The Secret To Winning Five Crystal Awards


    Earlier this week we found out that Jim Coloff and his team at KCVM-FM in Cedar Falls, IA will become only the 9th station in 33 years to win five NAB Crystal Awards. Today we find out exactly how they did it.

    Radio Ink: Five Crystals. That’s a rare accomplishment in the industry. Tell us about your team?
    Jim Coloff:
    It’s a little hard to believe that we are in such rare company to have received five Crystals. We are a bit of a rag-tag team in a small market in Iowa, so we don’t think of ourselves as anything special. We’re a rare Mom and Pop type of operation, but the team doesn’t let that hold them back from accomplishing some amazing things in our community. It seems like whenever there’s a need, someone on the team is lending a hand and getting the station involved.

    Radio Ink: Tell us why you believe live and local is so important.
    Jim Coloff: The simple answer is it’s all I know. I grew up in a broadcasting family that was very involved in community service. You support the community that supports your operation. My stations and staff have embraced that heritage and continue to build on it year after year. Local radio often is, and should be, the lifeblood of a community if it’s done correctly. As a company overall and at all 12 of our stations, we like to think we get it right much of the time.

    Radio Ink: What’s it like, what’s that feeling, when you know your station won five Crystal awards?
    Jim Coloff: We had a good streak of winning four Crystals in a row, but the fifth was a bit more elusive. I think not winning a few years motivated us to up our game and expand how we make a difference. I had more staff members than ever before wanting to get involved in projects and programming that benefited our community. Because we are “the little guys” in our market, our team is even more proud of the impact they make.

    Radio Ink: Tell us about a few of the things your station does for the community?
    Jim Coloff: Twenty years ago we started our own 501-C3 charity called Magical Mix Kids. Through numerous fundraisers, the group raises over $100,000 each year to take 14-16 chronic and terminally ill children on an all-expenses paid trip to Disney World. We pay for everyone in the family. Over the 20 years, we have raised over $2,000,000 with the help of some dedicated volunteers and community partners. The trip not only raises spirits and gives the kids hope, it gives the families a needed respite from the financial and psychological burdens of having a sick child.

    In addition, KCVM offers promotional and fundraising assistance to numerous groups and organizations throughout our community. Our Mix Matters program highlights these efforts on a daily basis. We promote animal welfare on Wet Nosed Wednesday, promote and support local educators with our Teacher of the Week award, have been a promotional partner with our local Honor Flight, and even renamed the station to Jaxton FM for a day to raise money for a child suffering from a rare medical condition.

    The Magical Mix Kids

    Radio Ink: What do you think the station means to the community?
    Jim Coloff: I think KCVM is the go-to station in a crowded market for community-related activities and organizations. Our operation certainly isn’t the biggest in terms of signals, wattage, promotional budgets, etc. But we are known as the station that cares and will deliver to the listeners when a need arises. We also dedicate our operation to severe weather coverage, local news, and even promoting local sports — some things that seem lost in many markets our size.

    Radio Ink: How do you plan to take it to the next level now that you’ve won five Crystal Awards?
    Jim Coloff: That’s a good question. I think the team we have right now is dedicated to improving the operation in all aspects. Sales, programming, promotions, and community service. It’ll be challenging to build on the work we have done in the community, but I believe our team will find ways to keep delivering. I know we are working on using some of the new tools at our disposal (website, video, social media) to enhance what we do, so I think they will play a role in taking our “Service to Listeners, Clients and Communities” to a new level.

    Jim Coloff


    Congratulate Jim Coloff and his “rag-tag” team at KCVM on taking home their fifth NAB Crystal Award by shooting him an e-mail at [email protected]




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