By Taylor Boyd
Jim “Big Jim” Shively is set to switch roles at the WHEO radio station when he takes over the helm as its new general manager.
He currently is in training with general manager Denise Stirewalt, but Shively is set to start flying solo on October 1.
Shively started working at WHEO part-time almost a year ago, after contacting the station about carrying his syndicated radio show and asking if he could help out.
“I actually got a call about three days later and was pretty surprised,” he said.
During his tenure with WHEO, Shively has worked on editing, doing his show and another one he picked up, as well as updating the station’s website and app.
Stirewalt said she decided to leave the position to pursue other ventures.
“She asked the guys there, because they have been there for a long time, and a lot of them were happy doing what they do right now, which is DJ-ing. Then she asked me, and I’ve always wanted to do this. I was excited it happened so fast, and here we are,” he said.
As the general manager, Shively will be responsible for obtaining sponsorships for shows, helping with special events like the June Bug Hunt, and continuing his work on the website and app.
“Mostly it’s getting with the businesses in the community and us helping each other promote each other,” he said.
Shively’s goal for WHEO is to see the station grow and become more popular while maintaining the sense of community. He said he wants to continue providing good programming and good oldies music that people are interested in hearing.
Shively is also interested in potentially turning the backroom of WHEO into a working museum of old radio equipment. He said the station still has the original mixer from 1959, the original turntables that still work, and several old records laying around.
“It’d be nice to set up a replica station of what it was back in the 1960s for fieldtrips or something like that. I think it’d be neat to hook up some of this old equipment and show kids what it was like before computers,” Shively said.
Shively also plans to continue Stirewalt’s work on obtaining grants for the purchase of a generator and a new roof. He said the type of generator WHEO is trying to get would be able to power the station completely through any type of natural disaster.
“We’d like to be there to provide any information that’s going on in any situation. We have people that live really close to the station that can make it here in five minutes and I can control it remotely,” he said.
Shively grew up in Ferrum and moved to Nashville after high school where he worked as a session musician playing bass for more than 20 years.
After leaving his music career, he moved back to Virginia and began recording radio programs in the evenings after his day job.
In his free time Shively enjoys playing putt-putt, driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and hanging out with his two cats.