Career Capsule: I like to tell people that I started in radio in the 1900’s. It’s literally true, though. I was hired as a weekend announcer in 1989 at 91.5 WCIC in Peoria, IL, and remained at the same station for about 25 years. I’m very thankful for the years I spent there, because it helped to prepare me for what I’m currently doing. I am presently working full time at Samaritan Ministries International, where I produce and host a one-minute daily feature for Christian radio called Family Health Checkup, among other audio projects. I am also the host for a half hour teaching program called Unlimited Grace with Bryan Chapell.
Doug, tell us what’s new at Samaritan Ministries… news, changes, & with YOU… etc?
Activity here at Samaritan Ministries has been brisk. We recently passed the 250,000 member mark! It’s exciting to see more and more Christians trust God with their health care without having to rely on insurance. We also recently added another sharing option a few months back that makes health care more affordable for even more people. Samaritan has also been a major sponsor for the current Winter Jam tour. And, I recently had the opportunity to produce and edit a 28 minute radio special sponsored by Samaritan Ministries called “Health Care Confusion” featuring syndicated radio host Dan Celia, and health care analyst Cody DeWitt.
Christian Radio has become very competitive… what can broadcasters do to stand out from the crowd?
Standing out from the crowd will mean that you have to be “in” the crowd, so to speak. That means being part of the community in creative ways to connect with listeners as much as you can. Doing so builds loyalty and trust. Part of that connection and trust-building process is being a good listener, and being sensitive to the needs of your audience. So, it’s radio stations that need to be the listeners and respond to their listeners’ needs. Ironic, isn’t it?
What is the best programming advice you’ve been given? The worst?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have seasoned quality broadcasters and managers coaching me through the years, so I don’t have any “worst advice” stories. But the best advice I’ve ever been given is to just be myself on the air. Listeners don’t want to listen to a manufactured, polished, radio persona. They want to know that you care for them, that you’re genuine, and they want to hear who you really are. Let them.
Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?
I agree. Because there are different needs in the community. One radio station is not going to connect with every person in a market. People obviously have different tastes and needs. The ones that don’t listen to your station will need someone else to be there for them. That’s a good thing! Stations don’t need to be concerned about that. They need to celebrate it. More Christians (and non-Christians) being affected for the Kingdom is better than just a limited segment of the community.
What is the ONE thing you must have everyday to do your job?
Peace and solitude. I work better without distractions. But occasionally, I get woken out of my solitude after being hit with a Nerf dart from one of my fellow Creative Team members. It’s nice to know I’m loved, and that I’m not alone or forgotten here….and yes, I return the favor.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
Keeping up with the “competing” media choices that are emerging as technology advances. That’s why connecting with listeners and developing relationships in creative ways is so important in the process of building loyalty.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
My long-time radio mentor over the years has been Dave Brooks, station manager at 91.5 WCIC in Peoria, IL. Dave has been a steady example of grace, godliness, and professionalism, and has spoken so much wisdom into my life, even beyond broadcasting.