One on One: Jeff Clanton and Thomas Waters

One on OnePhotos by Beau Gustafson

A key to Birmingham’s renaissance has been local residents continually lifting each other up. Take a closer look at the city’s business community and you’ll find this act being carried out daily. Whether promoting a local radio station or selling life insurance, the end game is essentially the same: personal connection. That’s why we brought together Birmingham Mountain Radio founder Jeff Clanton and State Farm insurance agent Thomas Waters for this month’s One on One.

Founded in 2010 as an Internet project and eventually becoming an FM station in 2013, Birmingham Mountain Radio is a unique radio station with a rock/adult album alternative format. The station highlights local and regional bands through local DJs and special shows. “We really felt like a radio station like this was needed,” Clanton says. “Birmingham has a wonderful pass-through market for bands. Many bands will purposefully reroute through here.”

Clanton observes that the radio industry has evolved to be more about the advertiser and less about the listener. “We think you can have both,” he says. He lists his personal cell phone number for people to call with suggestions or complaints and he says listeners are always surprised when they realize they are talking directly with an owner. But that’s just the kind of radio service Clanton believes in. “We are intimately involved with our listeners and we want to be a part of their lives,” he says. “We want to people to feel like they can own it and tell us ways we can make it better.” Tune in to the station at 107.3 FM or by visiting

Waters shares the same service values as Clanton when it comes to his business. His Homewood office is comprised of seven people, which is one of the largest State Farm Insurance teams in the state. They offer a variety of different services such as auto, home, life, and health insurance. There is one element at the root of what he does. “We take care of people,” Waters says. “It’s more than just insurance. It’s fun to deliver things people don’t expect.”

Waters recalls just before Christmas when one of his clients passed away. The son called Waters to check on life insurance and Waters was able to ensure him that the money he needed was there. He also recalls a time after tornadoes struck the area. He saw people in need after having their essential belongings ripped away from them.

Whether someone is losing their car or their house, Waters and his team take pride in helping their clients feel calm during a crisis. “We are there for you in your toughest moments, no matter where you are in life,” he says.

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