10 Questions with ... Tammy Jones
August 4, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I'm still here! The first couple of years I did mornings I was convinced that I'd be fired. Not because I should be fired, but because I'd heard the horror stories about the turnover in morning radio. A decade later, I'm still having fun! By the way, before I joined morning radio, I was a newspaper reporter and I was really worried about leaving my "secure" job to pursue morning radio.
1) What Got You Interested In Radio?
I did a radio news internship and fell in love with the industry.
2) Who do you consider your radio mentors?
At this risk of sounding like a suck-up, having a great PD makes a world of difference and I'm so fortunate Neal Sharpe is in that role. He's an excellent morning show coach and he has helped me to grow by leaps and bounds.
My morning partner, Dex Mitchell, continues to teach me about the radio industry (he's a bit of a radio nerd!) and he's helping me to grow as well. And I wouldn't call them mentors (because they don't know I exist) but I've always looked up to Sheri Lynch. She's amazing! I'm also a big fan of Ace & TJ and Bert Weiss because of their charity work.
3) What is it about your show that you feel really makes it cut through?
It's about our listener interaction. We're a phone intensive show and people's stories are hilarious, heartbreaking, or entertaining. And we all love to hear stories. Plus, we live our lives out loud and share ourselves (warts and all). I believe our listeners connect with the authenticity.
4) How do you prep yourself for your radio shift?
I believe living life is the greatest prep. A lot of times, we'll come to the table with stories and observations from our day and those will turn into talk topics. I have news apps on my tablet and smart-phone so I'm constantly reading. Facebook and Twitter both are good sources too. I love Complete Sheet, especially the Studio Think Tank section. It's great to read what others are doing and their thoughts on the industry.
5) How are you using social media to market your radio station and your show?
Our Mix 96.5 demo is largely women 35-54, so we focus a lot of our social media effort on Facebook with multiple postings a day. We'll vet a topic on Facebook and we may use some of those comments on air the next day or later that morning. I realized during our recent adventure to the American Idol finale that I need to do a better job of using Twitter and Instagram as well. I've started with Twitter for now.
6) What are your thoughts on the current season American Idol, The Voice, etc?
American Idol is far past its prime and we would have ignored it this season except that our hometown guy kept advancing. As Caleb Johnson got closer to the top, he was THE hot topic in Asheville.
Ultimately we followed him to Hollywood for the season finale and provided coverage and pictures as he took the crown. In terms of reality talent shows, there are so many now and none has the buzz factor that American Idol did in its heyday. Unless there's something hugely controversial or someone from our city goes the distance, we're not spending much, if any on-air time on reality entertainment.
7) What is the most rewarding promotion or activity your station has ever been involved with to benefit the community or a charity?
Five years ago we launched an effort to help kids in crisis, whether in foster care, domestic violence shelters, or group care homes.
Thus far we've concentrated our efforts on creating a Rock Star Christmas experience for them. Our listeners volunteer their time and area businesses donate their services for a monster-sized party.
We also camp out on the front lawn of the radio station for a week to collect toys, which is really more about raising awareness of the plight of these kids and how people in the community can help. Ultimately, I want to develop a year-round campaign for these kids so they can have some of the things that other children do. Did you know some of these kids have never had a birthday cake?!?!
8) Tell us what music we would find on your phone or MP3 player right now and what is it you enjoy about that particular selection?
I have everything from Michael Jackson to Yo Yo Ma on my iPhone! I also have several audio books going at once. The one I'm loving right now is "Creating Magic" by Lee Cockerell, a retired Disney executive who oversaw some of the biggest management and operational changes for Disney parks and resorts.
9) What advice would you give people new to the business?
More often than not, most radio jobs these days begin as part time positions. Be willing to be a board operator, promotions assistant, a remote technician, or whatever it takes to get your foot in the door and gives you a chance to prove yourself.
Remember that every task, regardless of how small it seems is important. Otherwise, you would not be asked to do it.
Learn every aspect of the business, even if you don't think you'll ever work in sales, traffic or promotions. Understanding the big picture is invaluable to you as an air talent and as a co-worker.
10) What is the one truth that has held constant in your career?
People will show you who they are. Believe them.
What do you do in your spare time?
I read a lot! It's my favorite thing to do. My husband and I are also wine lovers. We go to wine tastings and visit vineyards. I enjoy traveling and I am always planning our next big adventure. My goal is to see all 50 states before I'm 50.
What career path would you be following had it not been for this industry?
I would be a lawyer, either a prosecutor or an advocacy attorney.
Please describe the worst promotion you've ever been part of?
My morning partner at the time (Ken Ulmer) and I had not been doing the morning show for very long, maybe a year. Our sales team put together a $5,000 shopping spree. Sounds great right?
Except... we had to go with the winner as he or she spent the money. So we climbed into a limo with the winner at the end of our morning show, and we didn't get finished until about 9 that evening!
This woman tried to haggle over every single item she wanted. We drove all around town doing price comparisons. She and her husband argued over what they should buy and who should get what. It was horribly uncomfortable! That was my lesson to always read the fine print when it involves sales!