For senior and KSPU station director Jacob Zimmer, radio is not just a job. It’s an outlet for his passion for music.
Starting as a student DJ at Seattle Pacific with no experience, Zimmer used his love for music and the Seattle community to drive his show.
“It was my freshman year and I was at Involve O’ Rama and I saw a dancing panda and he had a sign that said something like ‘Wanna DJ? Follow me,’” Zimmer says. “I followed him.”
According to Zimmer, a desire to help spread music across campus and the community inspired him to join KSPU.
“It’s been really cool for me to start at the bottom as a DJ and meet a ton of cool people,” Zimmer says. “Whether they’re other DJs or KSPU staff members above me, they all share a love for music and KSPU and really want to give students an opportunity to hear music and to share their own music.”
After thriving as a student DJ at KSPU for two years, playing mostly Northwest music and Seattle hip-hop, Zimmer transitioned to a role as event coordinator his junior year. He loved it so much that he applied to be station director, the top management position.
For Zimmer, being KSPU’s station director is a full-time gig. Currently, he leads six team members including a broadcast manager, event coordinator, webmaster, publicist, assistant for broadcasting and assistant for promotions.
“My main job is just coordinating everyone in order to keep the station running,” Zimmer says.
But his goals for the station go far beyond just broadcasting the latest music.
“One thing that’s really important for me is not just keeping KSPU afloat but to help us thrive. I want us to continue growing…I’ve seen it improve year after year and my biggest priority is to not let us stagnate but to have us keep pushing forward,” Zimmer says.
Though he doesn’t have set office hours, Zimmer spends at least 20 hours a week on work related to KSPU, including responding to emails, having meetings and any work necessary to make sure his staff members have everything they need to run the station.
Zimmer says in doing so he has gained relationships and experience that will last a lifetime.
“People are so creative with their shows and so talented,” Zimmer says. “It’s one thing to have a playlist, but to have a person behind it—you learn a lot about that person just by the music they play and their personality on air.”
For Zimmer, a great artist goes beyond just their music. It is about their brand and story. Zimmer’s top five favorite artists are Kanye West, Cashmere Cat, Mad Rad, Childish Gambino and Made
In Heights. It is these artists who are showcased most in his mixes.
As a business administration major with a concentration in management and a minor in communication, Zimmer is not sure what he will do in the future. He wants to stay in Seattle and continue working with music in some form, whether that is event planning, artist management or even something on the side without pay.
Zimmer says he is always looking for more DJ gigs, whether house shows, on-campus events or concerts. Though he took a break from radio hosting last year, Zimmer has a show this year that extends beyond just Seattle music. He brings in everything he likes and mixes it live in one continuous mix.
“What I’ve learned is that lots of people have a lot to share,” Zimmer says. “I’ve tried to listen to all the student radio shows this quarter at least once and I am constantly amazed by how good the music is. It’s all so different, but it’s all so good.”
But for right now, Zimmer knows what he wants.
“I want KSPU to be a station that people want to listen to, a station that people are proud to be associated with whether they’re a listener or a DJ or a staff member,” he says. “I want it to be known on campus.”
Zimmer encourages students to listen to KSPU and join if they’re interested in music. All it takes is a quick email to KSPU and signing up for a slot on their DJ schedule.
“We are always accepting student DJs,” he says.
Zimmer says KSPU’s website has a new design coming that will be more user friendly. The station plans on hosting some upcoming events, as well as ticket giveaways.
“There is a lot to gain by being involved with KSPU,” Zimmer says. “By the end of the year you’re gonna see an even better KSPU.”