10 Questions with ... Jeremy Henry
March 4, 2013
1. Give me a brief history/synopsis....where you were born, schools, & current family.
Born and raised in the West Michigan area where we're blessed with 4 seasons a year and can enjoy the crystal blue waters of Lake Michigan. Stayed local for school and graduated from Grand Valley State University. (Go Lakers!) I met my wife through JQ99 and this August, we'll be celebrating 6 years of marriage. I have 2 awesome kids. 4 year old Emerson, who's going to break some hearts when she's older, and 1 (soon to be 2 in May) year old Beckett who gets along with everyone but I'm afraid will grow up to be the class clown.
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?
I started off college wanting to be a math teacher, however Calculus at 6:00am was just too much. At the end of my first year (at Western Michigan University), I moved back home so I could work and go to school. I changed my major to art education and decided I didn't want to ruin art for myself by making it a job. So...Confused as all get out, I popped into the career counseling office at Grand Valley State University and they had me take a career placement test. The results came in and we scheduled out a semester focusing on my interests; Audio Production, Video Production, Criminal Justice, Sociology, Mythology, and Psychology. At the end of that semester, I decided I really enjoyed video and audio production, more audio than anything else. To the point that I wanted to work in a recording studio. Well, GVSU didn't offer an Audio Production major, so I picked up the one major that would give me all the audio production courses...Broadcast Communications. At the end of my college career I had gotten into Christian music and decided that I wanted to work at the Christian radio station I had been listening to...JQ99. Took of few years, but eventually I moved from a "foot in the door" to a full-time job, and I've been enjoying it ever since.
3. What's the most successful on-air bit/break you've ever been part of?
Oh goodness. Probably the move successful bit I've been a part of is my Fresh Tunes Friday bit I do on the morning show. I pop on as the music expert for the station and reveal the new songs for the week and the #1 testing song of the week as chosen by our listeners. Gives me and the station an opportunity to give listeners a behind the scenes look at what happens musically, and it allows me to promote the music team. It also features a cool into theme song to the tune of The Fresh Prince of Bell-Air that I rewrote words for and sung myself. Boom.
4. With the advent of "instant everything".....what do you do to show prep? How do you prepare?
I feel like command central sometimes. I utilize a few services that scour the interwebs. I love my browser RockMelt. It's based on Google Chrome and integrates social media and RSS feeds so that I'm always connected and always one of the first to know a news story. I also utilize certain apps like ZITE and Flipboard that create personalized newspapers of sorts so that I can pick up on stories with themes of things I want to share on the air. Also...Life. Since having children, I kind of have a never ending supply of showprep. Those two are stinkin' hilarious.
5. What would you categorize as your greatest personal challenge in radio? What are you doing to overcome that?
Comparing myself to others. While it's good to see what others are doing and how they're doing it, there is a point at which measuring all I do against them isn't healthy. I feel, and have always felt that I'm good at a ton of different things, but not GREAT at one. So when I look at others and see them excel at social networking, on-air, music, etc., I get frustrated that I can't be that. As to how I overcome this, I just try to remind myself daily that while there are those out there that are GREAT at some thing, there's room and opportunity for God to use my "good" for His good.
6. Who are 3 people that you look to as mentors/leaders? What is it about them that grabs & keeps your attention?
Troy West, Corey Mann, Chris Hauser. Troy is local to JQ99 and has been very helpful in encouraging me and refining me in my radio position. He' s been in radio longer than I've been alive (of close to it), and his knowledge, stories, and leadership are things I deeply respect. Corey has been a great friend and a great resource of information from the on-air/programming side of radio. His vast history of radio, artists, comic books, etc. teamed up with his outgoing personality and fun, he really stands out as a strong leader/mentor. Chris Hauser seems to be the grandfather of radio promotions and being the MD for JQ99, he's shared a ton with me, more from the record label/promoter side of thins which has been invaluable for me as I continue to learn about radio and the music industry. Thanks guys! Appreciate you all!
7. What do you believe is the single greatest factor in building audience share/cume? Why do you believe it's that important?
Relationship with and community with your audience. Probably cliche to say those things, but I think they're true. I like about the friends I have, and how I want to spend time with them. I don't seek to spend time with people I meet at the grocery store. (That sounds bad from a Christian perspective, sorry....bad analogy.) Think about it, it kind of makes sense. You spend time around those you feel closest to. If we can get our audience to feel close to us, I think that will be reflected in share/cume.
8. Most successful station promotion ever.....details from start to finish?
In most recent memory, the most successful moment we've had wasn't a station promotion, it was a fundraiser. We set out to do a fundraiser for our Open Doors Orphanage in Guatemala. We had our afternoon host and the operations director of the orphanage live in a man lift for a few days and could only come down once we reached our goal of $40,000. Well, after the first day we were within a few thousand dollars of reaching our goal and efore the morning show was done the second day, we had reached our goal. The thing is that businesses kept tossing up matching dollars and listeners kept calling. We didn't know what to do, so we kept going. At the conclusion of the fundraiser we had double our goal and then some, I think we came in around $83,000! It was amazing, not because we had raised so much money, but because of how God's fingerprints were ALL over that situation.
9. How do you combat the iPod/satellite/online option listeners have today? What are the steps to compete?
What do iPods, Satellite Radio, and most online options have in common with each other? No local. Some are trying, but for the most part, that gets left out. That's one thing that we can highlight, not to the point of sounding "green", but having the ability to react to a local situation immediately and provide that information (good or bad) to our listeners, I think, creates a credibility and value that those other services can't provide.
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?
P.O.P. - Practice, On-Hand, Patience. Practice: Practice your craft, whatever it is. Research it, demonstrate it, share it, do everything you can to make your craft second nature to your being. On-Hand: Be open and available to the needs around you. I've found lots of success in being "there" when others couldn't be. Step up and be on-hand when others can't be, or don't want to be. Patience: You might hear stories of DJ Awesome or Captain Programmer that lands some amazing first job, to my knowledge, that doesn't happen often. You gotta be patient and work your way up. It's not hard, and often times, doesn't take long. The other benefit is, once you get to your goal position, you'll have a deeper appreciation for where you're at, knowing where you came from.
1. Most embarrassing moment on air?
I used to do news on our AM Political News/Talk station (The Pledge). Well, this one particular day, I was reading a news story about Human Papillomavirus and I kept getting hung up on papillomavirus. I pre-recorded the news a few minutes ahead of time for convenience. Anyway...There I am, recording my news story about human papillomavirus and I had to keep starting over. Well, I continue to get more and more frustrated, time is ticking down, and pretty soon, I start to interject some slightly colorful language; "Son of a gun.", "Dang it!", that kind of stuff. Never swore, but came pretty close. Finally, I make it through the news story, and that's when I realize...The mic had been in "program" the entire time. Meaning that everything I was saying had gone over the air. A listener did call, spoke with my boss, told him that I needed to be fired because I almost swore and that clearly I wasn't a Christian. Fortunately, I have a forgiving boss who understands, and I still have a job today. I also ALWAYS make sure that I never say anything I don't want to go on the air in front of a microphone.
2. Favorite cereal, favorite cartoon character and favorite fast food choice?
Cereal...It's a tie between Corn Pops and Apple Jacks. Sugar Smacks and Super Golden Crisp come close, but they make your pee smell. (I know I'm not the only one.) Cartoon Character...I dig Spongebob Squarepants. He's pretty hilarious. I've also fallen in love with Mordecai and Rigby from Regular Show (Cartoon Network), they're awesome too. I'm a gamer though so I enjoy video game characters more than cartoons.
3. You've got one last live break on air....and then the radio will go silent. What do you say, and why?
"That's Needtobreathe on 99.3, JQ99! I'm Jeremy Henry connected and growing with you one last time and since all I ever do is talk, I thought that since this is our last time together before the radio goes silent that I would sing you a song." Then I'd pull out my guitar and start singing some Chris Tomlin song since they're easier to play and sing along to. Then I'd finish off with..."Have a good morning, and in case I don't see ya; Good afternoon, good evening, and good night!" (I'm assuming I'm on in the morning.) Why? I want to go out with my favorite band, share something with my listeners that they've never gotten from me before, and leave with the best goodbye I can think of, that's why!