10 Questions with ... Oliver Jackson
June 23, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I have been involved in radio for over 32 years, I started as a street team kid back in the '80s under DJ Bam for WLOU 1350 AM out of Louisville KY and I have not looked back. I currently oversee 83 privately-owned radio stations at which I control all programming and music. These are stations I have built over the years. The programs most of them run are Jazlier & Sam Broadcaster, which I control thru my smartphone.
1) You caught the radio bug while in the army; how did that happen?
No, I caught the radio bug when I was 13 years old back in 1983-84 as a street team kid once I saw the inside of the radio station for the first time. Once I got into the military, the US Army, I went to advanced communication school were I learned how effective radio can be if used right. (I can't get into to details based on security reasons!)
2) You are man of many talents; could you share with us the technical side of you and where it came from?
Well, I have always been a hands-on, lead-by-example type of guy. I pride myself as a student to this very day. I'm always looking for what tech will offer tomorrow as far as communication goes. Yes, I'm a RADIO NERD. I find it's easier when you build a radio station from the ground up. Why? Because it makes things easier to trouble shoot when things go wrong. I say the tech pretty much came from always being a man behind the scene so every time there was a problem the owners were spending money that they really did not have in the budget operating cost.
3) So with all that engineering and technical knowledge, where did the club jock and mixing music originate?
Everything pretty much started as a roadie; I had been out on tour helping setting up different acts from hip-hop to rock. The club scene played a small role, it was more so touring. When I was not dee-jaying I was learning how to run sound boards.
4) What is your role with all low-powered FMs and online stations you are involved with? By the way, what is the total number of stations?
My role is to program and add new music and troubleshoot all 83 stations. At some I am the station manager, at others I am everything, lol. I mainly focus in on imaging thru social media to energize the youth who are the future listeners.
5) Your Kokomo situation is unique; would you share it with us?
Yes, Kokomo, IN is unique in many ways, it is known as the city of first, it's the only city in the U.S that offers free public mass transit, "Bus Service." Kokomo sits between two major radio markets; WTSX is 50 miles north of Indianapolis and 120 miles south of Chicago. Plus we are located inside of an 1,100-cap concert venue which is All Ages with a full-service restaurant. Our location is very attractive to bands and acts because it gives them another place they can make some money in route to there other gigs
6) How did you become so involved with independent music artists and managers?
I became involved with them been behind the scenes, setting up interviews for on-air personalities just networking pretty much.
7) Would you share your thoughts on the future for the music industry?
The future of the music industry, hmmmmmmm ... well, personally the powers-that-be need to open their eyes because the indie artists are learning more and more and getting paid just as much. I would love to sit down with them and just say, "Hey, are you all deaf and blind?" That is just my opinion.
8) How do you see the future for traditional radio, low-powered FMs and online stations?
In the next five years, every car coming off the line will have WiFi, meaning radio has a major chance to rebound with in the right hands. We at WTSX stream online through TuneIn because of our sponsors from around the country, we want them to hear the ads, In October of 2015, the FCC is talking more changes to make LP-FMs more flexible with mainstream radio. Radio will always be around, we as owners, managers and PDs just have to reinvent there brand and know how to energize current and future listeners if not radio will just die out like the 45s, 33s, 8-Tracks, cassettes ... soon the CDs, too.
9) What is the process for putting together a Low Powered FM?
Structure a plan of action (POA), find out if the FCC is taking applications, see if the window is closed or open, know the area well before you're granted an FCC Building Permit. LP-FMs are not for everyone because we have tighter rules placed on us; we are limited to 100 K, which is a limited area of coverage. Do your research first; it might just be easier to take over a dark station (Dark station is when it has not been running for less than one year) Do a management agreement with the current owners and you take it over, which is cheaper.
10) What are your goals?
My goal is to drive economic growth to our listening area, by offering more live entertainment. Kokomo, IN is a blue-collar car plant town, so I know the money is there. We just have to give them the products the listeners want. Team Work Makes A Dream Work. Radio is not about one person's vision; we are the People's #1 Party Station.
Are there things about you others would be surprised to know?
I am not a nice guy; I am a straight shooter, I turn down more projects than I accept, no matter what the budget is. It makes the owners get mad, but all budgets are not good budgets. I used to speak six languages working radio around the world.
What's your favorite childhood memory?
Meeting the late JMJ "Jam Master Jay of Run DMC in Louisville KY back in the '80s.
Who were your mentors and would you share with us how each contributed to your life and career?
Well, I have had many over the years. I have to give credit to were it all started for me meeting the late great JMJ Jam Master Jay in the '80s before meeting him I was just another B-Boy, a.k.a. Pretty Boy going nowhere fast. I never thought of becoming a DJ, yet alone getting into radio, so I say thank you, Jam Master Jay. May you rest In Heaven sir.