10 Questions with ... Geno Jones
August 11, 2015
1) Who entertained you on the radio growing up?
Tom Joyner, Herb Kent, Bobby O'Jay.
2) You do stand-up? Tell us about it.
I always wrote my material for my morning and afternoon shows and I emceed shows, including comedy shows so around the late '90s, early 2000s ... I started writing/working on monologues and comedy sets at local clubs.
3) Is this one of the best gigs you've ever had?
Yes this is definitely one of the best gigs I have ever had, starting with Apex Broadcasting and (owner Dean Pierce) to working with the late Michael Tee for a decade until his untimely death last November to now working with PD Steven Crumbley. Our goal is not only to maintain the unparalleled success of the last 10 years, but to take the radio station to the next level of success. I've received an incredible amount of support from the owners and management here at Apex over the last decade, but the most significant support I've received and still continue to receive is from the people of the Charleston, SC metro area (the Low Country, as we call it here). I can't express the level of gratitude I have for the people here. The listeners have many choices of entertainment, from competing radio stations to television, the Internet, social media, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube and many more, but they have chosen to allow me to share some of their day with them (which has allowed my show to consistently be #1 in the afternoons in this market for the last decade). Thank God for ALL of them.
4) How do you approach your work on the air?
I'm an entertainer who, in between the songs and spots, has to also enlighten, inform, inspire, educate, motivate and connect with my fans and listeners with compelling content. Also, provide people a chance to escape from their everyday problems and provide a positive diversion for the time they spend with me. One of my "Golden Rules," so to speak, is "People remember how you make them FEEL longer than anything you say."
5) Who have been some of your mentors and influences?
I'd start off with Eric Faison, Buddy Scott, the late Jerry Boulding, Harry Lyles and Aundrae Russell. I mentioned Tom Joyner and Herb Kent earlier, but also people like David Letterman, Arsenio Hall, Johnny Carson and Jon Stewart.
6) You knew the late comedian Bernie Mac; can you tell us about him?
One of the funniest comedians ever, a comic icon and legend who died way too soon. My prayers still go out to his wife Rhonda and his daughter Je'Niece. In the mid-90s, we lived around the corner from each other in Chicago. We'd sit and watch Chicago White Sox baseball games and talk about life, our families, our careers and performing. Bernie was a student of history when it came to comedy. Even though he was an all-time great in comedy, he was an even better person and friend. I met him in the early '90s when Def Comedy Jam first went on tour. I dearly miss my friend Bernie.
7) Do you think air personalities have to be authentic or believable?
You have to be a bit of both -- authentic and believable. Great personalities are entertainers and actors, but at the end of the day, authenticity has been one of the keys for my success. I always say "Authenticity has no shelf life." You don't have to worry about always being "on" or playing a role or being a "character." The one thing that NO ONE in the world can beat you at is BEING YOU! So be the best YOU that you can be EVERY DAY!
8) How has your life's journey helped you in radio?
I get so much content, humor and material from everyday people, family, friends, even strangers. Also, life has taught me to treat the janitor with the same level of humanity and respect as I would treat the owner because the same people you see on the way up, you pass by on the way down! One day that janitor could become the owner.
9) Who are some of your favorite all-time jocks and tell us why and what they did to get on that list?
I'd have to start off with Herb Kent and Tom Joyner for being great entertainers on the radio, but also being able to connect in meaningful ways with their fans/listeners as real people and have their finger on the pulse of what was relevant, meaningful and important in their listeners' lives in real time. I'm also a fan of my buddies Rick Party (who's more like a brother), Doug Banks and John up in Detroit city! I enjoyed listening to Frank Ski when I commuted from Atlanta on weekends back to Charleston for my first five years here. Also, a shout-out to Ron Chavis (The Nighttime Dog), Karen Vaughn, plus the entire staff I worked with in Pittsburgh at WAMO in the early '90s. Eric Faison (PD) Porsche Foxx, Dr. Michael Lynn and J.J. Stone. One of the all-time great staffs in radio history.
10) What are your goals?
To keep doing great radio and help take Star 99.7 to the next level of greatness and success. Create content for television networks, the Internet and outlets like Netfilx and the next level of content delivery that comes our way. Finally and more important, to allow God to continue to use me, my celebrity, my platforms and all that comes along with that to be used as a vessel to be a blessing to other people to inspire, educate, inform and motivate people to be "Their Best Selves," "The best version of themselves."
Share your thoughts on the future of radio.
From a creative standpoint, those of us who remember and understand that radio is still in the entertainment business and great radio should be fun to do and listen to. Also, have compelling content and connect with listeners in a real, relevant, personal one-on-one way and knowing exactly "WHO" your audience is along with understanding that millenials (the largest demographic in America now) consume media much differently than baby boomers or generation X'ers. Smart phones, tablets, social media ... they also have shorter attention spans, more choices, love storytelling (but not in a long, drawn out boring way) and they crave authenticity. If we understand, adapt and make those necessary changes we'll be fine.
If you were given three wishes, what would they be?
- Improve my mother's health
- End the killing of unarmed black men and women especially (but people in general)
- That racism (and the institutional systems and barriers of white supremacy) sexism and bigotry in every form would end. PERIOD! FOREVER!
Stand-up and semi-pro football, what else would surprise people about you?
That there is a shy side of me and that I had the ability to play major league baseball and in my 20s, I had the speed to compete to be an Olympic sprinter (I never lost a foot race until I was in my 30s).