Timm Works with Nebraska's Broadcasters

“Growing up in Wisconsin — America’s dairyland — I thought I had a decent sense of what ‘farming’ meant to those directly involved in it as well as to the people of a state that proudly billed itself as an agricultural leader,” said Jim Timm (Nebraska Broadcasters Association).

“As I was born and raised a city dweller, the occasional trips to my uncle’s farm while growing up in the ’60s and ’70s were always something to look forward to,” Timm recalled.

“While too young at the time to understand the meaning of ‘work ethic,’ thankfully it wasn’t lost on me that my relatives lived a very different life. They got up earlier, worked harder, and did so every day of the week with rare vacations, no holidays, and no complaining. It was a decidedly different way of life, but I was always aware of how much they enjoyed what they did.

As much as local radio was omnipresent at the time, I also noticed how much my relatives relied on local radio stations — but for far different reasons than my own,” Timm said. “While I loved the music and the DJs, my relatives built their schedules around market reports, weather forecasts, and, of course, the news. And there usually was some discussion following whatever they heard. While these observations struck me somewhat at the time, I never thought my future might one day bring me back to those days, nor with such enhanced awareness.

“By the time I was a teenager I knew I wanted to work in radio,” Timm said. “Some of my friends shared the interest so we studied together to take the FCC Third Class license exam. Upon receiving my license, I began doing volunteer air shifts on our hometown college radio station. As much as I loved it, it quickly became evident that I would NOT become America’s next great DJ.

“Thankfully, my older brother, John, was making his way in radio, and he encouraged me to consider the business side of radio. Then in high school, I enjoyed the business and marketing classes I was taking and became heavily involved. My parents (God rest their souls.) would tell you that selling seemed to come naturally to me, so I decided to pursue a radio advertising sales career, with longer-term goals of station management,” Timm said.

“After graduating with an associate degree in broadcast advertising sales from Western Technical College in La Crosse, Wisconsin, I landed my first full-time sales job in Appleton, Wisconsin. After finding success there, I accepted offers to sell for stations in Minneapolis/St. Paul and then in Eugene, Oregon, before longing to get back to Wisconsin. I returned to La Crosse as a sales rep and 18 months later became sales manager. Several years later I moved to Milwaukee as a general sales manager before accepting a promotion and transfer to Omaha, Nebraska,” Timm said.

“While general manager for a radio company in Omaha, I was asked to serve on the board of directors of the Nebraska Broadcasters Association (NBA). Through board meeting discussions and other association activities, I found myself recalling my childhood visits to my uncle’s farm as I met numerous station owners and managers whose programming was significantly devoted to agriculture. These broadcasters had a very different mission than mine, and their passion for it was amazing. Before long, many of these fellow Nebraska broadcasters became good friends and were (and still are) among those I enjoyed talking with most. They gave me a completely different perspective on broadcasting and what serving your community of license truly means,” Timm said.

“When I was hired as the president/executive director of the NBA in 2014, building our political visibility at the state capitol was one of my first assigned priorities. The fact that 34 percent of Nebraska’s economy is based in agriculture took on an entirely new meaning. I had never fully realized how many NBA member stations (including TV!) devote significant programming and other resources to serving farmers and ranchers across Nebraska. Likewise, I had never fully realized how dependent Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers are on local broadcasters. And, I had never realized how many government officials share an appreciation for local broadcasters’ service to agriculture.

“My eyes are now wide open to the incredible impact agriculture has on Nebraska and to the critical role local broadcasters play in supporting agriculture. Supporting our NBA members is now my life’s work, and I am particularly grateful for our members who serve agriculture,” Timm concluded.