Gettin’ Social With Jerell Tongson

Posted on: May 2, 2024
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Jerell participates in KOOP’s social media presence and content, is on the station’s Board of Directors as Treasurer, hosts a show and soon will host another. We spoke on April 25.

Michael A. Brown: When you first joined KOOP, what sorts of things did you anticipate doing and what actually happened?

Jerell Tongson: I had previously worked in political and non-profit fundraising and wanted to translate those skills into a longer-term, cause-oriented kind of thing, including grant-writing. One day while flipping through the radio dial, I caught Dale Smith on his Roots Train show and thought it was really cool. He talked about KOOP as a local, non-profit community radio station, which sounded like a good matchup for me. I joined and trained as a programmer with Dale and now I host Doomscrolling on Fridays and soon, if all goes well, Hip Hop Hooray on Sundays. 

MAB: How did you become part of KOOP’s Social Media Team? 

JT:. At a Board of Directors’ meeting, Federico, the station General Manager, emphasized having a vision for KOOP and telling the KOOP story. There are so many great things happening on our airwaves and stream, but you have to be listening to hear them. Social media seems the best place to spread the word and attract more listeners. I knew social media from my political organizing days, so I stepped up. I had a lot of fun doing it for my own shows, but then the opportunity to do it for the KOOP station account came up for other volunteers. 

MAB: The social media feature mostly visuals and text, videos, that sort of thing … how does radio fit into the mix?

JT: They complement each other. Social media add a visual component to our radio. We can provide supplementary and promotional material about our shows and meet the people where they are, whether at home, in their cars, on-line, or on mobile. If we can pique their interest for even 10 seconds, they’ll likely continue listening or perhaps listen for the first time. The path is the social media to the website, to the broadcast or stream, to being a loyal listener, and maybe a member or even a volunteer!

MAB: Do our social media participants identify more with KOOP the station or more with specific shows?

JT: I think it’s more about KOOP. When people send messages or write comments about KOOP in the social media, they often thank us for the station’s work with and for local musicians and other artists like indie filmmakers, local organizations, and advocacies. Listeners also express deep love for their favorite shows of course, but the connection to KOOP over 29 years … almost 30 years … comes through loud and clear.

MAB: What are some of the key considerations for KOOPers wishing to post content on our social media? 

JT: Be prepared to tell the story of KOOP as you experience it. Whether it’s music or local issues on our news and information shows, our community advocacy, the cool concert you’re going to … share what KOOP means to you. Share yourself, too, so social media visitors can feel an emotional bond with what you’re doing on the air. Also emphasize our community-building and how listeners can become part of it. For me, the most heartening and powerful thing is when programmers and other volunteers get into our social media. Even KOOPers who are not personally on social media can provide the Social Media Team with content and promotional material. 

MAB: Tell us about your favorite KOOP shows.

JT: I really like The Microchip RevolutionFour On the FloorInfrasound Sound System … and The Double Heads Variety Hour. I kinda like my shows, too!

MAB: Besides KOOP, what other community activities or groups are you involved with?

JT: I volunteer at St. David’s Medical Center, where I keep company with patients. That plus KOOP plus my career keep me active.

You can enjoy Jerell Tongson (aka @hollapino) on the air with Doomscrolling, Fridays at 8pm and starting June 1, Hip Hop Hooray, Sundays at 2pm.

Interview by Michael A. Brown