Jeff Smith took over at KRUN radio on July 10th, 2017 and has brought the radio station back to prominence in the Agriplex through hard work and modernization. But Smith’s biggest accomplishment is in the accounting, “For the first time in 20 years we finished the year in the black. We turned a profit after two decades of finishing each year in the red.”
The success is due in large part to Smith’s efforts within the community, such as being a sponsor of the Runnels County Junior Livestock Show, “We’re reintroducing ourselves to the community. One of the biggest successes last year was being part of the sheriff’s office toy drive where we helped get out the word about the sheriff needing toys for the drive.” Smith used his platform to spread the word daily along with continually updating the community on the progress of the toy drive. It was frequent topic on his morning radio show.
Smith has worked hard to rebuild relationships within the community and make the station relevant. To this end he’s created a morning show with local merchant Landy Cason of Cason’s Mercantile, “Landy and I have good chemistry. I’m the Dean Martin to his Jerry Lewis. He’s very entertaining and keeps the show rolling along. We’re not programmed to talk about all of the hot-button topics. We talk about issues particular to our area and we have fun.” Smith has known Cason since he was a teenager; “I met Landy when I was 16. I didn’t know a lot about him but I knew he was a man of his word and stood by his beliefs. He’s been a true blessing.”
Smith also broadcasts the morning show on Facebook live and has had over 200,000 hits, “That’s a significant number of hits for a community of our size.” Smith is also working on some changes with the morning show, “We had a lot of people tell us that 8 a.m. wasn’t early enough so we’re moving it to start at 7 a.m. and run until about 9:30 a.m. We also want to do weekly interviews with local merchants and other local people.” Listening to the community has become a building block for the station’s success and Smith takes comments and recommendations seriously.
Smith says the changes will extend to the recording studio, “I want to expand the recording studio to draw in more artists. I think we need to do that to bring them here.”
Previously KRUN had sponsored a movie night in town where a local church sold concessions to raise money. This year he’s looking to add a sponsor to create the movie nights again. The nights were popular with local residents and will be welcome if Smith is able to bring the event back. It is events like that which endear the station to the community and boosts its popularity.
The station plays mostly classic country and is true to their motto, “Where country begins.” There was a time when the station wasn’t much more than an afterthought but with the gaining popularity it’s moving to the forefront of the community. Everyone from all walks of the community tune in for the Facebook Live broadcasts, including members of the city council, local business owners, police officers and others.
Smith has added a weekly city administrator update with Tommy Turney on Tuesdays. The name of the segment, “Tuesdays with Tommy” has become an avenue for Turney to communicate directly with the public. People can post questions on Facebook Live or call in with questions and Turney answers them. With the show broadcast over the air and on Facebook it opens it up to reach more listeners. Turney updates the community on the projects the city is working on, such as the streets and progress on installing new water line. It’s a direct line of communication that has proven effective in getting accurate information out to the public.
Smith says that the station is continually evolving to reach more people and stay up-to-date and has become an integral part of the community, “We want the town to be successful because when the town is successful, we’re all successful.”
Smith’s approach has resulted in the station successful and giving him the ability and freedom to work on other improvements. Smith has signed a number of new advertisers and business continues to grow steadily.