School of Communications student media coordinator Jim Singer found his passion for radio at a young age. He wants to help the next generation find that same passion.
From sweeping floors to slinging beats, Jim Singer has taken his talents from the radio station to the Webster University campus. Singer, School of Communications student media coordinator, started his career as a radio host, but now spends his time passing on his expertise to Webster students through the Galaxy Radio.
“I’ve been in the radio for 45 years,” Singer said. “I get jazzed at watching the light bulb go off in student eyes and seeing how they can use [the radio station].”
Webster University has a radio station on campus in the Sverdrup building. The studio is open for students to run the station, produce podcasts or even just to work on class projects. Singer recalls what it was like at 17 years old to work at K-SHE, St. Louis’s real rock radio station.
“This is like light years better than what I used to work with”, Singer said.
He started at K-SHE in his teen years. His time with the station started in 1971. Singer did just about everything but work the radio until meeting his mentors.
“I started out sweeping floors, running errands and being a gopher,” Singer said. “Some people took me under their wings and showed me the ropes, how to work with the equipment and how to queue up records.”
He mentioned even through the grunt work, he was just happy to be present.
“I thought I’m watching history happen in front of me and I’m part of it and it was so cool just to be around it,” Singer said.
Singer interviewed Journey before their music career took off. Singers like Billy Joel hitchhiked to play a concert for K-SHE, he said. He was there for the beginning of what K-SHE calls “real rock radio.”
“I was exposed to so many things,” Singer said.
Not only did he meet some of the most iconic bands in rock history, but he also met some of his closest friends. Mark Klose started at K-SHE around the same time as Singer and together they have built a life-long relationship.
“We got hired a couple weeks apart from one another,” Klose said. “We’ve been best friends ever since and he is the godfather to my daughter.”
Klose describes young Singer as a “wild child.” He recalls their days of three-hour showing of “The Three Stooges” down at the Varsity Theater. Together, they shared apartments, jobs and years worth of memories.
“He’s very outgoing, everybody’s a buddy, everybody’s a friend,” Klose said.
Klose recalled some of his memorable times with Singer. From working massive concerts together to flooding their first apartment with bubbles after buying the wrong dish soap, Klose remembers it all with fondness.
“You look back and that’s 40 something years ago,” Klose said. “It’s kinda like [looking] through rose-colored glasses, everything was so great.”
After many years, Klose remained at K-SHE while Singer went on to work for other radio stations, and now Webster. Klose thinks Singer brings an overabundance of knowledge to the Webster campus.
“He was a DJ, he was a grunt, he was a production manager, he worked in other markets,” Klose said. “He went to Arizona and worked for a while, he’s worked for rock formats. He’s worked for urban formats. He’s worked for country formats. So he’s got a wide range.”
Singer knows the ins and outs of the radio business and now spends his time sharing that knowledge with students like Michael Langston.
“My freshman year of college, I applied for the sports director position at the station,” Langston said. “While Jimmy told me I was too young to get involved in management of the station, he sat there and told me that I had the capabilities and talent to really grow as an on-air personality.”
Singer is known for his upbeat attitude when talking about Galaxy Radio, the university’s radio station.
“I want people to go in there with some kind of passion, so I help guide them in that direction,” Singer said.
For students like Langston, this helped inspire him to continue on with Galaxy Radio. Through guidance and support, Langston went on to do many projects with Galaxy Radio as well as the Saint Louis Cardinals.
“Jimmy has always been there as a support mechanism and has told me that he couldn’t have been prouder of the work that I did,” Langston said.
The Galaxy Radio is open to all students at Webster. Singer wants to encourage students to pursue their goals just like Langston did in his time at Webster.
“Follow your passion and let it lead you because passion helps you get beyond that fear of the unknown,” Singer said. “In order to grow, you have got to get out of your comfort zone.”