Jay Beau Jones
By Mark LaSpina

Jay Beau Jones

Jay Beau Jones grew up listening to the jocks on WRKO/Boston. From those early days, his decision to make his career in radio was born. His first stop found him at WHTT/Boston in 1979 where he was on the air and also gained his first programming experience as APD/MD. He would move to APD/MD positions at WKSS/Hartford (1984-87) and WEGX/Philadelphia (1987-1991), before landing the VP/Programming gig back in Hartford at WKSS & WMRQ in 1991. In 1998 it was off to Chicago to program WKSC and WUBT. In 2002, Jay headed back to east coast to program WXLO, WWFX, WORC/Worcester, before arriving at his present post in Boston in 2008. Jay was inducted into the FMQB Hall of Fame in the AC/Hot AC Programmer category in 2008.

Boston’s always been a highly competitive radio market. Does having great competition in the market make for better radio?
I’d like to think so. This market and cluster has great programmers, great talent, operators and stations. The bar is raised every day by CBS Radio President Dan Mason, our chief programmer Greg Strassell and our Market Manager Mark Hannon. We are always encouraged to think out of the box and make great radio cut to cut song to song.

As a veteran programmer, how have things changed for you in a PPM world?
PPM is a game changer. With PPM we now have more tools to maximize the execution of the brand. It’s not about just marketing and recall anymore. In the diary world, a strong BRAND that is poorly executed could survive and even win. PPM has changed that. While a strong brand is still very important, the execution of the brand is critical and in some cases, MORE important than the brand strength itself. It has helped me because I have very smart heritage air talent on both stations that understand ratings methodology. With PPM I can isolate day-parts and use that as a tool to coach talent. For example if I see a dip somewhere, I can track it to the actual point of execution complete with audio and graphs and then point it out to the talent before their very eyes. It’s easier to ‘show’ the air-talent the reality rather than ‘telling’ them. They respect it as well and walk out of the meeting reinvigorated with the tools they need to win.

Musically WBMX is pretty aggressive, almost to the point of being a hybrid CHR station. How do you decide the timetable on when to play the more CHR-oriented material? 

I don’t really label music by format. I label it as “fit.” Does it “fit” Mix and meet the expectation of the Mix listener. No matter the format each music station has its own natural cycles of proper music rotation timing based on heritage, market conditions, competition, product cycles, and so forth. It’s up to the PD and programming team to figure that out and execute it balancing the periods of when to be safe and aggressive.

You have a strong morning show with Karson & Kennedy. To what do you attribute their success in the market?

First K and K are a joy to work with. They work very hard, live and breath the market and MIX 1041. K and K have known each other and worked together for 10+ years so they come to the table with built in chemistry. You can instantly hear that on the air. Also, Karson and Kennedy are fresh voices in the market with a unique point of view on Pop culture and music. While I see them as bigger-than-life radio personalities with a tremendous future, on the air they are real people like our listeners and sound that way.

          We have an amazing air-staff. The afternoon show with 15 year Mix vet Gregg Daniels mixes music and personality with Fast Freddy Murphy and Sue Brady delivering almost a morning show type presentation in afternoon drive, but at a faster pace for PPM. 

          Middays is MIX vet Erin O’Malley who is a companion to the at work listener and like K and K, Gregg, Sue and Freddy, Erin contributes to the overall brand success. 

Talk about the Mike Mullaney factor. How integral is he to the success of WBMX?

Mike is the station cheerleader and part of the fabric of this legendary station. He’s in my opinion the best MD in the country. One of my favorite days of the week is our music meetings. We attack it like Bill Belechek and Tom Brady creating the playbook for Sunday’s game. My programming team consists of Mike who is also the APD/MD, Mark “Cali” Calendrello the Promotion Director, and Damon Oaks our Image Director. These are the best Hot AC players in the business in my opinion.

How important is imaging in general to create a persona for the station?

It’s very important, right under great personalities and the right music. PPM programmers and Image Directors have a new challenge in creating exciting memorable radio these days that keeps momentum in the forefront, but does not lose personality or the essence of the brand.  Damon Oaks is a terrific image guy

Which new artists excite you most?
I love Muse, Lady Antebellum and B.O.B! Buble’s music is finally as big as him, so it’s cool to see what could be called a pure AC sound on CHR again. Love P!nk and Lifehouse, too. Neon Trees did a MIX lounge for us. They were awesome.

When it comes to partnering with labels on marketing initiatives, what do you look for?

Passion and the understanding of MIX, our listeners and how we execute the brand. We have great relationships with all of the labels, big and small, and the artists as well. Last month Karson and Kennedy did a phone scam on me, using celebrity scammer, Jon Bon Jovi! Like many MIX artists, Jon gets it.

What are the keys to effectively and efficiently operating within a corporate radio system?

It’s constantly evolving. Balancing time for your company’s big picture initiatives as well as the ‘in the moment’ cut to cut daily programming is key. Team delegation and trust is critical as well.

[eQB Content by Mark LaSpina]


Nikki Nite,
VP of Prog. & Ops,

Search FMQB.com
FMQB Member Login

Not a member yet?
Sign up Now!
Sign Up for Breaking News!
Enter FMQB E-Tracking!