10 Questions with ... Buzz Jackson
September 29, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Weekends at (top 40) WOVV West Palm Beach, nights at (top 40) Z103 Tallahassee, nights at (top 40) I-100 Daytona Beach, nights at Young Country B-94.5 Orlando, afternoons and Program Director at Rooster Country 107 Jacksonville, and afternoons and Program Director at KiiM-FM Tucson. All of the prior stations have changed format since I left, although I don't think I'm to blame for all of them.
1) Hi Buzz! Walk us through a day in your life, after you arrive at KIIM each morning.
Hi! First thing, I pop in and visit with the morning show to get the day's vibe. Then it's often a meeting or conference call, some music scheduling while listening to whatever's come in the mail this week, and then my favorite part of the day: I get to be on the air.
2) How did you get into broadcasting? Did you go to school for this career?
Radio is what I've wanted to do for as long as I can remember. I grew up in the shadow of New York City, so I got to listen to and be inspired by some of the best radio in America. I went to Syracuse University where I should have taken some business or management classes - instead I took all the radio and TV classes I could.
3) Your station is very community-oriented. What are some of the most memorable events that KIIM has ever been a part?
Every year, since well before I got here, we've done a fundraiser at the holidays called the KiiM-FM Penny Pitch, to try to collect a million pennies for a local charity. We broadcast from a mall for three days leading up to Christmas and it's really a great chance to see our community come together and do something for a worthwhile cause. We have collected many many thousands of dollars for this charity over the years, and as soon as we wrap up the Penny Pitch each year, people start saving up their pennies for next year.
My favorite non-charity event is when we bring tons of snow to a local mall parking lot each winter. It never snows here, so for thousands of kids to get the chance to play in the snow is really special. Who cares if every flake is identical? The kids don't seem to mind.
4) If you weren't working in radio, what career path do you think you would have chosen?
Hard to say. I have no other skills. Hahaha. Probably something involving technology.
5) When adding new songs to your station's playlist, is there anything in particular that you look for? Do you feel that today's Country music measures up to your listener's expectations?
It's a tough balance because the music from Nashville definitely seems to moving younger in appeal. We have to make sure we keep our adult listeners satisfied, too.
6) Several Country stations are skewing to a younger demographic these days. They are incorporating several up-tempo songs that have Top 40 crossover appeal. How do you feel about this "movement" and transition in the format?
I was at one of the original "Young Country" stations back in the early 90s. At the time there didn't really turn out to be enough room to fragment the format into "young country" and a more adult blend of country. It's a little early in the current "swing" of the pendulum to be sure, but my gut is that things will lean back toward the mainstream eventually.
7) When you aren't holding down the fort at the radio station, what might someone find you doing in your down time?
I love taking pictures of interesting things (http://nothingbutpictures.wordpress.com) and hanging out with my family - plus taking long walks with Wrangler The Dog.
8) You "hear" songs every day- do YOU ever "SING?" What would be your go-to karaoke song if you HAD to get on stage?
My wife and my daughter can hear a song once and then, the next time they hear it, sing it all the way thru as if they've heard it a million times. I was never blessed with that gene, which is probably a good thing 'cause I'm not a very good singer.
9) How have you seen the technical aspect of radio evolve over the years? Do you think it has been for the better?
Technology has allowed us to become better and worse. Better because it frees up time for people to multitask or better produce their shows, for example. Worse because it allows lazy people to take shortcuts.
10) If you HAD to work in any other market for one week, where would you like to go? Any particular radio station?
I grew up listening to WPLJ in New York City, and while I have no interest in moving back to the Tri State Area, if they ever need me to fill in for an overnight or something, I'll get on the next plane!
1. In your personal free time, do you listen to Country music, or other genres? Who are some of your all-time favorite artists?
I do listen to some country music in my off-time, but mostly I need a break. My guilty pleasure is 80s music - I have 640 songs from the 80s on my iPhone - everything from a-ha to ZZ Top. My faves include Madonna (saw her in Madison Square Garden in 1985), Miami Sound Machine, Huey Lewis, Michael Jackson, and a host of other artists that would make you cringe.
2. Besides your computer, tell us what fun stuff is on your desk at this very second!
My ACM Award (Medium Market Personality of the Year, 2009), pics of my family, and I'm sitting across my desk from a three-foot-tall Kermit The Frog.
3. If Toby Keith, Tim McGraw and Keith Urban all showed up on your doorstep and said, "Buzz Jackson! We hear that YOU know all the hotspots in Tucson. Where should we spend our day?" where would you tell them to go?
I'd have to take Toby to the new Toby Keith's I Love This Bar And Grill at the Tucson Mall. The other artists I'd take to In-N-Out Burger. To escape the heat we'd drive up to Mt. Lemmon, which is about 10-20 degrees cooler than the desert. Then we'd check out the aircraft boneyard at the local Air Force Base, and wrap up the evening watching a sunset at Gates Pass in the Tucson Mountains.