Jim Douglas and Kim Berk, or simply Jim and Kim, are the morning hosts at CBS’ Fresh 102.7/WWFS. The duo has been together on the wake-up shift for 11 years. In October, it will be three years for Jim and Kim at Fresh, after a long stint at Long Island’s KJOY/WKJY.
However, October is a million miles away. Just last week we reported that Fresh may become an FM simulcast of WFAN.
But before the rumors took flight for the male-dominated station uprooted at 102.7, FishbowlNY visited recently with the early risers.
One thing is clear, they enjoy each other’s company immensely, and bring that dynamic to the air each day.
“We get along tremendously well off the air,” Douglas says. “I think you can hear that on the air.”
“After so many years together, it just works,” Berk laughs. “It works if he lets me do whatever I want to do.”
“And she let me let her do anything that she wants,” Douglas cracks.
Off air, though, Berk says despite being great friends, they don’t socialize much.
“It keeps the show fresh,” Berk contends.
Most morning shows have a person in the lead with a sidekick. That is not the case with Jim and Kim. Equal partners, equal co-hosts.
“Each person gives the same amount to the show,” Berk says. “Each person holds the same amount of weight.”
Show producer Craig Lenti, and son of former WCBS-FM program director Joe McCoy, is another vital piece to the morning puzzle.
“It’s a democracy,” Douglas adds. “Someone will come in with an idea. If two of us like it then we’ll run with it.”
Douglas, a veteran New York jock, had stints at defunct stations Mix 105/WMXV and WHN. There was even the occasional appearance at CBS-FM under an assumed name while still working at KJOY. He is also an accomplished voice-over artist. But his day job has always been as an air personality, and usually with his on-air better half.
“Kim thinks I’m funny,” Douglas jokes. “There are a lot of people who don’t think I’m funny.”
“Your wife,” Berk counters.
“Yeah, yeah. That’s her,” Douglas laughs.
With such chemistry, the duo even bounces off each other when asked if Douglas would have gone to Fresh without Berk.
“That’s funny, I would say no immediately, if you would ask me that. I absolutely would not have taken it without Jim,” Berk laughs. “And I’m really scared that you just hesitated.”
“To be honest with you, and Kim doesn’t know this, I was offered other jobs, and I didn’t want to go because I didn’t want to leave Kim,” Douglas admits.
Together their timing is impeccable. Separately, they each bring something unique to the show.
“He brings a quirky, funny sense of humor,” Berk says. “Things that I’m not good at, Jim is good at.”
Beyond that she looks to his personal life for needed stability.
‘He’s been married for 25 years,” Berk says.
“All in a row!” Douglas adds.
Douglas, who grew up in Bellerose, Queens, lives on Long Island with his wife and son.
Turning the tables on his radio partner, Douglas says it’s a delight to see her each day.
“She is amazing to work with. First of all, she’s so well read,” Douglas says. “She’s so creative.”
The counterbalance also works because of their private lives, as Berk is from Manhattan and is single.
“Unless you’re from New York, you don’t get the New York mentality,” Douglas says.
“That was one of the reasons that CBS brought us in for the show,” Berk says. “Because they wanted a show that was part of the New York community.”
The Fresh version of Jim and Kim has evolved since its Long Island roots. The last WWFS morning rating prior to Jim and Kim signing-on had a 20th-place result. They reached number five for the last winter book.
Douglas says every morning show that’s ahead of them in the ratings as been in the market a long time.
“To crack that nut is extremely difficult,” Douglas admits.
But to stay successful in the city’s hugely-competitive morning drive, the duo acknowledges, they had to redefine “talk-ups.”
“You have to hook people right away,” Berk says. “Because you don’t have more than 20 seconds before they’re deciding whether or not they care about what you have to say anymore.
If you stick around longer than 20 seconds to hear Jim and Kim‘s banter and music, the target demographic becomes clear– women 25 to 54. But Berk is always surprised when others pay close attention too.
“We get a lot of guys that seem to enjoy the show,” Berk says. “Because we’re not talking about recipes and stuff like that. The show is about real life. We hope that it’s very relatable.”
With the complete focus on the radio presentation, they admit not enough is done with social media.
“We try,” Berk laughs. “It’s certainly something we could do better.”
While online connections are not a top priority, Douglas says interactions with the listeners help put the program on all cylinders.
“There’s nothing better on the show then when somebody calls and they have the funny line,” Douglas says. “That’s a home run when they’re making us laugh.”