Jim Davis, a native of Buffalo, is currently Vice President and General Manager of Vero Beach Broadcasting, LLC which operates a cluster of four FM’s (WGYL, WJKD. WPHR and WOSN) and an AM (WTTB) .
Davis is a second generation and life long broadcaster, following in the footsteps of his mother who was a singer with the Vocalettes on WGR along with the Cheskin Orchestra. Davis began his career as an air personality in the Western New York area on WNIA, Cheektowaga and WDCX, Buffalo. He had a successful run as an air personality at some of the nation’s biggest radio stations; including WOR/FM/New York; KHJ/Los Angeles; CKLW/Detroit; WLS-AM/Chicago. While employed by RKO General Broadcasting, Davis was twice nominated for Billboard Magazine’s “Major Market Air Personality Of The Year.”
Davis entered radio management in the early 1970s as Operations Manager of American Broadcasting Corporation’s owned and operated Chicago outlet, WDAI-FM. During the next decade, Davis’s programming career encompassed several major market management positions, including WPEZ/Pittsburgh; WXYZ (ABC O&O)/Detroit; KLIF/Dallas and the flagship station of Gene Autry’s Golden West Broadcasters, KMPC/Los Angeles. In 1981, Davis entered senior management by becoming Vice President/General Manager of Radio Station WVAF/Charleston, West Virginia. He served the National Radio Broadcasters Association as State Director and was on the Board of Directors of the West Virginia Broadcasters Association. Davis received a federal appointment as State Chairman of the Emergency Broadcast System.
Davis serves on the Indian River Chamber of Commerce Executive Board as well as the marketing committee for the United Way. Davis has authored a book titled “The Sales Success Spectrum-A System Of Radio Sales,” which is used as a teaching and training manual at his stations. In his spare time, Davis is a licensed multi engine commercial instrument rated pilot and owner/operator of a Piper Pathfinder. As a Civil Air Patrol member, he participated and has been trained as a search and rescue pilot, looking for downed aircraft survivors. He has been an amateur radio operator since age twelve, holding an “EXTRA” class license – his call letters are W2JKD. He and his wife Patty reside at a fly in community in Vero Beach and have three children and 5 grand children.
Why did you join the BBA?
I am proud of my families heritage in Buffalo radio. My mom is going to be 99 in August and still has very fond memories of her time on the radio. By the way, Buffalo Bob Smith was her arranger. He kept in close touch with her until his passing.
What’s your favorite BBA event?
Iâ€™m too far away to participate in current events. However, I look forward to the newsletters to read about my friends and love the pictures on the annual calendar
What advice do you have for aspiring broadcasters?
Become a member of a stations â€œfarm clubâ€ by involving yourself AT ANY LEVEL and become a spongeâ€¦. soaking up knowledge until you have mastered it though on job training. I was a â€œpestâ€ who Mary Lounsbury kicked out dozens of times until she hired me.
How has the broadcasting industry changed over the course of your career?
The industry has become more of a professional business and less free form: Better research; better technical tools like automation and digital work platforms; higher skilled sales executives utilizing better research; more qualified administrators. The change in the multiple ownership rules in the late 90s brought larger operators to the table which in turn resulted in economy of scale savings for operators making stations more profitable. On the downside, it is more difficult (although not impossible) for upcoming talent to find entry level positions.
What are your interests outside of broadcasting?
Aviation â€“ I am a member of the Experimental Aircraft Associations Young Eagles program. Last year, I gave 50 kids between the ages of 8 and 15 their first airplane ride hoping to inspire them into an aviation career. Ham Radio â€“ I got my ham ticket at age 12 by taking a course at the Snyder YMCA. Itâ€™s been a life-long hobby. Iâ€™ve been one of the voices of the Amateur Radio Newsline for 36 years.
I am active in my church and in love with my family.