KMOJ taps local expertise to keep pace

Photos courtesy of KMOJ (l-r) Eric Harris, Dr. David Hamlar

Eric Harris and Dr. David Hamlar are KMOJ-FM Radio’s newest board members. While neither has a career history in radio, they both strongly identify with the importance of strengthening the community.

Harris said he hopes to be a “team player” and learn from his fellow board members as well as the organization. “[I want] to actively listen to KMOJ management issues to develop solutions and achievable objectives for both medium- and long-term.”

Harris is looking forward to bringing his experience in marketing and business to KMOJ as well as assisting the board by learning the “best practices to build brand value” for the station.

“My strengths are looking at what are the opportunities to increase revenue drivers and being able to be helpful in a plan to achieve those [opportunities],” said Harris. He is managing partner for 6ix, LLC, a full-service interactive and web development agency.

During his career, Harris has worked on fragrance launches and other media campaigns for celebrities like Sean Combs and Beyonce, as well as for large organizations and corporations such as Pepsi and the NBA.

While Harris’s focus is brand-building and increasing revenue for the station, Dr. Hamlar wants the station to be more involved in helping young people afford an education.

 “I want to make sure that our kids have the opportunity to get the education they need as well as opportunity to get scholarships and work toward a career that they chose,” said Dr. Hamlar. “It is hard to get somewhere if you are always faced with having no way to pay for it.”

Inspired by his background in the medical field, Dr. Hamlar wants the radio station to work with programming that focuses on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). “I’d like to see that be a big part of our kids’ abilities moving forward.”

Dr. Hamlar is an assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Otolaryngology is the subspecialty in the medical field that focuses on the diseases of the ears, nose and throat. Dr. Hamlar also served in the Minnesota National Guard, becoming the State Guard’s first African American General.

KMOJ’s General Manager Freddie Bell appointed Hamler and Harris and said they “match the wits and expertise we find on our current board.” Hamlar and Bell connected when Hamlar was recruiting African Americans to join the National Guard while making guest appearances on KMOJ’s morning show, “Freddie Bell and Chantel Sings in the Morning.”

Bell also attended a ceremony for Hamlar when Gov. Dayton appointed him to major general. Dr. Hamlar’s former rank was brigadier general.  

Harris said he is honored to be appointed by Bell. “I have a lot of respect for him,” he said.

Since being appointed to general manager in 2016, Bell’s overall vision for KMOJ is becoming “a better radio enterprise.” The vision takes different shapes as each goal Bell and the board sets is achieved.

“It always evolving,” said Bell. “We achieved a set of goals that colors what we would like to see at the radio station.” Bell mentioned an improvement the station has implemented recently—the ability for listeners to see the music the station is playing in real-time.

“No matter what device you are listening to, you can see the song we are playing,” said Bell. The phone application and website are both synced with the radio station to show the music currently playing. “We’re trying to make sure our technology keeps pace with how people consume music today.”

About Abeni Hill

Abeni Hill is a contributing writer at the MN Spokesman-Recorder. He can be reached at ahill@spokesman-recorder.com.

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