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106.1 The River

In this exclusive Everything Knoxville interview, we speak with husband and wife business team, Jeff and Cindi Alpert, owners and founders of one of Knoxville’s newest and most popular radio stations. Featuring the very best from three decades of music, 106.1 The River promises to become a local listener favorite as well as offer an exciting new advertising platform for area businesses.

Everything Knoxville: What sets you aside from other radio broadcasting companies in the Knoxville area?

Jeff Alpert: As local owners we are active in every aspect of the business.  Both of us wear a lot of hats from on-air, sales, marketing, engineering, hosting events and networking to taking out the trash… whatever needs to be done.  By running our company lean we are able to pass that savings on to our advertisers and offer a great product that competes with the corporate giants at a fraction of the price.  Advertisers get a lot more frequency with our stations, 106.1 WJRV and 104.9 WTNQ, which ultimately gets the client better results.  The whole point of radio advertising is to hit that listener with the advertiser’s message multiple times.  If an advertiser cannot afford the proper frequency to obtain an optimum efficiency schedule, which is at least 25 commercials per week, they may not get the results they were hoping for.  We have made our product so affordable that virtually anyone can advertise from home-based businesses to huge corporations.  We have dozens of testimonials from small business owners that our station has brought them new customers.

EK: How do you maintain balance as two working parents?

Cindi Alpert: Radio has become our life.  Fortunately, we are in a business that is still a lot of fun.  Our 7-year-old daughter loves festivals, events, concerts, sporting events and all the perks that come with the business.  We work all the time, but most of the time it does not feel like work.  This business gives us the opportunity to constantly network, get involved in the community, support the music scene and have an absolute blast doing it.

EK: Speaking of local music, 106.1 The River has become known as “the station that supports local music.”  How did that come about in such a short time?

Jeff:  It was just a natural progression of our broadcasting philosophy.  As a locally owned station, Cindi and I make all the decisions.  We don’t have to go the corporate office in some other state and get permission.  We have been showcasing local talent on our stations for over 20 years.  Why? Because we can.  An artist does not have to be famous, charted or labeled to have a shot on our airwaves.  The local musicians liked the format from the beginning and started talking about the station and calling us for interviews and airplay.  Our Program Director, Bruce Patrick, has an ear for talent and gives everyone a listen.  When he hears something special he gets that musician or band in the studio and actually plays them during the morning show, something that almost never happens in traditional corporate radio.  The listeners have embraced this unique philosophy and the musicians have become our greatest ambassadors.

EK: What’s the most rewarding part of your business?

Cindi: Wow, I don’t know if I have enough room to answer that.  In a nutshell, I love the fact that we can use our business to give back to the community, to get involved in charity events, raise money for causes, support local talent and provide jobs locally.  Most of all I like the fact that my advertisers and my listeners know that advertising dollars spent on stations stay local.  We support the local businesses as well with our dollars.  I think it is so important to keep our local economy humming.  What a boring world it would be if everyone had a cookie cutter product and everything looked, sounded and tasted the same wherever you go.  Local businesses supporting local businesses is so important to us.  Knoxville is our home now.  We want to do our part to make it a better place.

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