10 Questions with ... Jim Beeler
February 18, 2013
1. Give us a brief history/synopsis....where did you grow up, schools, & current family
Born in Pasadena, CA but raised there, up by San Francisco and in Indianapolis, before moving to Denver in my senior year of HS. Attended U. of Northern Colorado in Greeley, where all three of my kids were born. I've been married to Heidi since 1979 and we have two grandsons.
2. What was it that made you "catch the bug" for radio? When did you realize that it was what you wanted to do for a living?
Right after high school, I was on a double-date, and the other guy was going to a broadcasting school and getting into radio. I thought that sounded so fascinating that I quickly signed up for it too.
3. What's the most successful on-air bit/break you've ever been part of?
Back in the 90's, I was working at WQFL in Rockford, IL and extreme flooding of the Mississippi happened over by the Quad Cities. I camped out on top of a semi trailer for about 4 days until listeners filled it with relief items. Then, we drove it over to the Salvation Army center for distribution. We pitched a tent, and had a porta-potty up there. Wild!
4. With the advent of "instant everything".....what do you do to show prep? How do you prepare?
We always ask, "Where is she?" so we know how to talk to her. Certain times of year will cause us to prepare in certain ways, based on what's going on in her life. Finding bits that really connect with her is challenging, but very rewarding.
5. What would you categorize as your greatest personal challenge in radio? What are you doing to overcome that?
Trying to NOT get stuck in the same old way of doing things. A music director needs to keep learning and tweaking, and finding better ways to make the music sound fresh.
6. Who are 3 people that you look to as mentors/leaders? What is it about them that grabs & keeps your attention?
- Jon Hull - He hired me here at KSBJ and has an amazing ability to convey radio concepts in a professional and understandable way.
- Susan O'Donnell (our PD) - She understands our audience like no one else in the business, and has a great ability to communicate the best ways for us to connect on-air.
- Scott and Brett Jones (brothers who are my pastors) They have the gift of communication, as well. They can take Biblical concepts and preach/teach them in plain and practical ways.
7. What do you believe is the single greatest factor in building audience share/cume? Why do you believe it's that important?
In the 11 years I've been here at KSBJ, I've seen our cume practically triple. Besides playing the best music, audience connection between the songs is a major factor in building cume.
8. Most successful station promotion ever?
One of my favorites is our 30-Day Challenge. We start talking about it during December, asking our audience to listen to us exclusively for 30 days and see how God uses it to make a difference in their life. We make January the month to really focus on it, and we get tons of positive audience feedback. In addition to the spiritual side, it is a great cume building, too.
9. How do you combat the iPod/satellite/online option listeners have today? What are the steps to compete?
It helps to keep reminding them that we are live and local every day. None of those other media (although important) can communicate in quite the same way a live DJ can when something important happens. We use that connection to also pray with listeners and see to their other questions immediately. This way, we're more human and not so automated.
10. Radio 101....in 101 words or less, how would you guide/instruct/advise a radio programmer/air talent who wants to get better at their craft?
First, if you're in Christian radio, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. I rarely find those who are just going through the motions, but it does happen. Make sure of your calling, and that you're not just a Christian juke box. Being able to minister to listeners will set your station apart. Never apologize for - or try to minimize - the fact that you are a Christian ministry. But do it in a way that doesn't sound like Christian-ese. Connect in a real and trendy way.
1. Most embarrassing moment on air?
Sometimes you concentrate too hard on what you're doing. Years ago I was interviewing Jump 5 live on the air, and I said, "We'll be right back to talk more with Plus One after this." I didn't even realize I had said it until after I was already into a promo, so I had to wiggle my way around it after the break.
2. Favorite cereal, favorite cartoon character and favorite fast food choice?
- Cereal: Kashi "Autumn Harvest".
- Cartoon: King of the Hill.
- Fast Food: Subway (it's kinda healthy, anyway)
3. You've got one last live break on air....and then the radio will go silent. What do you say, and why?
"Hey what's this button for...?"