10 Questions with ... Jim Fox
May 21, 2013
1) What was your first job in radio? Early influences?
I grew up on KRGN, 1460 KENO, then KLUC in the '60s and '70s. The radio was always on around my house. My dad was what we'd call today an uber-P1. Like most people, I've often associated experiences, even from when I was very young, with a particular station and what was on it at the time. If I were to hear "59th Street Bridge (Feelin' Groovy)" from Harpers Bizarre right now, it'd still take me back to the '60s and I'd be at my grandparents' house.
2) What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
As a teenager I connected a turntable to the mic input on a CB radio and a future programmer was born.
3) How long have you been at KRXQ (98 Rock) and what makes this station so unique?
Ten years this October. 98 Rock is simply bigger than the sum of its parts. It has a swagger you don't feel at many stations anymore.
4) Let's talk about Rob, Arnie & Dawn in mornings. I've known these guys and the power their show has in several markets. Being Sacramento-based, how much impact do they have in the market for 98 Rock?
I often wonder whether the show is a product of Sacramento or if Sacramento is a product of this show. I don't believe there has been a more influential show on a wider range of demographics here ... maybe Limbaugh when he originated from here many years ago.
5) You've also launched an Alternative station in KKDO during your tenure in Sacramento. How long has that station been on the air and how is it doing in the market?
We launched RADIO 94.7 three years ago. The vision was a station created in the opposite image of 98 Rock. We chose to take a "no DJs" approach, not because we had to, but because it uniquely set RADIO 94.7 apart from nearly all other brands in Sacramento and we've stood by that promise. KKDO has grown steadily since its launch. It's currently 3rd 18-34 [behind KRXQ (1st) & KDND (2nd)] and 4th 25-54.
6) You are in the unique position of overseeing a Rock and Alternative station. Years ago, these formats shared tons of music. Now the formats seem far apart musically. What's your take on the two formats today?
We've watched over the past year as songs get their start at Alternative, then cross over to Pop. Texturally, they may be a distant cousin to the songs we see currently on the Active Rock chart, but it's encouraging to see anything under the Rock umbrella begin to do this again. There may be a revolution underway. Are we going to be open-minded enough to embrace it?
7) Let's focus on the Active Rock format now. What's your take on current Rock music? Is it as good as six months or a year ago, better, or about the same?
I've always defined the "Active" in Active Rock as relating more to the activity surrounding the station rather than the texture of the music it plays. The disconnect between the Active Rock chart and all of the other indicators of musical popularity is troublesome. If following an aging band of 37-42-year-olds to their death is the plan, so be it. That's not the plan for 98 Rock. We've relied on a strong morning show and strong personalities throughout the day to keep 98 Rock more than just a musical destination. However, musically today, older demos and younger demos have more in common than ever. Males and females have more in common than ever. We've chosen to embrace this on 98 Rock rather than hold onto the segregated niche strategies of the past.
8) You are a big proponent of music research. What kind of music research are you doing at your stations and how much do you utilize this research as opposed to gut decisions?
I'm fortunate to have ample resources to assure we keep on course. However, "a man with two watches is never quite certain what time it is." Regardless of the amount of data I receive, there is no substitute for the intuitive sense of an experienced programmer.
9) Let's talk about social media like Facebook and Twitter. How much do you utilize social media on your stations for connecting with listeners? Is there a major difference on how you use social media for KRXQ and KKDO?
I view social media as I did our old bumper sticker campaigns: I know they are of value to the brand even if I can't produce any data to quantify it. KRXQ approaches social media with more than 25 years of heritage and very clearly defined personalities. KKDO tends to speak with one collective voice since it boasts "no annoying DJs".
10) In addition to your role as Station Manager for KRXQ and KKDO, you've recently been named OM for all six Entercom Sacramento properties. Congratulations, now when will you have time to sleep?
Ha ha! Who said I slept before?