The hooting and hollering was loud and clear over the airwaves from Boise State Radio last week. Among the jubilant was Programming Director Jim East, celebrating the station's finish of its $235,578 fund drive. In fact the station had its largest fund-raising day ever at the end: 341 pledges came in, raising more than $38,000 in one day. However, before he took the reins at KBSU, East was the manager for a religious radio station in Maryland.
What got you to Boise and public radio?
I'd wanted to get into public radio. That was the big goal. I found that there were things about religious broadcasting that were less about the gospel and more about politics and that just really bugged me. I encourage people to think for themselves and to be intelligent, and that's the kind of radio station I listen to when I'm not at work. So it was like, what's the problem here?
I think a lot of listeners love to hate those fund-drive weeks.
We totally know that. The thing we try to do is that if we get more voices, more community people on the air, then it makes it a lot more interesting. You get businesses, local groups, art groups, so there's content in that effort to support public radio, so that folks feel like this is fun to listen to. And, you know, I've had some people say that in the last few years, the fund drives have gotten more fun to listen to. Hey, that's music to my ears.We try to make it so that it is listenable so that folks don't think that it's just a beg-a-thon.
What's Boise State Radio's role in the community?
Boise State Radio is so unique because it is so much. It's a news station, a jazz station, a classical station. You know, Boise, for all its glory and charm, is still a very small city. Outside of Boise, there's a lot of lakes and mountains, and not a whole lot of people. So by nature of the dynamics of who we are and what we are, we have to be a community kind of resource and connect with people in a way that involves them.
We have listeners in Salmon and Stanley and the Wood River Valley. We can't be all things to all people. We'll never be the community radio for Challis. But I hope what we can give people is a good view of what's going on in central Idaho and southwest Idaho, so we can represent all of that and create a sense of community within this region.
What's your favorite program?
You know, people ask me that, but it's like asking, 'What's your favorite child?'
I do listen to Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and the news programs.
If someone listened to other stations, either FM or AM or satellite radio, how do you get them to listen to Boise State Radio?
I had an elected official who sent me an e-mail recently, and asked me a question that was very similar. They said, we would pay so much dollars for satellite radio, why should we continue our support for Boise State Radio? And I said, WWell, some NPR programs are on satellite radio, but most are not. If you have satellite radio and you're not listening to local radio, you're missing local news from the Statehouse News Bureau, you're missing Jyl Hoyt's Off the Trail, you're missing Food for Thought from Chef Doughty. You're missing local content and local features, and you're supporting a national conglomerate at the expense of your local community service." And, I said, "I think it's time that you might want to increase your pledge."