20 Under 40 Q&A: Jason ManningProgram director/morning show host at 95KQDS.
Get to know Jason Manning
Occupation: Program director/morning show host at 95KQDS.
What do you actually do? Pontificate and opine, commiserate and evaluate the human condition from 6-9 a.m. every weekday morning. I also oversee the programming and promotions for the entire KQ network, which includes four stations and spans more than 30 counties in three states.
Years in your job: Almost 15.
Education: High school, some secondary education, life.
Family: My two great kids, Emily, 12, and Colby, 9.
Community involvement: During my time at KQ, we have participated in countless community events. Most recently, we participated in Grill Wars, which raised more than $9,000 for the Boys & Girls Club of the Northland this year. For more than 10 years, KQ and Red Rock Radio have sponsored and participated in the United Way Chili Cook-Off. Every year around Christmas, Red Rock Radio organizes our annual Bike Drive with the Salvation Army, and the Coats for Kids campaign with Benna Ford. Red Rock Radio also sponsors the ALS Walleye Tournament, which I have had the good fortune to fish in for the past couple years, and the Great Lakes Pond Hockey Classic. During the June flood, we were live on the air all day, giving people the most up-to-the-second information about conditions around our region.
What brought you to the Twin Ports?
I moved to Duluth from Minneapolis in 1997 and fell in love with this area. After moving back to the Twin Cities for a short spell, I decided to leave my position at a radio station in Minneapolis and move back to Duluth in 1998. I was determined to settle here and make a living.
What do you like to do during your free time?
Spending time with my family. I am almost always on a lake or river somewhere chasing smallmouth or walleye. I also spend time (maybe too much time) at Nemadji or Cloquet Country Club. I also try to keep in shape by training in Wing Chun Kung Fu.
Describe your favorite place in the Twin Ports.
How do I pick just one? My deck. Jay Cooke State Park. The St. Louis River. Fish Lake. Island Lake. The Cloquet River. I could go on and on.
What do you like most about the Northland?
The natural beauty of this area. I believe on a nice summer day, there is no better place on Earth than this region.
How can the Northland retain younger people?
Duluth needs to decide what it wants to be. Are we content to be a college town and tourist destination? If so, then the status quo will suffice. If we want to grow and prosper, then we need to be more receptive to new business and industry that wants to move into the area. There are too many examples of red tape, political nit-picking, in-fighting between local government and developers, along with other factors that ultimately drives business elsewhere and, in my opinion, gives this area a reputation of being difficult to work with. At KQ, we are very aware of the evolving tastes of our listeners. We make it a point to evaluate and cater to younger listeners, without changing our identity and alienating those who expect KQ to be KQ. Local government needs to do the same with its changing “audience,” the citizens of this community.
Who or what has made the biggest impact on your life?
My parents, Jim and Judy. I am who I am because of them. I love and respect them immensely.
What are you most passionate about?
Winning. I am extremely competitive. I hate to lose at anything.
How have social and business networking sites changed your life?
Personally, I think it is overkill. With that said, I am a bit of a hypocrite because I like Facebook. Professionally, I think it is a wonderful tool for connecting with the people who listen to our stations.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
I have two. My kids. Hands down. Also helping to build and maintain the No. 1 radio station and morning show in the Northland for 15 years.
What goals have you set for the next 5-10 years?
To see my children into adulthood in one piece, hopefully armed with the tools to succeed in an increasingly complex world. That is a huge responsibility. Everything after that is life’s bonus round!
What advice would you give other young people?
Know exactly what you want to do. Do not be thwarted by the word “No.” Work. Hard. You are laying the foundation for the rest of your life. You have to earn it.
Comments: Listen to the KQ Morning Show every weekday morning from 6-9!