Jeremy Louis Interview 10-1-18
Production Director/On-Time Traffic Reporter
Career Capsule: I started my broadcasting career while a student at Moody Bible Institute in 1998. With MBN, I was a production assistant with a national news/talk show which really was instrumental in my next job. After college, went on to KGBI/Omaha (02-07) as morning show producer/staff announcer. From there, KJTH/KLVV – OK (05-07) as Assistant Program Director/Announcer/Production assistant. Then we moved on to KLRC – Siloam Springs, AR (07-14) starting as Production Director then adding title of APD then PD for an online CHR station I helped create and program. In late 2014 we were called to join JOY FM/BOOST in St Louis where I serve at Production Director and fill in with multiple on-air roles including afternoon traffic reporting.
Jeremy, tell us what’s new at JOY FM… news, changes, & with YOU… etc?
For me personally, life’s been a beautiful chaos the past 5.5 years for sure! If you don’t know our family story, I’d love to share it with you anytime. Short story…in 2013, after 11 yrs of marriage and difficulty having kids, we adopted 2 from Ethiopia – found out we were pregnant – had a baby that DEC then 2 yrs later had another addition. So that’s 4 kids in basically 2.5 yrs!!! Parenting a teen and toddlers definitely provides a TON of relatable content for me to share on the air. This fall we’ll have a 7th grader, 5th grader, pre-K and a crazy fun nearly 3 yr old!
At JOY FM we just wrapped up a fun month of ‘live’ concerts – which was our first time ever broadcasting them “live” from The Mix (our event space here at the station which seats about 200). It was very well received by the artists, those in attendance and those listening on-air as well.
Christian Radio has become very competitive… what do you do to stand out from the crowd?
I try to just be myself, but maybe a slightly more articulate version on air. Sharing life’s successes, challenges and occasional hilarity (which often happens with a family of 6) in a well thought out manner helps too.
What is the best programming/show advice you’ve been given?
BEST: One topic per break and pretend your sitting across the table from a friend. Also, be yourself, not you trying to be someone else.
WORST: “Why not just find another career field?”(was said by a friend when a previous station I was at was being sold) Needless to say, I felt called to stay in radio and we moved away from friends/family.
Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?
The more the merrier, right? Well, that is IF you are truly programming with excellence and attempting to provide something that the other current stations are not achieving or reach a new/different audience. My dream would be that every single market would have multiple Christian stations with a variety of formats. More on the challenges…or ‘opportunities’ later.
Having the same format station in a market with the same coverage area is kind a like having two Chick-fil-A’s across the street from each other. Or maybe 2 churches across the street from each other. Why not be at the ‘church’ across the street that has the ‘old church choir’ while the other church is bump’n some Andy Mineo, Lecrae or Twenty One Pilots. You won’t be stealing anyone’s “joy” but helping to spread more of it in a different way.
What is the ONE thing you must have everyday to do your job/show?
Coffee. Good coffee that is. (My wife managed a Starbucks years ago so we’ve got high standards in our house you could say).
Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?
Hopefully from some great colleges that still see value in broadcasting, but also in other places too. Passionate fans who love are great conversationalists and storytellers. Your future afternoon or midday host might just be a core listener right now who’s never been behind a studio mic before..
Seriously though, I believe the talent is out there and it’s just a matter of finding and showing the right people that radio (terrestrial and online) can be an effective way to communicate the gospel while have fun at the same time.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
Finding and developing new music and artists. Also, the battle against comfort vs. the uncertainty of risk in trying something new.
Big questions– where will future audience and funding come from for current CCM AC stations? Also, which stations are willing to let go of older methods/practices and utilize newer and possibly more effective ways of sharing hope with the world?
Also, just simple attention span and bandwidth of the public is a challenge with so many options for entertainment, music and just plain distraction. It could be very helpful for each station/ministry to do their own S.W.O.T. analysis to help shed light on areas of growth. If you don’t have a clear cut mission and current vision/values statement then that might be a good place to start too!
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
Mark Michaels (KLRC)- one of my best friends and a man who has modeled a passion for ministry in every programming decision. I could write a book, but will save that for another time…
Mike Couchman- crazy innovative in his programming ideas, a great creative writer and someone who challenges me to be better. Plus, he’s been a great boss too.
Wayne Shepherd- consistent example of radio professionalism and someone who helped a young kid figure out that studying broadcasting in at MBI in Chicago would be a great idea. Over 17 years later, I’m forever grateful for his inspiration to be constantly improving.
Jason Rackow- amazing skills in writing and production, plus he’s a great abstract artists as well. (check out his stuff sometime for your radio station)
Sterling Tarrant- Even before doing a short mentoring experience years ago, I’ve admired his insane creative abilities – both in production and writing. He is super humble and always willing to respond to my email questions.
Kris Byerly- crazy talented, especially with trying things that many would never dream of on CCM radio. Love him pushing the boundaries!
Oh and Casey Kasem because growing up, I loved sitting in the car listening to The American Top 40 while waiting for my parents to get done talking to their friends after church. Plus, all those ‘long distance dedications’ – and his cameo on my favorite show Saved by the Bell was pretty cool too! (Do the ‘sprain’ 😉