Famous Tall Cedar
'Jolly Jim' Hepler

"Jolly Jim" Hepler of radio station LOVE 99, has reached his 35-year milestone in broadcasting. What impels him to keep working the demanding schedule of a radio personality, "I don't know how to do anything else," says Jolly Jim. "I am a firm believer that you can do anything that you set your mind to do."  A resident of Gratz, Jim Hepler was born in 1947, the son of Ben and Mary Hepler. "I was born on first base of the ballfield and now I live in left field," he says. 

What attracted him to a career in broadcasting? "Stupidity," says Hepler. "I
have always been an entertainer. I participated in church plays at an early age. Because my aunt was a different denomination, I was fortunate to be able to perform in two of every church event. I participated in Jr. High Chorus, school plays and pageants and it was rumored that I was pretty much a character." 

"I was lucky. I had a father who encouraged my older brother Curtis and
myself to pursue whatever goals we aspired," says Hepler, "I have had a
phenomenal relationship with my mother and father. They were always
supportive of anything I wanted to do."  After high school Hepler attended the Career Academy of Broadcasting in Atlanta, Georgia. "When I first heard myself on tape, I was discouraged. I thought I would never make it in broadcasting with my very distinct Pennsylvania Dutch accent," says Hepler. " A wonderful teacher from Atlanta took me under his wing and after many hours of speech and dialect drills I overcame my fear." 

After graduating, Hepler went to work for WUNO in Lewisburg. 
In 1967, after six months with the station, he enlisted in the military. After ten
weeks of training at Fort Benjamin Harris in Indianapolis, he was stationed in Southeast Asia where he served in the Armed Forces Radio and TV Network. He spent the first six months broadcasting in Thailand near Laos and Cambodia. "We were understaffed and worked many 18-hour shifts," says Hepler.  He was then was assigned to head a TV station where he did two on-air newscasts a day. After volunteering for a second tour of duty he was sent to the Clark Air Base in the Philippines where he did a daily radio show, an interview TV show and was MC for the Airman's Club. It was there that he was introduced to greats such as Johnny Mathis and the Righteous Brothers. 

Six months after his stint in the military was over he began working at WTPA, currently WHTM, Channel 27 in Harrisburg, where he did news, sports, and weather. In his spare time he attended Harrisburg Community College where he received an associate's degree in business broadcasting. 

In 1975 he moved to WQIN, Lykens, 1290 AM until the station was sold in
1986. After three and-a-half years of red-tape construction began in 1990 and in February of 1991, LOVE 99 went on air.  "The changes in technology over the years have been tremendously challenging to keep pace with. In 1975 everything was on vinyl. Someone always had to be
in the station to keep things running. twenty-six years later you can't even find a record player in the station," " says Hepler. " Now everything is operated by computers."  " LOVE 99 was the first totally digitized radio station on the East Coast. With the LOVE99.com website we can be heard anywhere in the world by steaming audio on the Internet. By clicking on the headphones we offer a nice connection for people who are originally from the area for a touch of home," he adds. 

When he's not working 80-plus hours a week, Hepler enjoys being with his
wife of almost 25 years, the former Karen Etzweiler, golfing and snow skiing. He is a member of the Ashlar Masonic Lodge in Lykens, Millersburg Tall Cedars Lodge, Upper Dauphin Shrine Club, and the Zembo Temple. 
"You have to have a great love of what you do to work all these hours," says
Hepler, "Besides, I'm too dumb to do anything else."