10 Questions with ... Jon Hart
February 15, 2010
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I've spent 23 years in Kansas City radio, mostly mornings. Started at AOR-formatted KYYS, 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 did you become interested in radio?
There was a radio club in my high school, which we blatantly used to skip class."Excuse me, I'm needed at the radio station." It worked like a charm.
2. You had many years of commercial radio experience before you went to the noncommercial side. What programming tenets have you brought along with you?
I believe in a certain amount of repetition If you love a song on the station, there should be an implied promise that if you listen long enough you'll hear it again.Our goal is to play a great song enough for the audience to become familiar, but stop long before we drive it into the ground.
3. How do you approach the Kansas City market with limited signal saturation?
We have to create a unique radio station that matters so much to the listeners that they're compelled to fight through whatever signal issues they may experience. Additionally, we have high-quality streaming available. Hopefully, someday we'll resolve the issue in a more concrete fashion.
4. How would you describe the music on the station?
It is incredibly broad. We're currently playing both the Gorillaz and Johnny Cash. We don't focus on a demographic, but rather the psychographic of a new music lover. We try to stay away from the more formulaic Hot AC leaning songs. Just give us a good song.
5. What goes on in your weekly music meeting?
We hold each other accountable. The favorite question is "Why?" If you have a strong opinion about why we should or shouldn't play something, you should be able to articulate it. We make an effort to acknowledge our personal weaknesses and advocate for the listener as opposed to our own personal taste.
6. Most surprising record of the past 12 months?
Moreland and Arbuckle use a guitar built from a cigar box. If you've got anything more surprising than that, I'd like to know.
7. What has been the station's biggest accomplishment?
Prior to the format change, the station's failure to hit performance criteria placed it at risk of being de-funded by CPB. KTBG is now fully qualified and no longer at risk. The only way that happens is if you are actually serving listeners.
8. In what way has your job changed over the past year?
The station's fundraising has never been better, but we face the threat of state funding cuts for the University. We need to be stronger financially to weather the challenges we'll undoubtedly face from outside forces.
9. What would surprise people most about the station?
The best air staff in Kansas City is largely made up of University students.
10. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ...
... touching base with my wife, Leslie.
If you wanted to completely change careers today, what would you do?
You presume that what I'd like to do would actually pay the bills. I've just finished a first draft of a screenplay, so we'll go with screenwriter.
Last non-industry job?
Meter reader/dog bitee
First record ever purchased?
Meet the Beatles
Gary Lewis and the Playboys (I was 8 or 9)
Favorite band of all-time?