10 Questions with ... James Lowe "The Jiggy Jaguar" "Crash Davis"
April 10, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started in 1999-2000 worked at Country 102.9 in Hutchinson, KS and did weekends and select overnights, moved onto KSKU-KGGG-KXKU in Hutchinson doing everything from board op to filling in. Eventually I resurfaced in Salina, KS after many years in Internet radio, where I met such folks as "Mars Cotolo," the former head writer for Wolfman Jack, and interviewing such acts as Firehouse (1980s rockers). I came to intern with Eagle Communications and eventually went with Rocking M Radio when they bought some of the stations in the same building as Eagle. I worked for Ken Scates and did everything from Rock, to even doing two morning shows at once, live on Classic Country as JD The DJ, and Crash Davis (all apologies to my friend Kevin Crash Davis) on 92.7 The Zoo. I continued working as guest booker and board op for 92.7 The Fan when they flipped format, worked alongside Danny Havel. Eventually I went back to Internet radio and did local cable access due to pay cuts and budget cuts at RMR.
1) What do you do to maintain a positive mental attitude and stay motivated?
I keep sending out resumes and airchecks to every job I come across, because I have experience in all formats. I stay motivated because I see people in the radio industry doing what I did: moving to Internet radio. I see Tom Lekyis doing Internet radio, and Glenn Beck is doing Internet TV, and I see folks who come into Internet radio and then leave. I am proud to say I have stayed involved with Internet radio between doing terrestrial gigs.
2) How are you occupying your time, besides looking for a job?
I "operate" an Internet radio station called Kjagradio.com which has been doing indie music and carrying Internet programming since 2000. I also have recently gotten real involved with event coverage. I have two photographers and a few mobile/Internet marketing folks along with myself and a few other hosts doing interviews with artists. I recently interviewed Darleen Koldenholven (Grammy winner), Eddie Money, and I got a great interview with shock- rockers Mushroomhead, which got 20,000 hits within a few months. We got the only "real" interview with them, which was not a clowning interview, and it took off like wildfire on YouTube.
3) Some people get discouraged or enlightened with the business when they actually step out of it for a while. Tell us your observations from the outside.
I have noticed that people who are in the business are not giving up their spots and not letting any new talent in to possibly take their spot ... people who are multi-talented and can do social media/video/website maintenance/news/Rock/etc. They are shunned, but someone who can do one thing well is valued and I think it's so odd. Another thing is that some companies do not understand the Internet, the small-market stations are waiting for Ryan Seacrest and Howard Stern to give up their millions and move to Chadron, NE to do mornings for no pay and no benefits. The major stations do not want to touch you with a 10-foot pole because you were not made by them and learned things on your own.
4) Do you plan on sticking with radio?
I will stick with radio for as long as I am around. I have built a brand with "Jiggy Jaguar" and "KJAG Radio" and I have put too much time into this and have such a far reaching social media and Internet network to take off now. I have been in love with this audio medium for most of my life and put too much into this and lost relationships, personal and professional. The one thing I know is media and doing interviews and such.
5) What's the longest stretch you've had on the beach?
The longest stretch I have had out of work in radio was seven years (2000-2007). Now I will admit that I could have been able to get back into radio, however during that time I managed to teach myself the art of the interview, and I also managed to get a strong online base built before we had YouTube and Facebook and other places. I was doing Internet radio and working out the details on how to get back into terrestrial radio. I think this time, or this stretch, I will not be out that long, but hell, who knows ... maybe it's like a streak and I will be out another seven years.
6) What is the next job you'd like to obtain?
Something that is not just weekend or part-time. However, I think that is where I am headed. However, the best gig I would like is either doing News/Talk mornings, or doing something on a morning show. I got burned out by Rocking M Radio in Salina, KS. I was getting into the station at 5a, on air 6-9a, then doing imaging and production, then lunch, then back to the station to book guests and board op the afternoon Sports Talk show. Evenings, if we did ball games, I produced those, and then out at 10p and back to work the next day again. So I would like a morning gig but heck, at this point, I would be fine just working in radio anywhere for really anyone or anything.
7) How are you finding the "courtesy level" at places you've applied? (Callbacks, e-mails, rejection letters, etc.)
WOW, this is a loaded question ... Let me fill ya in. I applied for a job and was told that they had filled it, but they would have me come out and audition for an afternoon gig, then if they could figure out a way to get rid of the people in the spot, I could have it. Another gig, I had the PD call me, they were sold on me and I was pretty much ready to pack my bags, but I had to talk to the owner and sales manager the next day. There was no call, and eventually, after me tracking them down, it turns out that they had budget cuts and could not hire, then they hired a Sports Director, and they're still looking for a morning show.
Another job, I spoke to the owner, he liked me and said he would be calling after Thanksgiving. No call (shocker), and when I talked to them on e-mail, they said, "You're still in the running." Then they turned around and posted the ad again within 30 minutes (by the way, they are still searching). Another job, they wanted to hire me, but after several e-mails and several months of run around, I showed up one day just to take a tour of the station, and ended up getting a rejection letter as soon as I left the parking lot. Most jobs anymore send you the ol' "If you meet the requirements, we will contact if not, good luck in your search." It's almost like a pre-emptive rejection letter. Odd business we all work in, but we are all addicted to it like a crazy high school ex girlfriend.
8) Are you spending as much time listening to radio as you used to?
Yes, I spend a lot of time listening to radio. I do not hardly watch TV anymore. I listen to radio from all over the country. I listen to Rush Limbaugh, Ed Schultz and people like Glenn Beck. I listen to Active Rock stations and Country stations as well. I seem to be coming into some sort of love for people like Alex Jones due to his entertainment and host presentation. Yeah, when I was working on-air, I listened to local radio just to see how bad it was, and how I could improve on it. Now local radio just ticks me off, because some of the clowns who have spots are just downright terrible and I cannot believe I am not working, while these folks are drawing a pay check.
9) What has been your biggest career accomplishment?
It's a tie between two accomplishments. The first was when I re-imaged 92.7 The Fan, going from 92.7The Zoo. I made that station sound and act like a major-market station. I listened to a ton of major-market stations, and this tiny station in the middle of Kansas sounded like WFAN and others in the country. We also managed to take advantage of my past guest contacts from Internet radio, and we booked former Eagle Vince Papale and boxing legend Roy Jones Jr., along with upcoming UFC stars and pro wrestlers from Ring of Honor Wrestling. No one in the market was doing that. The biggest accomplishment the jerks down the street pulled off was the local basketball coach talking about "his kids."
The second biggest accomplishment was after I was off-air for awhile, I took a "small Internet following" and had the whole town and whole state talking about our Sunday radio program. I got coverage from the local paper, I had many of the mainstream brick-and-mortar stations attempting to copy us on every level, and all we did was broadcast the show out of my small apartment and build our following on Twitter and my website. We managed to expose the Exec. Director of the local cable access station, which was funded by the city, an embezzler, and she was using city money to go on shopping sprees and such, and I covered it while the other "mainstream stations" didn't. We got heat, but when the contract came up for renewal, they got their funds cut by a third.
10) If you were offered a similar position to what you were doing for considerably less money, would you seriously consider taking the job just to stay in the biz?
I do not have a house and family to worry about, and I'm not a "market legend." I can pack up and go anywhere, and I would be willing to work for whatever you wanna pay me, which is why I have applied for everything under the sun. I could go to Alaska and do afternoons on a News/Talk station. I can go to Hope, AR and do Country mornings, or I could board op or be a promotions director in New Jersey. I just wanna work again due to my social media experience, my video and website production and my talk and interview skills, as well as other music DJ skills. I can be an asset to any company, large ... small ... whatever. So hell yeah, I would pack it all up tomorrow and head to wherever the money and the job was for whatever the company wanted to pay me.
My favorite new diversion is ...
It has to be getting back into doing a daily radio program for Talkradiox.com from 4-6p Central/5-7p Eastern. I book my own guests. I do everything except the voiceovers, which my close personal long time friend Greg Jordan from JordanProductions.net does for us. I have been talking to such people as major recording acts coming into the area for concerts. I have been working with lot of my guest booking agencies and maintaining my syndication deals that I have built since 2000 while awaiting my next shot back into mainstream radio. I also hit up every record company and venue for interviews, and 90% of the time I gain access. Other times I have to go around to get my interview, but in the end it's all free publicity for the venue, artist, label, etc.