Jason Sear-Program Director/On-Air Talent, KDLG AM/FM, Dillingham, Alaska
After spending two years as a successful Morning Show Producer at a Chicago Top 40 radio station, and one year teaching English in Israel, Jason Sear (B.A. '06) switched gears and decided to live out his dream to work in public radio. That dream became reality when Jason was hired as Program Director at Public Radio station KDLG AM/FM in Dillingham, Alaska.
Before obtaining his current position he spent time teaching English in the Middle East. While the teaching was fun, he quickly realized that, "I needed to plan more thoroughly before moving to a foreign country!"
Longing to get back into radio, Jason reflected on his time at Columbia during his transitional period. As a student in the Radio Department one of the things he appreciated was the fact that he constantly felt challenged, and in turn it fueled his motivation to succeed in the industry. "Though the relocation plan didn't quite pan out the way I hoped it would, what Columbia did for me was it gave me the ability to keep my head above water once it became necessary."
Jason found his current position on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting jobline after he returned from Israel. According to Jason, "It's a great resource for anyone interested in stepping into the public media arena."
Located in the remote Alaskan bush with no roads leading out, KDLG is one of the few radio stations in the area, thus making Jason's position as Program Director essential to connecting with the audience. As Jason states, "A key aspect of programming up here is learning about the communities and talking to as many people as possible. Since we're a public radio station, we have a board of directors who provide valuable input and a direct link to the community. Additionally, everywhere I go, whether it's the grocery store, the bar, or a dinner party, I'm always asking people about KDLG. 'What do you like about it?' 'What do you not like about it?' 'What do you wish we would do differently?' I'm sure it gets annoying for some people, but I'm always interested in hearing their responses. I've also made it my personal quest to elicit more volunteer participation from community members."
Originally from Pontiac, Illinois, Jason is enamored with the beauty that surrounds him in Alaska. "First of all, the images don't lie. This place is inconceivably beautiful. Secondly, I'm from the Midwest, and the people here are the friendliest I've met. Thirdly, the opportunities are endless. This truly is America's untapped economic refuge. If you want a job, come to Alaska. My dog, Amos, also loves it up here, and that makes me happy." (check out his personal photos via the slideshow at the top of this article and at www.jasonsear.com.)
In his role as Program Director, Jason has to wear many hats. In addition to Program Director he is Music Director, Website Manager, On-Air Talent, and Production Director. He feels the reason he is able to multi-task so well is due to his education at Columbia. According to Jason, "So much of the learning process in the Radio Department involved doing, rather than learning by hearing someone else talk about how we do it. I appreciated that. Also, access to industry standard technology made the transition from Columbia College to the working world that much easier."
Taking the path less traveled, Jason had this advice for students; "Challenge yourself constantly. Meet as many people as you can in the industry. More importanly, share an experience with them. Finding a common interest with someone and sharing extended conversations will be remembered. This is something that I'm still learning myself."