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Chris Gilbreath

Director Of Radio

KTSY

Boise

     

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Chris's Career Capsule
I started at KGTS at Walla Walla College in 1985 as a freshman.  I ended up getting some commercial radio experience in Walla Walla while still in school, first by doing a CCM show on the local mainstream CHR station, and eventually becoming PD of that station.  Since then, I’ve programmed Inspo, Christian AC, Christian CHR, Country, AOR, Oldies and Mainstream AC. I came back to my old college station, now the Positive Life Radio group, as a full-time PD then OM and stayed for 10 years.  My wife and I owned radio stations on our own for a few years, one of which was a Christian CHR in Pullman Washington (Go Cougs!).  I’ve been at KTSY since 2007, helping expand our reach across Southern Idaho with new stations and translators and handling PD duties for the last few years. 

 



1. Tell us about KTSY, a little station history?

KTSY signed on in fall 1990 with then General Manager Mike Agee and a group of high school students as DJ’s.  We’re co-located with a Christian high school.  Since then, guys like Jerry Woods and Ty McFarland have been here as PD and on air.  The station became an AC reporter way back in the 90’s. We’ve had our share of ratings success, hitting top 3 in women 25-54 and #1 35-54 more than once. We’ve added more signals, and we’ve grown the staff size, and we still have high school students as production and office help.

 

2. What is the one most unique characteristic about Boise?

Aside from our football stadium having blue turf? We’re considered a test market for a lot of things because we’re a decent sized metro of 600,000 and we’re not close enough to another major metro to be “influenced” by them.  It’s 8 hours to Portland, 9 hours to Seattle, 8 hours to Sacramento, 6 hours to Salt Lake City.  We’re a mix of farming communities that grew up and the high tech industry.  Hewlitt-Packard’s printer division is here.  Micron (memory and storage maker) is headquartered here.  If you have an iPod, the drive in it was designed here, if not made here.

 

3. KTSY seems to be a station bigger markets look to for upcoming talent, what do you credit that to most?

A couple of things. KTSY is in that perfect size of market to where it’s competitive enough that you have to continually up your game, but not so huge that we can never take chances or let a talent develop their own style over time.  We also have a long history of people both on and off the air here that have no pre-conceived notions of how things “should” be because this is their first radio station.

 

4. When needed where do you find new talent for your station?

There’s definitely no one answer to that! Travis Culver, our afternoon guy and Music Director was here when I got here.  He was a high school teacher before KTSY. Nichole’s been on evenings for even longer. In her other life, she’s a financial aid specialist for a college. Dave Arthur came to us for mornings from The Fish in Portland, and we paired him up with M ichelle Yeager, who was on our morning show before and was the station’s office manager before that.  Our middays are handled by Robert Forbes, who works out of our Twin Falls station and came to us from being the webmaster for Spirit 105.3 in Seattle. 

 

5. What promotions have been successful at KTSY since you have been there?

Giving away a church sound system, sending a delegation of women to Women of Faith in Las Vegas with a petition to them to bring Women of Faith to Boise, Christmas Wish and Christmas in July where we bring in representatives from local charities to present the needs of families in our valley.  Some are fun (ugliest couch contest, win a ROW of seats to Rock & Worship roadshow, giving away SPAM for Valentines Day) and others have more of a point, like encouraging women to be current on their mammograms or loving on the families of our Air Force men and women from the Mountain Home Air Force Base.

 

6. What criteria do you require for a song to be played on your station?

Our Jane doesn’t have a lot of time for lyrically vague songs. Believe me, we’ve tried some very good ones out on her. She prefers a more straight-forward worship song or obvious Christian lyric.  Sonically, we’re edging her ever so gently into the pop and urban pop flavor, but we still have a lot of right down the middle AC songs on. Not so much on the country or Alt-rock flavors.

 

7. In what ways do you think the radio/record relationship can improve?

I can’t complain. We’ve worked hard over the years to be open to listening to anything but still pretty picky about what we’ll add.  Travis Culver talks with the record people most of the time and there seems to be a healthy mutual respect for each other’s goals most of the time.

 

8. There are still some big markets without a CCM station, why do you think that is?

Basically if you’re not already in one of those big markets with a signal that you intend to use for CCM, your cost of entry is going to be very high.  In the case of most local churches or non-profit organizations, it’s out of reach.  For commercial signals, most of the holders of those sticks don’t get what we’re doing and are convinced they can make more money doing just about ANY other format than CCM.

 

9. What (if any) Christian radio stations do you consider as innovators today?

WPOZ for setting the bar high, Orlando’s Hot 95.9 for proving that a pure Rhythmic can work in CCM, Radio U for bringing multi-dimensional personalities to the format. I also love what Air1 is doing with Mixology. 

 

10. Where do you see Chris Gilbreth in 5 years?

I love Idaho and I love what I do here with our team and our group of stations.  I didn’t see myself being here 7 years ago, but God had other plans for me. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing until God makes it obvious he wants to reassign me.

 


 

 

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