10 Questions with ... Jon Hart
May 5, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Twenty-six years in Kansas City radio, mostly mornings. Started at AOR-formatted KYYS/Kansas City with later stints in Classic Rock, Sports/Talk, News/Talk and Country. Co-owner of Traditional Country KAYQ/Warsaw, MO started in 1980. Flipped non-commercial KTBG to Triple A in 2001.
1. How has the transition to new owners gone so far?
Everything is new, so it's been extremely exciting to be a part of. The response to the station has been spectacular. Our first pledge drive was the shortest in length -- and largest in money raised -- in the history of the station.
2. What tools are available to you that didn't have before?
The biggest difference is the people here, who have brought energy, expertise and their relationships in the market to our mission. We've also achieved the signal expansion we've fought for over the years, adding nearly a million potential listeners to our footprint.
3. Tell us about the new facilities.
There are new studios for the station, plus access to the already existing television studios where we've been bringing bands for in-studios with professional video. We also have our own performance space that's dedicated specifically to radio.
4. How are you getting the word out that you are in KC proper now?
Pre-launch we had a teaser website, which was followed by the website launch once the signal expansion took place. Loads of social media. Print campaign through multiple publications including the Kansas City Star and the weekly publication Ink.
The station brought 18 bands into Weights and Measures Soundlab, a local recording studio, to film performances shot for use online. Many of those bands were featured in 33 Bridge-branded billboards peppered across the city to reinforce our commitment to the local music scene.
Presence at the Middle of the Map festival, MSL Sporting KC games, and concerts across the metro. Our street teams have distributed stickers, magnets, buttons, posters and music download cards for free tracks from local bands.
5. What are some of your challenges at the station?
Finding the time to give everyone who wants to partner with us the time they deserve.
6. How would you describe the music adjustment on the station?
The public face of our playlist has changed most in our heightened commitment to local artists. Kansas City has a great local scene, and we're currently rotating over 10% local music.
After 12+ years it was time to scrape some of the barnacles off, so our first step was to evaluate what we were already doing. We brought in Mike Henry who supplied us with over 20,000 songs to select from; we judiciously filled holes and freshened our library. We eliminated NPR talk programming, so it's music 24/7 now. Tightening rotation on our top records (30 spins a week) sharpens familiarity, while our library provides depth.
7. What are music meetings like at your station?
Sarah Bradshaw, our MD, and I each go through our own process, and bring our respective short-lists to the meeting. We work together on every detail -- adds, drops and rotations.
8. What do you view as the most important issue facing non-comm radio today?
Maximizing the advantages that are inherent in our non-commercial model, and making all of our partners, including listeners, artists and the music industry fully aware of the distinct differences that benefit all.
9. What is your typical day like?
I try to be in before most, skip lunch, leave after most, and deal with whatever is most important in the given moment.
10. What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
You have to have quality relationships and relentless drive to get the most out of life.
Last non-industry job:
Reading water and electric meters in Janelle Monae's neighborhood.
First record ever purchased:
The Beatles second album.
The Doobie Brothers
Favorite band of all-time:
Now that you live in the city - what have you been doing with your spare time?
Trying to hit as many shows as possible. I prefer the ones that make my wife dance in the aisle.