10 Questions with ... Chris Jackson
August 25, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Started in the lovely overnight weekend position in 2004 at my hometown station, Top 40 KZIA/Cedar Rapids, IA. Within a month landed the night show gig, quickly followed by production duties as the imaging guy and later assisting in the Music Director position. Headed out to KLUC/Las Vegas to do on-air, then across the hall to KXTE/Las Vegas to do on-air & imaging, followed by MD & APD duties, where I've been now for 2 1/2 years.
1. Tell us about switching from custodial arts to a career in radio.
It was great! I went from cleaning toilets and listening to the radio, to using the toilets at my favorite radio station. But still ended up cleaning them after landing my first radio gig. Go figure.
2. What stands out the most from your first job at KZIA/Cedar Rapids, Iowa?
Hands down, the most amazing group of people one could work with in this business. It was a great locally owned station who believed in quality programming and investing in their talent. Eliot Keller & Rob Norton, (both the General Manager & Operations Manager at the time) were the most influential people I had ever worked with and gave me a chance to become the successful programmer I am today. It was a family there, and I had the pleasure with working with the same radio personalities I grew up listening to. Along with working with PD Greg Runyon, who was a great leader and still a great friend. I always pop into the radio station for a visit every chance I get!
3. After 7 years in Iowa, what led to your move to CBS Radio in Las Vegas in 2012?
Those bright lights! I instantly fell in love with Las Vegas upon my first visit, and not because of the free booze and showgirls. It's the entertainment capital of the world which was home to two of my favorite radio stations, KLUC & KXTE. I had my sights set on this town for quite some time and made it a goal to work my out west to land a gig at one of those stations. Who would of thought I was gonna land both!
4. How ironic that Cat Thomas was your PD when you started in Vegas at KLUC and now he is your PD again at KXTE X107.5. What's it like working with Cat?
Very ironic. It's a blessing and a curse! Great to be working again with the first person to give me a shot in Sin City. However on the flip side, he still remembers a couple of those bad work habits I had back in my KLUC days. But it's a pleasure to be back working with Cat. I learned more from him than anyone in the business. Plus we're a great team here, comparable to a good cop/bad cop scenario. I won't comment on which he is.
5. What do you love most about your job?
Music. It's what I live for. To have the opportunity to work face-to-face with some of my favorite bands is the best thing in the world. But what I also love most is the power of radio. To see what we have the ability to do as on-air personalities. I've seen communities come together through the hardest of times with the help of a radio station's call to action. It's times like that we remember how much impact we can make on the lives of our listeners.
6. What are music meetings like at the station?
Hectic and frustrating. But in a good way. Any given week there's so much great music in alternative to listen to. Definitely a tough job deciding who makes the cut.
7. What sort of things makes X107.5 unique?
We don't ever take ourselves too seriously. We like to be silly in what we do. It's extremely important to me that all of us here have fun every day. If we're not having fun, what the hell are we doing?
8. What do you like best about living in Sin City?
The 24 hour lifestyle. As a night jock, I used to get off the air at midnight and the town would be closed already. Here I can go to Buffalo Wild Wings at 3am!
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ________?
My walks. I have this weird thing I do, that when the day gets too hectic I walk outside and take a couple laps around the building. Good way to clear my head and get my Fitbit steps in!
10. What would surprise people most about you?
Outside of radio, I continue my love for music by playing piano, amongst other instruments. I write and produce music scores in my spare time. Now if only someone would pay to use my work in film.
What are your hobbies?
I play DJ on the side, whenever time allows it. I enjoy going to concerts, even when it isn't work-related. I also enjoy hiking, traveling, going record store digging (I can spend a whole month at Amoeba Music!). As well as spending time with my niece, nephews, and my dog JoJo.
Last non-industry job?
Manager of a retail shoe store. I've heard all the Al Bundy jokes.
First record ever purchased?
Michael Jackson "Thriller"
Soul Asylum & Matthew Sweet
Favorite band of all-time?
Tie between Nirvana & Nine Inch Nails