KMOX Radio, the CBS radio affiliate in St. Louis, wants to be more engaged with its vast audience.
Over the course of the last month, KMOX has conducted simulated live tryouts with a winner selected to join sports director Tom Ackerman as an on-air announcer during spring training in March.
One lucky contestant will get an all-expense paid trip to Jupiter, FL to work alongside Ackerman during “Total Information AM and PM” shows at the Cardinals spring training. This lucky winner, selected from some 125 candidates will be the sports voice of KMOX Radio during March 18-22.
It would be hard to find just about anyone who wouldn’t want to take advantage of that opportunity. With 50,000 watts, KMOX which reaches into 40 states.
This is all part of a new strategy, being developed by new KMOX marketing director Mike Phillipi and programming director Steve Moore.
Phillippi, a 2004 graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, performed as Truman the Tiger at Mizzou during his time in Columbia.
“We want KMOX to be a source for all news in St. Louis. Of course we are big on the Cardinals and the Blues," he said. "But this next year and a half will be huge into politics and we will have plenty to offer our listeners.”
“We are very strong in listeners ages 35-55 and we want younger ones too,” he said.
“We want to provide a well-rounded listening experience for our station,” he said.
The broadcast contest fits nicely into the station’s mission. Listeners are engaged and have been showing up on Wednesdays at different J. Buck restaurant locations for auditions for several weeks now.
The field will be narrowed to top 10 as selected by website visitors, who will have the chance to review the tapes of the candidates. The overall winner will be announced February 22 sometime during “Total Information AM or PM.”
Of the 125 candidates, some 15-20 have been women.
Here’s a review of some candidates this week at J. Buck’s in Clayton.
Jori Jacobi, Richmond Heights
An avid reader of the Clayton-Richmond Heights Patch, Jacobi is a graduate of Whitfield and Washington University in St. Louis. She is doing this sort of as a lark. “My dad thought this was fun. I said what the heck, I might as well try.”
These days, Jacobi is interning for Twist Public Relations in St. Louis. She has her goals set on a career move someday to New York City.
James Surgeon, Maryland Heights
Surgeon is a customs service manager for Federal Mogul, an automobile after market parts company located in Wellston.
Broadcasting is something he always had in mind. “When I was much younger, my brother and I used to pretend like we were sports announcers. We played the part of this guy Kevin Wheeler,” he said with a hearty laugh.
Just a few feet away, Kevin Wheeler of the KMOX sports staff was broadcasting his show live at J. Bucks during the auditions.
Surgeon was a tad nervous at first. “The first 10 seconds I was very nervous, but then things fell into place and I think I did pretty well.” At least he was pleased with the $10 gift certificate he got just for trying presented by J. Bucks.
Travis Green, St. Louis
Green is a 22-year-old broadcast student at Lindenwood University. He was an intern for KMOX and knew all about the contest. A graduate of St. Louis Christian Academy, Green does production work and some commentary on sports talk KSGL Radio, 1380. He’s been able to learn from veterans Bernie Miklasz and Randy Karraker on that station. “I’m just a sports fanatic. I hope this is something I get to do for a living some day.”
Jennifer Murphey Workes, Richmond Heights
She works in the merger and acquisition department of AON Corp. in Clayton, a company that works with risk management, insurance and reinsurance.
She has four children ranging in age from 6-13, all attending schools in the Maplewood District.
Her audition began mostly as a dare in the office and resulted in something she felt she could do quite well. She’s waiting the outcome from her tryout.
Tom Detmer, Breese, IL
Detmer teaches wood working and integrated industrial arts at Columbia High School, Illinois. He commutes one hour each way daily from Breese to Columbia.
Although he has a deep baritone voice, he’s never broadcasted before. He is a golf coach and his oldest son played high school baseball at Breese Mater Dei High.
“We’re big Cardinals fans over there. I just wanted to give it a try,” he said.
Stay tuned for the lucky winner and find out who will get that free trip to Florida come March at the start of Spring Training.