10 Questions with ... James Pond
August 21, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I am an admitted Pop Culture junkie, boarding on being a Hoarder! I began my career in radio NOT in Music but Sports Talk, wanting someday to be the next John Madden or Dan Patrick. Until one day J. Pat Miller (Now PD & Morning at WLHK in Milwaukee) asked if I would try my hand at our A/C station KBBK (B107.3FM). With his help I eventually caught the ear of our Operations Manager at the time Rob Kelley (Now OM in Fort Wayne, IN at WQHK) who offered me Nights on the Country station. With Rob & J.Pat's guidance I eventually moved to Afternoon Drive and have been there ever since. I credit them for helping me trapping all the many voices in my head and focusing it into what I do everyday.
1) Did you really grow up on a Christmas tree farm and what was that like?
Ha. Yes just like Taylor Swift I grew up on a Christmas tree farm in Martell, Nebraska (just south of Lincoln) and unlike her I had no talent for songwriting but I could definitely swing an axe. My brother & I worked for the family business for years until I found sports and girls.
2) What kind of music did you listen to growing up-you didn't like Country I hear, to a point of hiding dear old Dad's 8-track tapes.
Actually my brother and I wanted to listen to ANYTHING but my Dad's Mac Davis and Waylon Jennings 8-tracks! So anytime we would have to get a ride anywhere with my dad one of us would sneak out and hide the tapes so that maybe, just maybe dad would flip it to the Top 40 station. Until one day I found Alabama's Mountain Music and then Kenny Roger's "The Gambler" and slowly we did less hiding and more listening. Then the man simply known as GARTH came on the scene and I was hooked.
3) You've been at KFGE 10 years-who gave you the name James Pond originally. Was there a James Pond there before you?
Much like the other Froggy stations out there (in Pennsylvania & elsewhere) there was a list of "Froggy Names" that we could choose from. I was told I could either be Jimmy Hoppa or James Pond--I've NEVER been a fan of being called Jimmy so the chance to be a Secret Agent Frog (yes I have been serviced with the video game) was cool! I did receive phone calls and emails from various people in the industry when a story came across in the news that "James Pond had passed away." It was surreal to see my name come across like that and I was saddened that Ron Smith (also James Pond in Pennsylvania) died.
4) How long have you been Music Director and is that something you wanted to do for a long time?
I am nearing my second full year as Music Director and I love it! I am a HUGE fan of all types of music in fact I could be on a deserted island for 9 days, and as long as I had a full battery I wouldn't hear the same song twice! I am into everything from Blake Shelton and Brad Paisley, to Grace Potter & The Nocturnals and Cage The Elephant. If it catches my ear I HAVE to hear it over and over again and then share it with EVERYONE I know.
5) It sounds like you really love music-do you find time to listen to all of the new stuff?
Yes EVERYTHING as soon as it's tweeted, emailed, previewed I am listening to it. However I can get it--CMT.com, PlayMPE, NewMusicServer.com, AOL Listening Parties, if I hear about it I will find it. Music is the soundtrack to our lives so music is ALWAYS playing wherever I go.
6) And now what new artists are you really high on?
Been a HUGE fan of Jerrod Niemann since his first go round with "One More Drinkin' Song" and with Eric Church I have yet to find a single song on his "Carolina" & now "Chief" albums that I would hit the skip button on. And the REAL newbies like Hunter Hayes, Brantley Gilbert, David Bradley, Glen Templeton and Jason Jones have already grabbed me. I can't narrow it done because like I said I am a Music Hoarder!
7) You grew up in Lincoln and now work there-what do you love about the area?
It's a city on the rise in every aspect. Not only is it the Capitol of the state of Nebraska, but the Nebraska Cornhusker sports culture is second to none. A 'Husker Game Day Saturday' is like tailgating with a half a million of your closest friends every weekend. Lincoln is also adding a brand new arena to this college town. We'll be able to bring in a Kenny Chesney or Taylor Swift who, due to our lack of facilities, couldn't come previously, even though they wanted to because of the University.
8) If you could take any job out there-in or out of radio-what would it be?
Is Ryan Seacrest's job available? If I could host a game show or reality show I would jump at the chance. I get to do that somewhat with my show and the Impossible Question every night in the Drive at 5 so I'm ready. Or I would work for the New York Yankees and live in NYC.
9) What are you strongest at in your job, and then what is something that you constantly have to work on?
I am always striving to be the guy everyone goes to when they need a problem solved. I am a team player through and through and if you help me, I will do everything in my power to help you.
And I'm constantly working on, knowing when to STOP working! I am addicted to my job so it's hard to NOT be doing something for the station.
10) Who were a couple of mentors who helped shape your career?
As I mentioned before Rob Kelley & J.Pat Miller helped me get to where I am today. Kristi Green (now in Norfolk at US-92) helped me bring my character through the microphone and entertain our audience. Last but not least, my current OM/PD Steve Albertsen. He's always has believed in my and continues to guide me not only on air but in the business side of radio.
1) Your bio refers to you as an expert on TV and movie trivia-what are a couple of your favorite recent movies?
The Final Harry Potter movie (don't judge I've read all the books & seen all the movies), Super 8 was amazing and I've got a Captain America/Cowboys & Aliens double feature calling my name.
2) And what about TV?
Big Bang Theory and Modern Family are my biggest addiction. They are shows that you can't just DVR & watch later, you're Jones-ing for them the minute you know they're on. My summer addiction is on right now in CBS' Big Brother. If they'd let me do my Radio show LIVE from the house, I would be a contestant on it in a minute.
3) What is your favorite guilty pleasure junk food?
I have been on a five-year Battle of the Bulge that I finally won this year. When I got married I weighed 350 pounds, now I am 225 and in the best shape of my life. But, you HAVE to eat your favorites every once in awhile or you might go on a binge so maybe some Reese's Peanut Butter Cups please.