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March 18, 2014

Our Neighbors: ‘On air’ aspirations from a young age

(Continued)

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —

“In other words, no one will laugh along if you aren’t willing to laugh at yourself. You also have to communicate with your audience. Find a common ground, you have to make a connection. You have to be yourself, and you have to be everyman, all at once. If that makes sense.”

So, each time Jervis opens the mic, there’s a plan in place. While technology has allowed him “floating clocks,” meaning he no longer has to sit there and time out to the top of each hour’s news and so forth, there is still a schedule he sticks to.

The owners essentially decide what the format will be. But if a DJ  wants to take it even further than that, it would be the listeners who have the last word.

“If no one’s listening, the station won’t be selling any ads, and if revenue is down, in the immortal words of the great Sam Cooke, you can bet ‘A format change is gonna come!’”

Probably the most challenging or hardest part a DJ encounters these days is to stay relevant, because people have so many choices. They try to remain local to build a loyal audience, and of course the challenge is to be relevant while still being informative and entertaining.

“I think the most important part is probably getting timely information out to the public and on the air, but let’s face it: listeners also want to be entertained. So you try and strike that balance,” Jervis said.

And, throughout his radio career, Jervis has tried to maintain that balance.

“You must have thick skin because it’s a highly competitive entertainment medium. And most importantly, you must know your audience: who they are and how they tick.”

Although he  knows what his early morning listeners want, becoming an early morning personality has not been easy for him.

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
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