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Feature Interview

Jim McDermott


KCVO Spirit FM

Camdenton, MO

To contact Jim click here


Jims' Career Capsule

Started as evening announcer at KRMS AM & FM at the Lake of the Ozarks in 1978. Moved to KHYM-AM, Gilmer, TX, in 1979 as News Director and afternoon host, promoted to Station Manager, KLXL, Dubuque, IA, 1980 to 1993. Returned to the Lake of the Ozarks and started KCVO as the first station of the Lake Area Educational Broadcasting Foundation in 1985. The network now has 11 stations airing the Spirit FM/AC format and two stations airing the Pulse Channel/CHR format.


1. Tell us any recent changes (news) at Spirit FM?

We had a number of recent personnel changes in 2014, with 3 long term employees moving away. Therefore, we have new people in all three dayparts: Megan Albers joins the morning show this month, Brook Ullum returns after 7 years (formerly on mornings) and is now teamed with Scott Johnson in the afternoons and Jackie Moore has taken over the Mid-day slot. The other big change was the addition of a new 23,500 watt station here at the Lake broadcasting our CHR/rock format, The Pulse Channel.


2. What is the best programming advice you've been given? The worst?

Best programming advice: Be consistent. When I started KCVO, it was all over the road with programs, Southern Gospel, Inspo, AC and Rock, all dayparted through out the week.  I learned from attending NCRS to pick an audience and consistently program what that audience wants. Worst advice: Not to upgrade our signal to 40,000 watts back in 1992 because the Board said we'd just be reaching more "turkeys and squirrels."


3. Regarding your career, what are you most proud of?

I would say I'm most proud of being able to find great talent. Many people reading this interview will recognize these names: Lisa Williams, Faron Dice and Karen Cruse (or now Sarah Cruse). Those were all people who got there start at KCVO and I'm very pleased at where they went after they left here. Secondly, I'm proud that we have been able to expand through the years to the network we now have. That's because of good programming and great people.


4. What is the ONE thing you must have everyday to do your job?

A Coke or a Pepsi is pretty much an absolute to get through a morning show!  LOL  Seriously, the Internet has become a radio show necessity. I especially appreciate the Christian Radio Show Prep Facebook group started by Joe Polek.


5. Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?

That is a tough one...I used to have lots of applicants, but not so many now. I think it will mostly come from networking and by good PD's keeping their eyes open as they meet talented young people. We also need better and increased recruiting to keep young talent from choosing "cooler" internet opportunities.


6. Do you feel syndication is good or bad for Christian radio?

I have to admit I like live people in the studio. I like having a person there to answer the phone and to interact on Facebook. But syndication can make a station sound really good. Will it keep listeners over the next 5 years? Only if the syndicators offer their product exclusively to radio. If those same choices are available on the web, radio will get dropped.


7. Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?

Biggest obstacles facing all radio stations are the takeover of the car dashboard, the changing listening habits of those under 35, and the projected high costs of music royalties. Specifically Christian radio: the total liberalization of our society through the government educational system. Being a Christian is not valued by many these days because Christians have standards of right and wrong. That goes against the prevalent idea of tolerance. Even among younger Christian you see those standards eroding away.


8. Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?

I have several: Jon Hull has been a mentor since before I met him in person. While serving together on NCRS and CMB, he has taught me so much about this ministry. Other radio greats who accepted and encouraged a manager from a tiny little station in Missouri: Bob Augsburg, Todd Isberner, Wayne Pederson, Tim McDermott, Chris Lemke and (on the music side), Grant Hubbard. There really are too many to list!


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