Chris Kennedy Salutes Jim JJ Johnston, the 365 day man

Chris Kennedy is feeling thankful with Jim Jj Johnston.

January 6, 2019

Here we are. It’s January 2019 with a fresh start for a new year. 365 new days. For those of us in radio, it’s back to business as usual – where we bring our best content to our audiences every day 24/7.

For all of 2018, we were treated with a wonderful series of 365 daily posts written and published by radio programmer and consultant Jim Jj Johnston, whom most in radio just know as JJ.

That full-year series concluded on December 31st and it’s absence as a daily read is already felt.

JJ, as a supplemental note to your series: YOU are one of the 365ers, too. All on your list agree: the light also should shine on you.

Much of what we do in radio – in programming, sales, market research, branding, record & artist promotion, general & exec management and more — can go unheralded by others. And that’s okay. Sure, we get performance acknowledgement in various ways (including the paycheque and maybe the occasional award). And some even achieve a type of “star” status in our biz and local communities.

In reality, though, most of us just go about doing the work we do and humbly shy away from the spotlight – not really understanding the impact we have on others, especially among our peers.

When someone takes the time and effort to acknowledge the impact of the work of 365 individuals for no reason other than to highlight good people in our Canadian radio industry and to provide positive stories for social media on a daily basis celebrating radio for people to read, like, comment and share…

Well, that’s a very special thing.

That’s what we got to enjoy in 2018.

A fresh daily perspective “shining the light” on 365 “Good Ones” in Canadian radio.

A perspective determined, written and published every day for 365 different people by someone who clearly also deserves to be included on his 2018 list of “Good Ones”:

JJ Johnston – he is one of radio’s best and most influential programming leaders of the past 30+ years.

Back in the 80s, John McGhan was the most fabulous radio/TV/music biz marketing wizard. His mantra was “Think Like A Fan; Make Everyone A Star.” He demonstrated the importance of that better than anyone.

Since the 1980s, JJ may be the one person in Canadian radio representing that passion and mantra better than anyone.

When we do it right in radio, it’s pure magic for the audience. JJ is radio’s Master Magician. Through his enthusiasm, passion, hard work and trust in other’s abilities, he has mentored and he has led many successes in radio. He learned from a long list of Radio’s best and credits them all, including our mutual friend: the late great Steve Young. And so many others.

His list of 365 “Good Ones” didn’t focus just on the on-air talent. Nor on just the usual suspects, either. Yes, there were Hall of Famers and high-profile award winners. Many on the list were far less well-known. JJ’s Good Ones were people he learned from, who influenced him, hired him, worked with and for and sometimes competed against – all whom he strongly felt should have their stories in radio acknowledged and recognized.

To shine a light on their contributions to radio in whatever capacity – from receptionist to owner to record label promo people and local marketers.

His Good One series was a positive message campaign to counter-balance the too-often negativity found throughout social media. It was humbling and heart-warming to read for everyone who was profiled. He posted it here on Facebook, Twitter and other social and trades places, including FYI Music News. It created positive reactions with every post. While he personalized each story by weaving in how he knew the person he was profiling, none of it was about JJ; the focus was solely on the person he was honouring.

How refreshing!

His series directly and personally impacted 365 individuals and the people who follow them (their fans).

He thought like a fan and made everyone a star.

Wow – how cool was that?

As JJ himself said winding up the year of posts, there were many more who could and should have made the list. Just as we in radio try and squeeze in the most content possible within a 24-hour day, there just weren’t enough days to fit more 365ers.

Well, we have to squeeze you onto the list, my friend.

Among the thousands of comments all year-long, here’s a quick sample of thank you’s:

• Jeff Vidler: “JJ’s 365 Good Ones project stands as an unbelievable history of many of the most interesting, influential and inspiring leaders, personalities and characters in the Canadian radio industry.”

• Terry Evans “I appreciate your consideration and have enjoyed your year-long salute to the industry and its people.”

• Ger Forbsie “Enjoyed all the stories and tributes to the great recipients who you acknowledged”

• Janet Trecarten: “Not only have your efforts deservingly honoured many who fly under the radar, but they’ve also reconnected and reminded us of those we worked with and valued over the years. This is a truly remarkable community. Thank you.”

• Joe Leary: “Epic work!!”

• Reg Johns: “Brilliant concept for so many postive reasons. Good on ya JJ.”

• Ted Farr: “Amazing JJ. And thanks for including me. I am humbled to have been showcased among so many Canadian radio superstars.”

• Matt Cundill: “Something nice to read every morning.”

• Ted Silver: “Your 365 series has been a must read for me every day. Well done JJ.”

• Kevin Shea: “Your Herculean effort was Appointment reading for me (and most of us) every day. Thank you, Jim! What a gift.”

• Evelyn Macko: Thank you for this year! You have shared wonderful stories about my brothers and sisters in media; some of whom I’ve never met, or worked with, but people with passion about their craft!”

• Chuck McCoy: “Great work JJ and we thank you for making us aware of how many very special women and men we have in our Media and Music Industry. Well done my friend. Well done!”

• Pat Holiday: “Love all the 365’s (man, you’re like a machine with these…do you sleep?). They’re so great to read and fill in the missing pieces of so many friend’s lives.”

• Vanessa Thomas: “You have impacted a lot of people this year JJ, a huge effort and a huge thank you for taking the time. It was one of the highlights of my year…fun to reflect and give thanks!”

…and many more, including mine.

As someone who loves radio and also speaking the sentiments on behalf of all his named 365ers (share or add your tag to this post in support along with your own JJ stories):

Thank you, JJ. Thanks for choosing to shine your positive light. Thank you for your dedication to your project.

You diligently curated an amazing list of talented people every day all year long. Like the marathon runner you are, you accomplished your long goal in an inspiring and positive way while also making a lot of people smile with appreciation.

You thought like a fan for this series and made everyone a star. That’s what you do every day.

The next big question is a “Good One”, JJ, as asked by CMW organizerGreg Simpson: “So what are you going to do with the next 365 days?”

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  1. 7 days in and I’m already missing the 365-ers. JJ that was quite the undertaking (poor choice of words?) but you pulled it off flawlessly. I enjoyed learning about broadcasters I knew by rep only and those I’d worked with over the years. I am now much richer for having read your profile of them. Wishing you all the best for the remainder of this year and remain curious, like so many others, about what you’re going to undertake next. Now that you’ll have so much time on your hands. Cheers.


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