10 Questions with ... James Tyler
May 20, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I began my radio career in Saint Paul, MN attending Brown College, learning the ropes from the best instructors, some of whom are legendary in our industry. Shout-out to Mike Kronforst and Mr. Olsen! From there I scored a part-time gig at WDAY (Y94)/Fargo, ND. I had one five-hour shift once a week with board op duties. After the night guy left the station I secured the night show, weeknights from 7-midnight. I learned EVERYTHING I could about how to run a station from the amazing JT, my PD, and was given the opportunity to be MD for a sister station. Three years later I got the call from upstairs saying they wanted me to move out west to run KUJ, and here I am!
1) How would you describe your first radio gig?
Exciting, exhausting, and AWESOME! JT, my PD, gave me so many opportunities for growth while I was a part-timer, and a rare thing is he helped me learn like (nerd alert) I was the Luke to his Yoda. I got to be a pseudo-street promotions coordinator, and quickly was out in the community on a semi-daily basis! My one live shift was from 7-midnight on Saturdays and I was allowed so much freedom to experiment with my sound to begin forming my personality. I am very thankful for the management I had there, and taking a risk on a part-time gig. When I became full-time, I was given the task of Imaging Dir., and with that continued guidance I was able to learn every aspect of running a station.
2) What led you to a career in radio?
I have been a radio and music junkie my whole life. I always had it on, whether it was in the barn on our farm, or in my first job as a cook, music, talk, sports, (go Twins!!) I soaked it all in. I found myself being more interested in what was happening between the songs, and enjoying compelling content when the music wasn't on. One day I had a moment that was like: "I need to know more about this, let's do radio school!"
3) Are you wearing more "hats" than you have in the past?
Not at all. I have always had a goal of having the knowledge of every aspect of how a station runs, and also being able to DO any of those tasks well, which are two very different things. Whatever I need to be to help us be more successful, that is what I do every day. I see this career as using your knowledge -- and the knowledge of those around you -- to make the best product you can. You have to be willing to do it all to make that happen.
4) "Local local local" has always been radio's mantra. How do you keep your station visible and involved in the community?
Getting involved with as many events that are happening in the area as we can. We contact the people running events and let them know that we appreciate what they are doing, and that we want to help, to which they always say yes! We get to meet so many great fans this way, and hear so many stories of people excited to have been on with Reka & Gunner in the Morning, etc. We also create community events! I am blessed to have a great morning team who loves being out, and they love helping people. Recently, Reka set up a clothing drive which was a MONSTER success in helping kids at a local school get some new clothes. Reka & Gunner in the Morning also did a Christmas Wish last holiday season, and helped so many people with toys for the family, a dinner for the holiday, even helping one woman get her child into preschool when she couldn't afford it! These type of things are how you cement yourself as an involved local member of your community.
5) What is your favorite part of the job?
Along with my PD duties, I do almost all of our station imaging, and that is the BEST! I love sitting down with some VO, and making it into a compelling and exciting piece that will engage our fans! I also appreciate the amount of patience it takes to make it sound perfect.
6) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
Kane in D.C. He and his entire morning show team have an amazing ability to connect with their fans through their humor, the stories in their lives, and their unique opinions on the hot stories of the day. I believe that the degree of "real" that the show has is unmatched.
7) Who would be a "dream guest" to have on your show?
Justin Timberlake! The only problem would be because of my slight man crush I probably would be blushing and unable to speak!
8) What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
KDWB/Minneapolis. I grew up in a small town in Minnesota, but my cousins, who are more like siblings, lived in the Twin Cities area. I would go visit every summer, and we ALWAYS listened to Dave Ryan! Awesome show ... so funny, relatable, and when you are young it's like getting away with something when you are listening!
9) What is it about our industry that keeps you wanting to do it for a living?
The fans. Connecting with the people who hear you every day, and getting out on the street and seeing them and the passion they have for my station is such a great feeling, and I love being able to have a part in creating that.
10) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
If you work hard, and you dedicate yourself to excellence and constant learning by being a student of radio, you will see success.
What ringtone do you have on your cell?
My call tone is the song from the first level of "Super Mario World" (can't beat the SNES) My text tone is the communicator from "Power Rangers." (I am quite a nerd.)