10 Questions with ... Jaime Ames "Just Jaime"
July 5, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
AKA Amy James. Like most, I fell into this career path by accident. Unlike most, it happened in Fairbanks, Alaska while I was in college and had a part-time job as a "numeral display technician" for the local MMA fights. The guy who interviewed me for the fight was named Ken Vehmeier and he turned into a great mentor for me and really pushed me into quitting all four of my part-time jobs and focusing on radio. Eventually I quit three of them (kept waiting tables), switched my major to Broadcast Journalism and started 7-midnight on KWOLF 981, and eventually joined to the X-Rock morning show next door as well. Eventually I also became the ring announcer for the fights, which I liked better because the outfits were more comfortable and my family quit making fun of me. Friends said, "This is what you've always done! Weighing in on pop culture and music news. Now you just have a bigger audience!" and they were right. Radio was very comfortable for me. After that I chased every opportunity I saw, which took me to a fantastic and tight knit radio group in Anchorage, AK, where I also did sales and stand-up comedy, then to Honolulu, Denver, and now Morgantown, WV. And, yes, I am fully aware of how bizarre that list is.
1) What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
It's a bad idea to eat food brought to the station by listeners. There was a salmon chocolate chip cookie incident in Alaska that is still difficult for me to talk about (shudder).
2) Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
I am a big fan of Gavin from The Wake Up Call on 107.9 The End in Sacramento. When we first start in radio, they tell us to be careful of what opinions we give, how much we share of ourselves, and warn us that there will be many sacrifices we need to make for the sake of our career. Gavin openly gives his opinions about things, even if it's not popular. The listeners are SO engaging with him (good or bad!) on social media and he responds appropriately. This past year Gavin experienced the unimaginable tragedy of losing a child. He and his wife took it on the air and really put themselves out there, during what was probably the saddest time in their lives. They wanted to educate and be there for other families who had experienced a loss like theirs. My radio partner at the time, John Moug, and I were huddled around my iPhone listening to it and before I knew it, I was crying. I cried for this family I never met, but felt connected to anyway. He brought that emotional connection to the listener by being completely authentic and sharing a deep part of himself which is terrifying to do. Gavin is a reminder to me to be the best, but most authentic, version of myself every day on the air. Keeping things as real as you can is what keeps the listener coming back.
3) What is your favorite part of the job?
You've heard the phrase "Let your freak flag fly?" Well, we are an industry of freaky, unusual people, and it's the only business I know where that's an asset! I grew up thinking I'd eventually be a boring adult who sits at a desk and does paperwork and wears grey pantsuits every day. My favorite part of the job is that it doesn't feel much like a job at all and I never have to wear grey pantsuits. My job (and especially my current station in Morgantown) encourages me to play every day.
4) What's the coolest promotion you've ever been involved with?
Well, it wasn't a promotion as much as a community event and live broadcast. Doing radio in Alaska is unique in SO many ways (weather conditions aside), and that wasn't wasted on me at all. During the Iditarod races (dog sled mushing) I was out in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere, up to my knees in snow with an iPhone in one hand and a stopwatch in the other. It was my job to time the racers as they came by and then I would call in and give updates. I was very cold and my phone kept freezing up, but it was such a unique experience, and afterward my co-workers and I went for drinks at a local bar, and it might have been one of the best times I ever had. I was still sort of new to radio at that point, so it was a bit of an initiation for me and my co-workers were so great about welcoming me in.
5) What's one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
Despite the listeners not being able to see me most of the time, I wear high heels every day (with few exceptions). The reason behind this: I am very short and I feel as though I can assert myself more when I'm at eye level with people. When I am in flat shoes it is easier for me to be overlooked (literally) and in heels I have better posture. I also like to think that the sound of my heels walking down the hall strikes fear into the hearts of enemies. But I doubt it.
6) What artist would we be surprised to find on your personal playlist?
Probably Kenny Rogers. I'm a big fan of "Lucille" for some reason.
7) What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
When I was very young, my favorite song was "KYW news Radio 1060." The station jingle would get stuck in my head for days and I loved it! Maybe I was destined for radio from the start ... So I suppose that was my favorite radio station since it's what my parents listened to a lot.
8) Who would be a "dream guest" to have on your show?
Andy Cohen would be my dream guest. He not only makes a great interviewer but he makes a great guest as well. I love hearing stories about how he moved up in the industry doing whatever it took, but he was able to make a ton of friends along the way who later became guests on the show. It also seems like he really incorporates his whole life into Watch What Happens live from the set (clubhouse) to having his parents as guests and his dog wandering around the show.
9) What is the most challenging part of the job?
As a general rule: The salary for a radio personality is lousy unless you're Ryan Seacrest or Howard Stern. Having a good relationship with and trust in the sales team is important, as well as good communication with management.
10) What are your favorite show prep sources?
Fark.com is one of my new favorites because it includes a lot of weird stories. I also like Facebook, even if it's just to find conversation starters.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
It changed all the time, but the most memorable one was that I wanted to be a cocktail waitress in Atlantic City. I wasn't much of a dreamer, I guess.