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President of Trumper Communications Jeff Trumper

5-23-2013

On my first trip to the beautiful city of Des Moines, Iowa, for McCann Erickson, I met with the General Manager Jeff Trumper. Because the station had a swimming pool behind the building we decided to shoot a TV spot for Coca Cola. Jeff was a dream to work with and made the process a pleasure, which is not the norm when shooting TV spots in bikinis in the dead of winter. Several years later our paths crossed when Jeff came to WLS Radio in Chicago. It was a joyous reunion that made my job much easier and brought WLS a step further in its years of radio dominance. For the past 35-plus years, I have cherished my relationship with Jeff either as an owner or as a friend; both have been rewarding and a gift for me. Anyone who knows Jeff would agree, hes a class act and someone who makes radio a better business.

Now, in his own words, is how Jeff Trumper, president Trumper Communications, got into radio

As a young boy growing up in Minneapolis, and one of seven kids in a rather large family, the radio was my friend. I travelled everywhere with my transistor radio and slept with it under my pillow. During the day it was KDWB and at night it was WLS.

Radio for me was so magical and the music became the soundtrack of my life. The studios of KDWB were near my house; I would walk there in the winter and stand outside the studio window looking in with envy. No matter how cold it got, I would stand for hours, sometimes in sub-zero temperatures, in awe of the DJ, the equipment, the music, and all that was radio. One day, Rob Sherwood waved me in and began to explain what he did and what radio was all about. In time, I was visiting the studios daily, and eventually pulling news off the wire and grabbing records for the turntable. I listened and learned as much as I could, I loved radio; but I never thought of it for a career. I never thought I could make money in radio, or at least thats what my mother told me. After high school I went to college with the intention of becoming a defense attorney; --I knew I could make money as a lawyer. After my freshman year, money was tight, so I joined the service in order to be able to go back to college on the GI Bill. After my stint in the service working in finance and accounting, I returned to college and dabbled in college radio a bit.

Now at the University of Wisconsin, my senior year came, and I found myself married and expecting my first child. I needed to get a job, so off I went to KXLF in Butte, Montana, to a station owned by Gary Owens. My job was twofold:  On-air I was the fabulous Jumpin' Jeff Edwards, and off-air I was trying to tackle my first job in sales.
From Butte it was back to the Twin Cities where I worked at WMIN as an on-air announcer and account executive. Because there were no management jobs open in Minneapolis, I decided to leave my home town and venture to another market. Just three years into the business I went to Des Moines to become a general manager. KGGO-FM and KSO-AM were two dynamic stations; we had everything including a swimming pool at the station! Why a pool? When a client couldnt pay for his advertising campaign, we traded what he owed for a swimming pool. Thats how it was done in the 70s.

The following years were spent with ABC stations in Houston and Chicago, including WLS, the station I listened to under my pillow. The next 20-plus years were spent in ownership, with stations coast to coast, which I sold during the high point in 2000. I kept just the Phoenix Station and love it just as much as the day I stood outside the window of KDWB -- except in Phoenix the weather is a lot warmer!

You can email Jeff Trumper at jefftrumper@msn.com

Lisa Miller is the President of Miller Broadcast Management in Chicago. She's also one of Radio Ink's Most Influential Women in Radio. Miller can be reached at Lisa@millerbroadcast.com or 312-454-1111.

So, how did you get into radio? We'd love to hear the story about why you're passionate about radio.




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