Social media did not kill the radio star, it would seem. Producer, presenter, fishing rod dangler, Jimmy Willis is a man with some big fish to fry. Let’s hear what our favourite man-off-the-radio Jimmy Willis talking ’bout.
#1. So, what’s your favourite word?
Ineffable – too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words.
#2. Great. What gets you up in the morning?
Coffee (only ever fresh filtered).
#3. Fancy pants. What do you truly, honestly think of social media?
#LoveIt. Social media has helped my career in the media massively. Whether it’s interacting with my audience in a live show, contacting people for interviews, finding content for my shows, or even finding work, social media is always there to help me out.
I had a few years away from broadcasting and actually worked as a social media manager. The 9 – 5 thing didn’t really suit me, but I love creating and implementing successful social media campaigns for brands.
It’s no secret that there is not as much money in radio these days, so for the advertising plans for my shows, I now put a lot of work into social media and video, which works alongside the more traditional radio advertising nicely.
#4. Nice. Kindles or books?
BOOKS! I’ve never had a Kindle; I love the feel of a book. I’ve actually just signed up with the library again. I hope the old-fashioned book has a few more years left in it yet.
#5. We think it does. What do you think is the biggest challenge to your industry right now?
Money! As I said, there’s not as much money flying around these days in the world of media (at my level), but this will not stop me in any way. It’s what I do (and probably all I’m good at).
#6. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A motorcycle racer to start with. I raced bikes as a kid and started my racing career with double MotoGP world champion, Casey Stoner and MotoGP rider Cal Crutchlow. As I’m now 6, 4’ and 16 stone, I didn’t really have much of a chance. But in the future I would like to work in the media for bike racing.
#7. What led you to your current career?
Well that’s a really long story, but in short, I was never going to be a world champion bike racer due to my size and after a serious shoulder injury at Brands Hatch in 2003, I went back to college to study music production. While I was injured, I did a bit of commentating for bike racing, which, I guess is where I found my voice. They had a student radio station at college and as I had always wanted to have a go, I got myself a show. Within six weeks, I started producing a sports show on local radio and then shortly after that, they gave me my own show.
#8. Back of the net. Can you use your favourite word in a sentence?
The joy I experience when I’m on the radio is ineffable.
#9. Now can you make it rhyme?
#10. Okeydokes. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Just be yourself and stand up for what you believe in. Follow your dreams and don’t worry about what everyone else thinks!
#11. What’s the best thing anyone’s ever done for you?
My girlfriend, Anna, booked a trip to Costa Rica for my birthday without telling me. It turned out to be one most of magical experiences of my life.
#12. #LoveIt. Tell us, what’s been your ‘career-defining’ moment?
Well, I’m hoping it’s going to in a few weeks time when I start my new weekday breakfast show on Trickstar Radio.
#13. Everyone, everywhere, put a note in the diary to #WakeUpWithWillis. If you won a big award of some kind, who would you thank?
My mum for sticking by me, my girlfriend for putting up with me (and my bizarre behaviour/ideas) and Si Twiddy of Trickstar Radio as I want a pay rise!
#14. Subtle. Can you give us a timesaver of the day?
Never travel with Southern Rail.
#15. Where do you see your industry in 24 months?
I think radio will always be there, still plodding along.
#16. Where were you 24 months ago?
In a mess! But I’m all good now, so let’s not go into that!
#17. Moving on. What’s an interesting fact about your company?
The station I’m working for now, Trickstar Radio, was started by a guy (Si Twiddy) who’s never worked in radio before. Fair play to him, as he’s making it work!
#18. Props to Si. If you could have a 24-minute Skype chat with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Elvis Presley. My gran, grandad and mum are big Elvis fans. I grew up on 50s rock n’ roll as a kid. Would also love to chat to Johnny Cash, what an interesting and mad life he had.
#19. Mad for it. What’s one word you’d want people to describe you with?
#20. Would you mind taking a selfie for us?
Hell no, I love a selfie!
#21. Hell yeah! What’s your favourite Twitter handle or social media campaign?
@RealJimmyWillis, of course!
#22. Of course! What’s one quote that defines your work ethic?
If you can do what you do best and be happy, you’re further along in life than most people – Leonardo DiCaprio
#23. What’s been the best part of your day?
I went for a run this morning, I’m loving my fitness stuff at the mo (which is a minor miracle). I put on a lot of weight last year, so getting back into shape.
#24. Run, Jimmy, run. Finally, anything to plug?
Of course! I’m moving over to the weekday breakfast slot on Trickstar Radio, weekdays from 7am, so do come and check that out.
Also I’m working on two new TV shows. The first being a series of documentaries called “Jimmy Willis Meets”, where I take a unique look into the life of media personalities.
There’s also a brand new six part TV fishing show called “Jimmy’s Fishing Trip”. It’s a new fishing show in which I explore the UK, rediscovering my childhood love of fishing. I will be joined by some of the country’s top anglers in the search for big fish, in some of the most beautiful streams, lakes and rivers the United Kingdom has to offer.