Career Capsule: I graduated with a B.S. Radio Management from San Diego State and grabbed my first gig playing automated Barry Manilow in Bucyrus Ohio. I honed my skills doing high energy top-40 on the Isle of Guam, Baton Rouge, Oklahoma City and Greensboro among others. I moved onto mornings in Columbia and Little Rock and was the Executive Morning show producer at the number one urban station in America V-103 in Atlanta. Now I’ve been at J103 in Chattanooga for 5 years.
Brad, Tell us what’s new with WBDX… news, changes, & with YOU… etc
J103 is very promotion driven as we just celebrated 22 years of ministering to the TN Valley (Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama) with a Big Daddy Weave Concert. Like everybody else, we are getting ready for our sharathon and our big summer concert called Jfest with eight acts including Jeremy Camp, Family Force Five, and Sanctus Real.
For the last five years, J103 has been the number one radio station as voted by the readers of our newspaper, our morning guy Ted Gocke is number one and Jfest bounces between number one and two.
We are also very personality driven with major character development under the tutelage of Spirit 105.3 Seattle PD Matt Stockman. I meet with him every other week to explore on air, off air and social media branding advancements.
My afternoon show is heavily produced to create theater of the mind: lots of phones, beds, drops, customized liners, audio off the anchor app, and silly contest like “One of these sounds is not like the other…” just thinking way-way out the box. And then 180 into if you need to talk to someone I’m here, praise reports and reassuring the audience God’s in control. And off air, all of the talents are heavy into blogging and social media.
Regarding production, what advice would you have to doing this job efficiently?
With so many spec spots, promos, and cutting spots for other markets I try to use as many macros and keyboard shortcuts as possible. Some of the best macro recorders are JitBit and PhraseExpress. I also am the webmaster for Swap-a-Spot: a barter network where 300 voices trade copy. Check it out at swapaspot.net
What is the best programming advice you’ve been given? The worst?
I have two concepts that I incorporate: 1) when doing an on-air bit, facts bring the curse of knowledge so tell a story and let the recorded promo or website give the information. 2) The words if and imagine are the strongest words in any bit.
Worst advice: try to talk deeper
Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?
There are 11 Christian radio stations in the Chattanooga market: Gospel, Teaching, Inspirational and Contemporary. I believe the redundancy factor of the CCM in our market diminishes our listener base to a point… we always brand and promote our talents are local.
What is the ONE thing you must have everyday to do job show?
Evernote App – I have every show since March 2012 at my fingertips.
Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?
J103 has a great farm system as there are 3 Christian Universities to groom talent. That being said a lot of passion has to be there in the first place to make it work. As the year’s progress and more communication platforms are added, fewer students are interested in radio. So I believe your older more seasoned talents from the secular stations are crossing over to work in the CCM format, which if executed correctly, can mimic your stellar Top-40’s and Hot AC’s.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
When I first came into the CCM format I was under the impression that I needed to be talking only to those that carried a 25 pound KJV wherever they go. Then about two years ago a study came out that 40% our audience doesn’t even go to church. From this, I dropped the Christian verbiage (witnessing, testimony, gospel…), use the Message or paraphrase for encouraging words and keep afternoon audience guessing what is going to happen next.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
I grew up in an area northwest of Santa Barbara California with no Christian radio so my influences are theater of the mind geniuses: Stan Freberg, Craig Hunt of KDWB, Rick Dees – KISS-FM, George McFly – B-96 and Kidd Kraddick at KISS in Dallas in the 90’s.