would be cool,” said Prime.
It seems Prime is a kind of superman when it comes to multimedia. Prime seemingly already has a firm grip on how the industry works – radio and social media might evolve but the basics are never going to change.
“It’s the way of the future…Who calls on a cell phone anymore? Let’s be honest. It’s a text message or a tweet or a Facebook message,” he said.
Many people hold a high opinion of Prime, the way Prime has a high opinion of those in the media industry. “I really like this guy named Mo’Bounce in New York City. There are a lot of people I listen to in order to learn from, but he’s kind of my radio idol I guess you could say. He’s pretty awesome,” said Prime.
Similarly, many think highly of Prime, his success at a young age and his outgoing personality that allows him to be so recognizable. “He’s one of those people you always want around. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear, he tells you what’s real,” said Flowers.
Prime has built his brand entirely on his own. His advice for those trying to break in to the industry is to not give up and keep asking questions. “Just go for it, that’s what I say. Just keep putting yourself out there and keep trying. Save your money and spend it on things you need,” he said.
His home studio equipment is a direct result of working hard and saving money. Prime encourages people to just “keep going from there,” because the media industry can be a difficult industry to get your start in.
“Watch what you say, be careful what you post,” said Prime, on the best media advice given to him. “People say things are posted to the Internet and it’s there forever. I agree with that in some ways, some ways not.”
The best thing for Prime in the future is to just keep doing what he is already so knowledgeable about, continue his influence on Twitter and to just be himself.
“He oozes personality – I don’t think there’s anyone that when they meet him would be turned off by him – he’s one of those kind of personalities that people want to be involved with and he’s very engaging as far as his personality and he really does look for the best in other people,” said Simpson.
Austin “Prime” Moore may be young at just 20, but Prime has taken the multimedia industry by the ears. With three Internet radio shows under his belt, two professional careers and a college degree in progress, Austin Prime has seen more success than many and a bright future ahead.
Austin “Prime” Moore homepage
The Prime Krew Wikipedia
The Weekend Show
@AustinPrime on Twitter
Austin Prime on Facebook (Page)
[Photo from Austin Prime Facebook Page]
Clear Channel Communications website