Career Capsule: First job post-grad school was as a technical writer. That was not a good fit.
Next was communications specialist, then website designer, then trainer in an HR department. Took a break to raise my kids until they were school age. While that was happening, someone asked me to voice a radio commercial—I didn’t realize it was an audition. They asked me to be their new morning show co-host—and I’ve been in radio ever since. That was 16 years ago.
Jen, what’s new at KNWI and new with you?
Oh my, that’s a loaded question! Professionally, this has been a fantastic year. Life 107.1 has had our highest ratings, including on our morning show, ever. We’ve been nominated for CMB large market station of the year and for a Marconi for Religious station of the year (2nd year in a row). I’ve been able to speak in front of women’s groups and churches and have loved every minute of it. Mornings with Taylor and Jen got our pictures on a travel mug! I mean, what could be better? Our audience has responded to listener engagement events like Single Mom’s Morning Out, the Life 107.1 Drive Thru Baby Shower, and #NoHungerCentralIowa with increasing generosity. It amazes me every time.
But personally, this has been the most challenging year I have ever endured with both health and relationship issues. God knew how much I would need the amazing team of people at Life 107.1 to be my friends and support network. They are truly His gifts to me.
What are the 3 main ingredients to make a promotion successful?
- ALWAYS start by asking the question, “What are we trying to accomplish?” You have to know where you want to go before you start the drive.
- Ask how we can engage our target listener (at KNWI we call her “Michelle”) in this promotion? Normally, my job as a listener engagement director is to help Michelle bless her community. It’s wonderful to bless 200 single moms on Single Moms’ Morning Out, and my listener loves to hear that we are doing that. But, how do we get Michelle involved? Our solution was to ask her for donations to stock the Blessings Boutique and gift bags at every SMMO location. She has responded beautifully.
- Thank her! When it’s done, share her success story with her. What did she do? Who did she help? Post pictures, tell her funny stories that happened from the event, put faces to her imagination. Make the theoretical event concrete to her by showing her how she was a hero to her community.
What’s your best promotion advice you’ve been given?
“It’s not about you, it’s about your listener.” There’s lots of things that I think would be fun listener engagement events—but what does SHE think? What’s important to HER. It’s always through the filter of Michelle.
Worst: That’s funny—it was my own advice to myself, “Sure! I can do this by myself!” yeah, didn’t work out well. Ask for help! Use your team! Recruit Volunteers!!
What are you most proud of in your career?
Oh goodness, that’s a tough one. My career path is so circuitous it obvious it’s the Lord who is directing it and not me. I’m proud that every day KNWI gets together and prays as a team and asks, “How can we serve God? How can we reach and teach? How can we engage Michelle in a deeper relationship?” And through the wonderful world of radio, God uses us to do it. It’s crazy.
What’s the one thing you MUST have to do your job every day?
I have a sign on my wall that says, “All I need today is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus.” So, there you go.
In your opinion what is the ideal station promotion?
The promotion that maximizes everyone’s strengths. So, Life 107.1 acts as a megaphone to promote it, the listener engages and shows her generosity, and the organization/recipients receive it and are blessed by it.
The most success we’ve had with social networking and promotion has been through Facebook. Really, it’s not even a competition (yet). Our target audience is still of an age that they are predominantly on Facebook, rather than Instagram and Snapchat. So, we pay a little to boost a promotion, and we see the return in website visits, generosity at our listener engagement events, and concert attendance.
How do you measure a successful promotion?
Oh my, I’ve really had to change my view of success. Do I want huge numbers and lots of donations? Yes! But, a story like this one is a success, too:
“Single Mom’s Morning Out is what led me back to church! It didn’t happen right away, but I kept randomly finding things from the gift bag around my house with Prairie Ridge church’s name on it. And my twins kept asking when they could go see Miss Tammy again (she did the childcare at SMMO). So I eventually felt that God was nudging me to go. God eventually lifted my social anxiety and my boys’ fear of men. I now have a church home with a church family that is totally beautiful! I went through an Alpha course and dedicated my life to Christ, and was baptized in December. What seemed like a nice little day of pampering—well, God used it as a life-changing event!”