Welcome to Part II of our iHeartRadio guest experience series. This time, we sat down with iHeartRadio’s Christine Flipse, Senior Manager of National Entertainment, to get some insight into her experience working her way through the company, coordinating national events, and working with Lady Gaga. Brush up on Part I here.
Q: Give us some background about your role and how you started with the company.
I’ve been with the company for 9.5 years, since before it became iHeartMedia, back when it was still Clear Channel Radio. I started as a promotions assistant at Z100, then worked for all five New York radio stations at the time. In 2011, after our first iHeartRadio Music Festival, I started working for Darren Pfeffer [SVP, Music & Entertainment], became a coordinator, manager and now a senior manager. Our team produces all of the national events for iHeartRadio such as the iHeartRadio Music Festival, iHeartCountry Festival, iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina, as well as all the B2B and internal events for iHeartMedia such as activations at the Cannes Lions Festival and SXSW, and a lot of other events. I produce all the events in the iHeartRadio Theater in TriBeCa as well as managing travel and fulfillment for all of our major events.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about the job?
I love watching our events come to life. Working on this team and knowing how much work goes into each event, being an integral part of pulling off something like the iHeartRadio Music Festival is huge. I love seeing everyone work together to make our events a success.
Q: What, to you, defines a successful event?
There are always going to be challenges and bumps in the road leading up to an event, but if everyone walks away from it at the end and feels like it was a great experience, then that’s a successful event. Whether you’re in the audience or the artist on stage or the executive producer or a stage hand, no matter who you are, if you walk away feeling like “that was great”, then you have a successful event.
Q: I’m sure you meet a lot of big names through your job – who has been your favorite?
I think Paul McCartney because, come on, he’s Paul McCartney! I’m a huge fan of Lady Gaga and working with her is incredible because she is so involved with the creative aspect of her performances. It’s amazing to see how involved she is during rehearsal – you’ll see her tweak the angle of the piano herself until it’s perfect, that’s how invested she is. One of the most exciting moments for me was when we had the Foo Fighters at the iHeartRadio Theater in LA. I was able to watch Taylor Hawkins as he listening to his drum track from soundcheck, correcting things in his mind and making sure he sounded the way he wanted to. You don’t think of someone that big doing that. It’s great realizing that these people are people just like you and me and they need to practice and prepare. They don’t just get up there and do it, there’s a lot of hard work on their end.
Q: What’s the best thing you could hear from a guest about one of your events?
We hold contests for our events for people to win a trip there, and a lot of our winners are people who have never been on a plane before, and they otherwise wouldn’t have that type of experience. So when they come back to us and say “You’ve given me the opportunity of a lifetime and it’s an experience I’ll never forget”, that’s so special to me. To give that type of experience to someone who wouldn’t otherwise have it is the greatest.
Q: How do you and your team cope with the stress of an event?
We are really in it together, our team is very much like a family. We pick each other up when we’re down and we celebrate each other’s successes. This is not a standard nine-to-five desk job where you come in , do your work, and leave. We eat more meals together with our coworkers than our families some weeks. Being there for each other and having each other’s back helps us get through it. We also often work out together, whether it’s a run or a SoulCycle class, to help us clear our minds and not just talk about work 24/7.
Communication is also key. There are so many different aspects that need to come together properly in order for the event to be a success and there is a lot of overlap between teams – the sponsorships being incorporated into the backstage areas or party spaces, the number of credentials lining up with the number of tickets, the stage call times working with the backstage artist “move times” – everyone needs to be on the same page.
Q: What is one of the most rewarding moments of your job?
My favorite part of an event is to go out into the house and stand in the arena and just look out while everyone is having an amazing time, knowing that I helped get them there. I try to make it a point at every iHeartRadio Jingle Ball stop to go out and do just that. The iHeartRadio Jingle Ball is a 12 city concert tour every December. It’s one of our busiest times of the year so taking a moment to be reminded of why we’re doing what we’re doing gives you energy to get through it.
Q: Speaking of people having an amazing time, you’ve seen so many live shows. Which artists have the most excited crowds?
The Backstreet Boys were huge. They make full grown women act like tweens again. Like professional, marketing geniuses become children again. I mean, of course Bieber comes on stage and gets an amazing response, the girls go crazy, but seeing the adults react like that is the best.
Q: What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow your career path?
Work hard. Really hard. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, to start low and work your way up. If you have the motivation and the drive and love what you’re doing, it’ll show. When I started as a promotions assistant, it wasn’t even in my mind that I’d end up here. iHeartRadio wasn’t even a thing yet, and I’ve been part of the whole ride and I’ve seen it through and now I’m a member of this great team. Take any opportunity and make it everything you can. Work hard from wherever you are and be passionate. Those are the most important things. Everything else can be learned.