10 Questions with ... Jamie "JT" Thompson
September 22, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Dad was in St. Louis radio for decades working at WIL, KEZK, and KLOU. So I was immediately interested in the biz once I could walk and talk. At the age of 18, I attended Southeast Missouri State University and began working at KGMO (Rush Limbaugh's first station as well). From there, I went on to great stations like WGGC/Bowling Green, KY; WYCT/Pensacola, FL; and WMXS/Montgomery, AL where I've been hosting mornings with my beautiful wife Leanne and programming since 2006.
1) Who do you consider your radio mentors?
Originally it was dad of course. Since then, Mike Kennedy, my PD at KGMO (now programming The Point in Little Rock, AR; Kevin King (OM/PD at WYCT/Pensacola, FL; and some great consultants I've had the pleasure of working with including Jaye Alrbright and Mike McVay here at Cumulus.
2) What makes your market unique? How does this compare to other markets or stations you have worked at?
Montgomery is the SOUTH! It's very conservative (much more than other markets we've worked in), and obviously where our country has a lot of history when it comes to Civil Rights.
You also have a football rivalry that could very well be one of the biggest in college football in Alabama or Auburn. Leanne is the Auburn Fan, "War Eagle". For me, it's Alabama, "Roll Tide". You have to choose a side, but we're divided. We stay away from each other on Iron Bowl Day (Alabama vs. Auburn).
You know what though? People love their church here, their family, their community and their pets - so it's a great place to raise our three teen girls!
3) How are you using social media to market your radio station?
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, online at www.Mix103.com, and Pinterest. I have to say, Leanne is a much more frequent poster than I am. But if we are on location, if we have a great concert to let everyone know about, or if we just want to repost something we talked about on the air that morning, then we're putting it on our social media!
Staying connected with listeners in this fashion literally gives you a 24/7 pass into their world! And it certainly helps with that top of mind awareness we so desperately need in a diary market!
4) What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
There is no doubt that there is a lot of competition for our listener's time. We need to stay relevant by playing the best music and giving the best reasons to tune in daily. We want to execute the most exciting promotions and stay as locally connected as we possibly can in order to cut through the clutter and shine! Over 95% of the population is still listening to radio weekly. We have to give them great reasons to keep us at that level!
5) You have the daily radio show and also a weekend TV Show on the NBC affiliate in Montgomery, what do you find is the difference between the two?
Actually, when we first started here we did two live shots per morning on the local news from our studio interacting with the anchors and giving away a daily prize each day. After six years when that ended, we took the opportunity to have our own weekend TV show which continues to get our brands (Mix 103.3 and JT & Leanne) on TV each week.
Obviously, quite a few people recognize you from TV and then they put it all together when they hear you on the radio each morning. The biggest difference? Makeup! (At least for Leanne...) I just need a little powder on that big shiny forehead!
6) What do you consider the key to your success?
Besides Leanne, I would say my work ethic and getting involved in my community.
I've never been let go after 20+ years in this business, I've always been recruited to a new and bigger opportunity. When you truly integrate yourself in the community and become part of the listener's lives. That paves the way for success, not only for the station, but personally and professionally. Being on the air every morning is a privilege, and we don't take that lightly!
7) What was the biggest gaffe you've made on air?
I was working briefly at a station in Panama City, Florida and the tag line was "72 (or whatever) degrees along the world's most beautiful beaches". I may have said "bitches" on accident. Yeah, I'm pretty sure I did ... accidentally.
8) What do you believe will be the next trend in music technology?
Holograms of your favorite artists appearing on the dash as if they were in concert, as the digital text on the radio tuner gives you the artist, album, song title, and the option to purchase tickets to their next concert all right there at the touch of a button. This car will also fly (unrelated to the music technology described above).
9) Who is your best friend in the business?
My wife Leanne. She has been on the air with me since 2006, and is more popular than me! We have been married for eight years, but since we also work together and raise a blended family together, we say that counts for double. So we've been married 16 years now if you buy into our math.
10) What is your favorite TV show?
Next to the "River Region TV Show with JT & Leanne", it would be "Law & Order SVU". It's ALWAYS on!
What was the first concert you ever attended?
Rod Stewart. I saw him back in St. Louis while I was still in high school. I don't think my parents knew where I was going, but my girlfriend was a huge Rod Stewart fan and she wanted to go. At the time, as a teenager, it made perfect sense to risk my entire social life if I got busted to attend a Rod Stewart concert. Not that Rod was a bad guy, but I had probably been driving for about four weeks. I did not wreck that evening, and that's a good thing!
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
There is no doubt that I'm doing it! Being on the air has always been my goal, and there is no doubt we are lucky to do what we do each day. How many people get to do what they love?
What do you do in your spare time?
I actually love taking the jet ski out for a ride on the lake, shooting/editing television, hanging with my wonderful wife and co-host Leanne, traveling to cool places like Orlando and the Smoky Mountains and of course, spending time with my teen daughters (Bec, Ashlee & Kimberlee) and our six fur kids (five dogs and a cat!). We really need to quit doing remotes at the Humane Society!