10 Questions with ... James Shaman
March 3, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 1995-1996 KWPC/Muscatine, IA
- 1996-1998 KOEL-A/Oelwein, IA
- 1998-1999 KEMB/Emmetsburg, IA
- 1999-2000 KLKK/Mason City, IA
- 2000-2001 KDHL/Fairbault, MN
- 2001-2003 KQPR/Albert Lea, MN
- 2003-2007 out of radio
- 2007-Present KLKK Mason City, IA
1) What was your first job in radio? Who were your early influences and mentors?
My first gig was in Muscatin, IA. I was the night jock on a small 250-watt AM station that powered down to 8 watts at night. My shift was from 6-10p. It was a great experience. I learned about true small-market radio. KWPC was and still is a leader in community service and in my opinion, one of the finest in the country. My earliest influences would have to be Casey Kasem and a local newsman in Houston named Marvin Zindler. I can remember as a kid pretending to be him and making my own tapes with a small cassette recorder my dad gave me.
2) How long have you been the PD for KLKK (103.7 The Fox) and give us the stations strengths and challenges as you move forward?
I have been the PD for seven years. The Fox has a solid listenership and a loyal audience. There are few choices in North Iowa for rock music of any type. There is a plethora of country and Hot AC but only two signals in the area with rock and roll. When I first started with The Fox I slowly began to revamp the music library and expand the playlist. One of the biggest challenges I have with the station is keeping the music fresh.
3) You also do the midday show on 103.7 The Fox. Do you do any special lunchtime benchmarks or other features during your shift?
I have hosted an All Request Lunch Hour since I started on the Fox. The minute I open the request lines they are jammed. Listeners love to have the power to choose the music. It also has been a fantastic tool for me in determining what my listeners want to hear on the station outside of the request hour. I have many times added songs into rotation that were requested.
4) You guys also run the syndicated Bob & Tom Show in mornings. Being that they are a Midwest institution and you're rocking in the Midwest, how well does the show perform for you?
The Bob & Tom Show has consistently been the #1 morning show in the market since we picked them up in 1999.
5) As a Classic Rock programmer, what's your take on the Classic Rock format as a whole?
The format is stuck in a rut. For years Classic Rock meant '60s, '70s and some '80s music. Very few stations are even looking at the music from the '90s or today. Plenty of core artists are still making great music but stations are not playing it. I have a large catalog of '90s and newer music that gets spins and the listeners love it.
6) One of the programming challenges of the Classic Rock format has always been how do you keep the station sounding fresh and relevant while it's playing Rock music that's sometimes 30 or 40 years old. Your thoughts?
Music 30 or 40 years ago was not sold one song at a time. You had to buy the entire album. I like to take some of the deeper cuts off those albums and give them a spin every now and then. Listeners love to hear something they haven't heard since they put the needle on the record so many years ago.
7) How interactive is 103.7 The Fox with its audience via your website or social media like Facebook and Twitter?
We have used Facebook for quite a few years now. I have found that it is a great way to connect with our listeners.
8) You're originally from Canada but have been living in the U.S. for quite some time. Can you give us a quick thumbnail history of your journey from living in Canada to programming a Classic Rock station in Northern Iowa?
I was born in Winnipeg, Canada and at the age of two my family immigrated to Houston, Texas. At the age of 13. we moved from Houston to Albert Lea, MN. I attended the Brown Institute of Technology in Minneapolis and began my radio career in 1996. I started out on a full service AM station and eventually transitioned over to FM and eventually to Classic Rock.
9) We recently ran a story in All Access Net News about your possibly facing deportation back to Canada that you were able to avoid. Can you give us some of the details of this story?
Sure, at the young age of 18 I made some poor decisions. I ended up sitting 35 days in jail and ended up with a criminal record. I turned my life around and have not had another run-in with the law since then. In 2011, I traveled into Canada for a family funeral. When I tried to return home I was detained at the border and informed of a new law. The law stated that anyone with a permanent green card that had a criminal record was deemed unsavory. Basically I was told I was not going to be allowed back in. After several hours at the border I was eventually paroled into the country but without a green card. The border agent cut it with a pair of scissors right in front of me. For the next four years I fought the deportation. On February 10th I received the news I had been praying to hear. The government has decided to drop the removal proceeding and allow me to stay.
10) You also told All Access that you look forward to obtaining your American citizenship in the future. What will accomplishing this mean to you?
It has been a dream of mine to be an American citizen for a very long time. There are many benefits to becoming a citizen but the biggest one for me will be finally being able to vote.
You're stuck on a deserted island and you only have 5 CDs with you. What are they?
This had to be the toughest question of the bunch.
- The Planets by Gustav Holst
- Master of Puppets - Metallica
- The Wall - Pink Floyd
- Appetite For Destruction - Guns N Roses
- The Winery Dogs - The Winery Dogs