When Julia Frost, Director of Jones Learning Center, made a trip to Texas to speak at area high schools about the many benefits the JLC offers to students at Ozarks, she got some special help from an old friend.
"Jeff Earnshaw was an RTV major who graduated in the spring of 2009," Frost said. "It seems like almost from the first day he was here, he managed the campus radio station, KUOZ. He did his own show; he was constantly over there. Recently I was going to Dallas to attend a conference and wanted to visit some area high schools to talk to students who might be interested in the JLC’s services, so I contacted former students who might be able to go with me to speak to the high schools, and Jeff was happy to do so."
Earnshaw works for Clear Channel Communications. Clear Channel is the largest owner of full-power AM, FM, and shortwave radio stations and twelve radio channels on XM Satellite Radio, and is also the largest pure-play radio station owner and operator in the world.
Frost said Earnshaw took her back to his old high school, Dallas Academy. "When he spoke to those students, he was so appreciative of not only Ozarks and the education he’d gotten here, but also how much he had enjoyed his education at that high school," Frost said. "It was good for those kids and their parents too to hear him confirming not only what they’re doing with their kids there, but seeing how they too might go on to the level of success Jeff has achieved."
She said Earnshaw focused on the benefits of attending Ozarks and the fact he’d been able to spend so much time in the studio on the radio station. "From the very beginning, I always tell students that’s the advantage of a small college," Frost said. "You get hands-on experience right off the bat. He was really great with those kids, sharing with them what he’d done and was now doing."
Dallas, where Earnshaw works, is one of the company’s biggest markets. "Radio markets are like golf scores," Earnshaw said, "the smaller the better. I work for Clear Channel Dallas, a market 5, which means we are the 5th biggest radio market in the United States. I currently work as a producer and board op. Being a board op means you watch over a station and make sure all the necessary elements fire off at the proper time."
After working for a period as a board op, Earnshaw became a producer. "That’s like a board op but more intense," he said. "Instead of making sure elements fire off at a certain time, you manually fire the elements. While a board op can look ahead and fix a problem before it happens, with being a producer, you will not know about it until it happens live. So it’s definitely a challenge."
All this hard work did not go without being noticed, and when Earnshaw approached the station’s operation manager to ask her about the possibility of getting some on-air experience, he was overjoyed with her answer. "Hard work and going the extra mile does pay off," he said. "I can now be heard every Monday through Friday from 9 p.m. to midnight on 1190 AM in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area playing all your favorite classic country hits, as well as through the ‘I Heart’ radio app."
Earnshaw ties his success directly back to Ozarks. "When I first started at Ozarks all I knew I wanted to do was be involved with the radio station," he said. "I did not know how I could get involved; I just wanted to be involved. Luckily in the JLC they helped me take the right classes so that I could be involved with the radio program. That is how I met Susan Edens. I can say without doubt if Ms. Edens had never taken a chance on me, I would not be where I am today. She pointed me in the right direction but did not hold my hand. She wanted me to make my own mistakes and learn from them, and I did. When she finally gave me the okay to do a live radio show, I was ecstatic. The first show we did was probably one of the worst radio shows in history, but I knew something was there, and I knew it could only get better - and it did! Being able to go through those growing pains gave me an edge on every other communications major that only got to read about how radio worked. While they were reading about radio theory and what to do in this and that situation, I was already living it out."
Jeff Earnshaw (center) with Everett Gee (left) and Sam Ballard (right) during their days as hosts of the Ozarks radio program "Microwaveable Conversations." Earnshaw now works for Clear Channel in the Dallas-Ft. Worth radio market.