Engineering Spotlight: Erik Jones (Cumulus Media/Ann Arbor)

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Erik Jones
Erik Jones

Erik Jones is Chief Engineer for Cumulus Media Ann Arbor (WWWW-FM/WQKL-FM/WTKA-AM/WLBY-AM) and IT Support Engineer for Cumulus Media Great Lakes Region.  Erik has been in his present position since October of 2012.

Q: Please share with us a brief engineering resume.
Erik: 
I graduated from Specs Howard in July 1997.  I went there with a concentration in video, not radio.  I was with ENCO Systems as Senior Support Engineer from September 1998 through November 2005 and with ABC/Disney as New York City Broadcast Data Systems Engineer, overseeing WABC/WPLJ/WEPN/WQEW from November 2005 through February 2008.  During this time, WABC/WPLJ was bought by Citadel Communications with WEPN/WQEW staying with Disney.

I then moved to Michigan and became IT Manger/Assistant Engineer for Citadel Communications in the Lansing market (WMMQ-FM/WITL-FM/WFMK-FM/WVFN-AM and WJIM-AM/FM), Grand Rapids market (WLAV-FM/WHTS-FM/WLAW-FM/WTNR-FM/WBBL-FM and WJRW-AM) and Muskegon market (WWSN-FM/WVIB-FM/WLCS-FM and WKLQ-AM), from May 2008 through October 2012. During this time Citadel was purchased by Cumulus.

Q:  How did you get started in broadcast engineering?
Erik:  It was never my intention to become a broadcast radio engineer!  When I went to Specs Howard, it was my hope to start a career as a TV/film video editor, and I did that for a short period of time at a local small video production company before I started at ENCO. But, even while I was there, I was the one repairing the equipment to keep things working and wiring them for a 10baseT network. From there, I went to ENCO as a part time beta tester of the DADpro32 software and made way onto the support team.  Seven years later, I had a call from the director of engineering for WABC, telling me that the engineer that was maintaining their ENCO system was leaving and asked if I would be interested in filling the position.  While there primarily as the Broadcast Data Systems Engineer, I took full advantage of the knowledge of the other engineers and learned all that I could about this field and found myself wanting to broaden my career path to more than just the IT side of the business.

Adding to that, I grew up in a household that was in the engineering world, with my father holding an advance class amateur radio license as well as a general radiotelephone operator license (as he was a part-time radio engineer himself back in the early 70’s.)  He was later a radio systems design engineer for Ford.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that very few people know:
Erik:
There really isn’t a whole lot that people wouldn’t know about me if they have met me in person. I’ve been married for 17 years to my high school sweetheart (that I originally first met in preschool when we had the same class together!) I have two sons, ages 15 and 11. Also, I am a firm believer to never put random personal information out onto the web via any social media.  And, because of this, I have never had any type of those accounts and never plan to have one.

Q: Best advice you have ever received?
Erik:  Just because you may not have all the answers to an issue at that exact moment in time doesn’t mean it can’t be solved. To do this, always be well aware of your own strengths and those around you (friends and colleagues) and always make yourself available to help others so that when you need it the most others will be willing to help you. Also, let’s not forget “Always trust in Google.”  While the first search result may not be correct, just redefine your parameters and you will get the answers you need.

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