10 Questions with ... Tim Lewis
July 15, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Lewis has been involved in collegiate sports broadcasting for 30 years. Including play-by-play for a variety of sports for a number of schools, including: BYU, Weber State, Ohio University, Xavier University, Cincinnati, Utah Valle, the Mountain West Conference., and currently Idaho State University
He was a studio voice for such Pro Sports teams as the Cincinnati Bengals and Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies and Denver Broncos as well as the Utah Jazz.
Lewis is an eight-time Sportscaster of the Year. Recognized in Utah (5-times), California and Colorado. He has also been recognized for his work in Radio News at such radio stations as KSL-Salt Lake City, KOA-Denver, WHIO-Dayton, WLW-Cincinnati, KLO-Ogden and is currently the Program Director and AM Drive Host for Newstalk 97.7 KBLI/KBLY in Idaho Falls. He is a two-time Murrow Award recipient for his work at KOA. He most recently was awarded â€˜Personality of the Yearâ€ in 2013 by the Idaho State Broadcasters Association for hosting Idahoâ€™s Morning News.
Between 1992 and1995 Lewis hosted a nationally syndicated sports-talk show on the One on One Sports Radio Network based out of Chicago. His three-hour morning show was heard on several major market stations across the country including XTRA-A/San Diego, KNBR-A/San Francisco, KTCT-A/Dallas, KFXX-A/Portland, WGMP-A/Philadelphia, and CKLW-A/Windsor.
1. After working in markets large and small, you've been working at the Riverbend Idaho Falls-Pocatello cluster for a few years now. How did that come about, and what went into the decision to head to Idaho?
I made a bold decision to leave Cincinnati to attend to family matters in Utah. My father was battling cancer, and my mother did not have anyone to help her, so I elected to make that move for my family. It has been a move that I have not regretted. Being able to spend quality extensive time with an ailing parent is a challenge, but a rare opportunity. After about a year in Southern Utah, and with things stabilized, I was fortunate to find the position in Idaho. General Manager Steve Poulsen and I have known each other since our college days, and I jumped at the chance to help build a quality Newstalk organization with a Top Notch cluster in East Idaho. It has been a great experience.
2. What are the challenges (and rewards) of programming in a market like Idaho Falls-Pocatello? What are the unique things about the market that outsiders wouldn't know before being there?
The challenges are pretty obvious; there are many fewer P-1â€™s to help build your station because there are many fewer people in your market, period. We also are competing against the heritage talk station in town, and listener habits in a smaller market are much harder to persuade to make the switch. We also are an Eastlan rated market with all emphasis on just the Spring quarter every year. So, the numbers can be a bit unusual. We have improved over 400 percent in the money demo, adults 25-54, in the last 2 years. The rewards are the people. They love radio! They get involved in community events, and historically respond well to quality promotional events. It is quality vs. quantity in programming for a smaller market. Each day is a challengeâ€¦ AND reward.
3. Your stations also have an online news portal, EastIdahoNews.com; how much of your attention and time do you devote to the site as opposed to radio? How do the radio stations and the site work together?
Our website AND social media is a true extension of our on-air product. We are proud of our website which is the market leader in radio for unique visitors. All of my on-air personnel do spend a good part of their pre and post-show time adding to the site and corresponding facebook pages. Pretty much the norm in all size markets now days. My days working for Clear Channel taught me how important every part of our non-air elements are to station progression and in the building of our personalities.
4. What's your greatest regret? Your proudest moment?
I have been fortunate to work for some quality news and sports organizations. Such great stations and with such great people. While I would have enjoyed working for the same organization for the bulk of my career, I feel I would have truly missed out on important lessons and opportunities to enhance my career, understanding and life. So, no real regrets. I am a positive person and I am very proud of the eclectic body of work that I have done over my 30 years. Whether itâ€™s witnessing an execution as a media witness, or being part of an NFL, NBA or MLB broadcast, I am proud of where my radio travels have taken me.
5. Speaking of online, how important do you think social media -- Facebook, Twitter, etc. -- are to stations these days? How do you use them, personally and professionally?
It is vital to me to give our listeners a variety of avenues for them to come face to face with my station and personalities. Thank goodness for the various types of arenas to play in. I am a big believer in telling the audience that additional information is available on the internet and they can be with us 24/7. Keeping them in front of our product as long as possible, so that we get credit when they get that official call in the Spring.
6. There's been a lot of doomsaying about talk radio in recent years, and it's been intensifying. From the perspective of East Idaho radio, how do you see talk radio doing now, and what's your outlook for the format for the near future? Are you optimistic or pessimistic for the format?
Iâ€™m optimistic because in News and Sports information, people HAVE to go to radio for immediacy. We win 99 percent of the time in offering that. It is even more so in a smaller market. Radio will always be a friend to most people. They feel like they know you, and are comforted in having this knowledge. We talk to them as if we were a member of their family and that resonates with our core group.
7. Who are your heroes and influences?
As a young person I would listen to Larry King. I loved how he made his guests feel comfortable enough that they gave insights into issues that other hosts, especially today, have to resort to belittling tactics to try and squeeze information out of.
I loved listening to Paul James on KSL/Salt Lake City in the 70â€™s call BYU sports. He was my true mentor and the reason I wanted to be a play by play man. There are solid hosts and broadcasters out there who I respect and believe do quality radio. Stefan Tubbs at KOA/Denver, Bill Cunningham and Seg Dennison at WLW/Cincinnati, Tim Neverett of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and others.
8. Say you hadn't gone into radio. What do you think you'd have ended up doing for a living? What would Plan B have been?
I love football and would have probably gravitated into coaching. Or I would have been an architect. Either job, you are a creative part of the process.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ___________.
...a morning Mountain Dew.
10. What was the best advice you ever got? The worst?
Best adviceâ€¦.Say whatever comes to your mind. Donâ€™t ever holdback. Your first thought is always the correct one.. (Former GM)
Worst adviceâ€¦..Donâ€™t think about doing sports because I donâ€™t think you have a good sports voice. (Former PD. No longer in the biz.)