Baseball delivered Jon Williams from Longmont, Colo., to Northwest Arkansas, but his family, a popular radio show and an ever-growing Loyal and Royal Army have him firmly rooted in the region.
Williams recently broke from his hectic schedule to be the inaugural interview for the new Northwest Arkansas Dining Dialogue feature conducted by The City Wire and sponsored by Powerhouse Seafood & Grill restaurant in Fayetteville. Williams had the grilled chicken and shrimp special. Judging from the clean plate, he enjoyed it.
“It has to be grilled and healthy,” Williams said about his menu selection, adding that he was then on day 11 of a special workout plan at World’s Gym. “I’ve dropped seven pounds.”
Those who don’t know Williams have just moved to Northwest Arkansas or have a radio phobia. He’s been a driver of morning show talk for more than 15 years, and his Loyal and Royal Army Facebook page has just short of 11,000 friends.
When he’s not making fun of the latest pop culture news, dissing on movie stars, lamenting or praising the latest Razorback sports reality, or giving away iPads, Williams is emceeing for a local charity event or, more likely, doting on his son and wife.
He’s not just a radio personality, he’s a businessman. The morning show that airs on 104.9 the X is his show. He’s the producer, sales man, deejay and all the other things that go along with keeping afloat a small business. The staff at Butler Broadcasting “are remarkable,” Williams said.
However, Williams says his wife, co-owner in the business, is THE essential ingredient to his success.
“She keeps me focused,” Williams said, admitting that his creative mind requires business-goal reminders.
He also gets business advice from Cameron Smith, with Rogers-based Cameron Smith & Associates.
“He has truly been a mentor. ... He made me believe I could do it,” Williams said.
Following are highlights of the Q&A session with Williams.
• Being a businessman, what are your thoughts on national and regional economic health?
Williams: “It’s like the yodeling hiker on the old Price is Right show, you know, and I think he’s about one-third the way up the mountain (of the national economy). ... The good news is that there are better days ahead.”
On the regional economy: “I wouldn’t say we are recession proof, but with the university and Tyson and Hunt and this world that is Wal-Mart, we are a bit more inoculated from deep recessions. ... I believe we, in this area, we are in a good place, and I see the uptick in real estate as a really good sign for us.”
• You once pondered being a candidate for the 3rd Congressional District. Still interested in politics?
Williams: “I won’t lie, it’s very tempting. ... But I’ve seen what running for office can do. I’ve seen the scrutiny the media can do and what that could mean for a family. ... I’m not sure that’s what I would want, to put my wife and 11-year-old son through that.”
“That said, I’m open to anything, but it would have to really be the right situation.”
• If you were King for a day, what would you change in Northwest Arkansas?
“That would have to be complete the 412 bypass (around Springdale). ... There are a lot of people working to fix this (traffic) problem in the area, but it’s really a burden in the area. ... I would definitely try and better the traffic situation.”
• Your thoughts on new head Hog Coach Bret Bielema?
“First, just let me say that I am in complete awe of how (Jeff) Long (University of Arkansas athletic director) did that hire and kept it so quiet. Look, the head of the CIA couldn’t keep his affair out of the news, ... but with Long, no one saw this coming with Bielema.”
“He (Long) plucked up a coach who took his team to a Rose Bowl three straight years. You can say what you want about Ohio State being on probation, but three years is an accomplishment. ... What’s more, you have Bielema, who comes in and accepts less money than Petrino so he can bring in a coaching staff he wants and pay them more. ... I mean, that says a lot about the guy right there.”
“Obviously, he has to prove he can win here, but really, so far, I really like what I see.”