Senior VP of Corporate/Programming
POWER MOVE: Debuting its soon-to-be-national Nash FM brand in New York—and bringing country back to that market for the first time in 17 years, a media story in itself.
THE RUNDOWN: As the gatekeeper of Cumulus Media’s music programming decisions across all formats since 2007, Jan Jeffries is ultimately responsible for the chain’s on-air musical imprint. With more than four decades in broadcasting, and a résumé that includes operating his own consulting firm and serving as president of Stratford Research, Jeffries keys in on the essentials to radio’s growth: “The medium will thrive as it learns new ways to incorporate social media into the marketing mix,” he says.
With only Clear Channel owning more stations than Cumulus (the latter’s count stands at 525 in 110 cities), Jeffries is tasked with translating a centralized programming structure into local sounds for each market. His strategy? It’s “a combination of the right music, talent that has a clear understanding of the station image and consistent local involvement.”
Such design was on display recently when the company stunted for a weekend before flipping its newly acquired 94.7 FM frequency in New York to country Nash FM, the market’s first full-time country station in more than a decade. For two days, the signal surfed sample formats, including blocks of New York- and New Jersey-centric songs. (The Nash FM brand is being adopted on the company’s entire slate of 83 country stations, in addition to a magazine and concerts.)
Despite the short time span, all ears were on the nation’s biggest media market and listeners wondered what permanent format the station would adopt. “It goes back to theater of the mind,” Jeffries says. “Having a blank canvas and an arsenal of ideas helped make it entertaining. Stations should challenge themselves to break the shell of what’s expected.”