From the archives of SDRadio and Chris Carmichael circa 2000
1. Jeff, you’re a seasoned veteran of San Diego county radio …. KKOS, KyXy … tell SDR about the stations you’ve been at and where you’re at now ….? I began my radio career at the public schools radio station KANW 89.1 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, then went to Q106 Alb./Santa Fe which was Top 40 CHR, then 97.3 KISS FM Alb. which was Urban/dance, then Q106 San Diego CHR-promotions, then a few different formats with KKOS 95.9 which changed to KUPR 95.7 and was Adult Album Alternative, and am 1000 KCEO, then Classic Hits 103.7 the Planet KPLN and now Soft Rock KyXy 96.5. (see questions #7 for more details!)
2. You’re also a successful voice over artist… tell SDR about GelderHead Global Productions … What do you offer to clients?
First and foremost I offer my clients professional voice-over for almost anything. I’ve done radio/television spots, corporate videos, books on tape, narrations, audio business cards, web pages, on-hold messages, voice mail greetings etc., etc. I am also available for clients who wish to voice their own project such as seminar leaders who want to put their workshops on tape and make them available for sale. One of my most rewarding projects was a client whose father was 89 and was known for his great story telling and songs. My client wanted to get her father on tape before he passed away so we had him come in-studio and just let go with his stories and songs. She then had me make copies for her entire family as a way to remember her dad.
I’m also happy to be represented by the Shamon-Freitas Talent Agency in San Diego and Orange County.
3. There’s a wild-wacky side to radio … Jeff, what drives you to the mic… what keeps your interest in the medium??
It’s not just a side….radio is wild and wacky! That’s what makes it so much fun and keeps my interest. It’s never boring, it never stays the same, and it will always be here. It’s one of the few things that’s still free to all who wish to tune-in. My favorite time behind the mic. is when I feel truly connected to the listeners. When someone calls and responds to something I said on the air it’s great. Like today I mispronounced a theater actors name in some live promo copy and a listener felt compelled to call and correct me. I knew I was connecting with her! Being behind the mic. is only second to being live on stage, and I love creating theater of the mind. When I’m behind the mic. it’s up to me to paint a picture in the listeners head about whatever it is I’m talking about. That’s the challenge. There’s really a lot of power in it. Most importantly, you have to be able to laugh at yourself and not take it all too seriously.
4. Jeff … what is a “GelderHead”?
I thought you’d never ask! Webster’s might say it’s a large, rather heavy, spherical object resting atop the Gelder shoulders. Just don’t ask my mother!….although she sent me this great silhouette of a very young GelderHead and it really was quite large even then! If you want to know where GelderHead came from, it was coined by one of the first friends I met when I moved to California. He was an artist for “The Simpson’s” television show and for some unknown reason he called me GelderHead. I suppose he read Webster’s definition too!
5. Tell us about an embarrassing moment when the microphone was open?
Fortunately I don’t have any really embarrassing moments. I’m a true believer in using the mic. button as well as the slider pot, and it’s saved my butt many times. My most humiliating moment however was in Santa Fe when I was doing the night time dedication show and left the pot up on the reel to reel while I was editing a callers dedication. He was saying all kinds of crap that needed to be taken out. The hotline rang and the P.D. let loose on me and then came in and sat in his office until I got off the air and let me have it some more. Another wacky time was also in Santa Fe when I was told I would be interviewing Mickey Mouse live in studio. Well, Mickey showed up at he door in full dress and I of course invited him into the studio. I was then informed that Mickey didn’t speak! Great, so how am I supposed to interview the most famous Mouse live in studio if he doesn’t speak? Well, I sat there looking at Mickey and interviewing his assistant. I’ve always wondered why they bothered getting him all dressed up for radio….hmmmm! Anyway, he did crown the GelderHead with his official mouse ears!
6. Looking back, wasn’t 95.9 KKOS ahead of its time? Would the format work in San Diego again?
No, I don’t think it was ahead of it’s time. And, yes I think it would work in San Diego. KKOS lacked a strong signal and marketing budget. Given those two things and a year and half to two year commitment to get established I think it would have made it. There is a large loyal audience for the music we played, and the music lends itself to creating a station where the listeners really feel like it’s theirs.
7. Jeff, what made you choose radio as a career?
I owe it all to my big brother Mike who at the time was a radio engineer. He asked me to volunteer at the public schools station he worked for and I did for a few weeks. Then one Saturday afternoon I received a call at home from the P.D. of the number one station in town saying that he heard me on the air, liked what he heard and needed someone to take over a shift that night. I responded with “this is a bad joke who put you up to this?” Well, he wasn’t kidding I started that night after working my waiter job from 4-10. I was on the air from 12-8 and ran the Rick Dee’s show from 8-10. Thank God for adrenaline! That P.D. ended up writing a book on how to get into radio and used me for one of the examples! From there I went to full-time overnights then to nights hosting the dedication hour. It was a great gig on a Top 40 station in the 80′s….I was having a blast! When the plug was eventually pulled I worked for KISS fm in Alb. and then moved to sunny San Diego. Less than a year later I was hired on at KKOS which became KUPR and I enjoyed 9 1/2 years of fun, good music, good times and a truly unique experience. We were the “little station that could!” Although at times we were known as the small Carlsbad station, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I was the Marketing and Promotions Director there and for sister station KCEO am1000, as well as on air and did my own show called “Earthbeat” which changed to “Gelder’s Global Gig” for five years.
When that plug was pulled I knocked on Rich Hawkins’ door at KyXy and the Planet loud enough to get hired on part-time and then I created GelderHead Productions. I was on 103.7 the Planet for two years, then when Charlie Quinn took over he offered me the job at KyXy and I’ve been there for a year and a half. Another goal accomplished I’m proud to say, and I’m very happy to be there. Sonny West, Sam Bass, Gene Knight, Yvonne Karlin, Ralph Rodarte and the whole KyXy staff are a pleasure to work with and be around. There’s so much radio history and knowledge there.
So I guess it’s more appropriate to say that radio chose me. Although I do recall playing D.J. and spinning 45′s when I was 8 years old. Hmm…was that a sign?
8. Technology continues to take radio to new heights … isn’t it amazing that the internet has taken GelderHead to new areas? Tell SDR some of those far-flung corners of the world your voice can be heard? I’ve done jobs for companies in Germany, England, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and northern California so far.
9. What’s your favorite hideaway in San Diego county?
My bed! Just fooling….there are so many, but visiting La Jolla always feels like I’m on vacation, and Del Mar is great for a day off.
10. If you were not on radio right now, where would you be working?
Well, I’m told there’s lots of money in answering 976 numbers!!! I would probably be acting in L.A. which is a dream but San Diego is a hard place to leave.
11. What’s the best advice you can give someone who wants to break into radio?
Go for it! It’s a great high when your on the air and you make a difference in somebody’s day. Even if it’s as simple as making someone smile. Remember however that radio is a business like any other….some days are up….some days are down. If you truly have the itch for it….it doesn’t go away.
12. Name five songs that describe Jeff Gelder.
I chose to take suggestions from friends on this one and here they are….
1) You’ve Got a Friend – James Taylor
2) Here I Go Again - Whitesnake
3) I’m too sexy – (just kidding-I chose that one)
4) We Can be Kind – David Friedman/Nancy LaMott
5) Ain’t Too Proud to Beg – (again my choice, not kidding!)
6) Be Here Now – Willy Porter
13. Do you have a personal motto? Yes,
Believe in yourself, know what you want, make it happen…. together with this quote:
“There’s no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love.
There’s only a scarcity of resolve to make it happen.”
14. Best moment in radio?
There are many including interviewing Kristie Alley, Ted Danson, Woody Harrelson, Olivia Newton-John, and meeting K.D. Lang, Sheryl Crow, Paula Cole, Jewel….however I think the top one is meeting Tina Turner backstage at her “Private Dancer” tour concert we had promoted. I was hosting winners and I put my arm around her for a photograph. She’s a petite woman and was nervously shaking and extremely polite in thanking us for supporting her and being there. I remember she was wearing these tiny black velvet tennis shoes. And then we took our seats and she came on stage in her stiletto heels and wow what a transformation. I would still like to meet Cher and Sir Elton John. Another of my best and more important moments was raising $10,000 for San Diego Earthday through the sale of a compilation C.D. we produced at KUPR. It truly felt great to hand over that check!
15. Jeff, here it is, question 15 …Tell SDR about the daily “GelderHead Thinks …”?
It’s actually very simple. When I started my company “GelderHead Productions,” I wanted to offer something free of charge to anyone who wanted it that would brighten their day and/or make them think. It makes my day when someone responds to one of the thoughts and tells me how perfect is was for what they’re going through in their own life. And on that note here’s a bonus “GelderHead thinks” to close my 15 questions….thanks for asking!
“Anyone who dares to waste one hour of life, has not discovered the value of life.” ~ Charles Darwin
See you on the radio!