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Todd Stach

Chief Creative Officer

WCVO

Columbus

     

To contact Todd click here




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Todd's Career Capsule
Todd was very fortunate to gain tremendous knowledge from many smart people along the way as well as failing, learning, growing at WNLT-FM Cincinnati, WAY-FM Fort Myers, 95.5 the Fish in Cleveland and now celebrating almost seven years at 104.9 the River (WCVO-FM) in Columbus, Ohio.

 

1.  Tell us about WCVO (a little history, etc)? 

WCVO-FM went on the air in 1972 serving the Central Ohio area.  It was like most Christian radio stations for many years; playing a hybrid of many music formats and teaching/preaching segments.  In 2004, the team here, led by Dan Baughman, Tate Luck, Mike Russell and others (along with consultant John frost) birthed 104.9 the River.  At the time there were 33k listening to WCVO, and now almost nine years later there are over 225k listening to 104.9 the River.

 

2. How did your title "Chief Creative Officer" come about?  

About two years ago it was apparent that my attention was needed more off of the air than on the air.  So, we set out on a mission promoting the afternoon show (Mary & Josh) to mornings, hired a Program Director with more experience than me, and began transforming the thinking of everything we do to a BRAND perspective…not just simply a radio station.  We invested in mornings, music and marketing to not just grow audience but to strive to maintain consistent ratings.  Although the job title idea came from K-Love, my job description has been changing and growing over the past two years.  In a nut shell, my (and my team’s) responsibilities are to protect our brand (audibly, digitally and visually) and to bring cross-functional teams (programming, promotions, community outreach, sales, donor initiatives, web, marketing) in the building to pull the same direction with the same focused energy – easier said than done sometimes (insert smiley face here).

 

3. WCVO has received some very strong PPM numbers recently, what do you think is the main factors for this?  

Everyone on the team is responsible for ratings success or failure.  Absolutely everyone has to have a servant’s heart for each other, our clients, our listeners, our donors and our future listeners.  First impressions are a big deal to us.  Creating WOW, memorable experiences are a must.  Our culture demands that we live by our core values.  The leadership team expects a total commitment to serving AND having fun here.  We’ve hired smarter people than ourselves so that we can grow beyond our dreams.  We are free to fail, make mistakes and learn from them.  I truly believe that God is blessing our devotion to Him and our local mission.  It’s so exciting and rewarding for the team of people here to see ratings numbers that are 1st, 2nd, 3rd in our BIG target demo and 1st in every day part in our bulls eye target demo.

 

4. How does WCVO use social media effectively? 

Well, I’m not sure how effective we are at social media, but I can tell you that we’re striving to be the best.  We do have a designated (AWESOME) Queen of Social Media who interacts, posts, answers questions and helps grow our presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Youtube.  She lives to serve and takes her job with her 24/7.  Also, at every event we use HootSuite to post pics and content to every social media platform.  This year we ripped out an audio studio and made it a video studio so that we can grow our behind-the-scenes, unique video posts. 

 

5. Where do you find new talent for your station when necessary? 

We try our best to network with a few colleges and universities, interview thoroughly and hire unique, talented individuals THEN train them to help them realize that true potential.  One success story is Mary O’Brien who started out in part-time promotions and then learned, trained and developed into a star on the morning show.

 

6. What WCVO promotions have been most memorable since you have been there?  

Our Brand Development (programming), Community Relations (promotions) and Sales teams have brainstormed to create promotions that benefit both the sales client and the listener (ratings).  Our annual calendar has been filled with many A Tier promotions that we’re now planning about a year and a half in advance either to make our current promotions better or to dump and replace existing promotions.  Many of our A Tier promotions involve “people helping people” opportunities for listeners to win something for a friend or someone in need (flights home for the holidays, paying for winter heating bills, finishing college with adult education).  Our big summertime promotion is our 104.9 the River Vacation Bible School Tour where listeners can sign-up their churches to have our promotions team stop by the end of VBS with ice cream and River goodies with our River Dog mascot.  The client sponsor, who’s a local dentist, is also a Christian magician who weaves sleight of hand with the gospel – he also attends about one stop per week with us.

 

7. In what areas do you feel the radio/record label relationship could improve?  

Open communication.  I’ve worked at a few places that the radio station held in deep secrecy the results of their music testing.  Why?  We have nothing to hide here, so we invited one record label to come to Columbus and be a part of our bi-weekly music meeting.  I believe that they walked away with a better idea of why we do what we do, and we left understanding their goals, research and priorities.  Now, we just need to get those two areas to match up more than not.  That’s easier said than done.  Another area to consider is the quality of audio coming from record labels.  We are having a difficult time sounding as good as or better than the mainstream competition across the radio dial.  That’s mainly due to over compressed singles.  I hope that one day all record companies will make available uncompressed singles available to radio stations.

 

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

Because EMF hasn’t purchased one there!  LOL.  All kidding aside, Christian radio is an expensive investment and needs to be highly competitive if the desire is to be successful.  The financial risk/reward is very great even considering the potential lives that could be touched.

 

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

So many people have asked me about why they don’t see us at Momentum.  Here’s why.  During the past few years, we’ve designated our travel budget to visiting people at radio stations that have had success (we haven’t been able to go every successful station).  A few years ago we spent two days with Scott Valentine and his team at KCMS – we walked away with some great programming & music strategies as well as the important relationship between programming and sales.  Since Alan Mason consults us (and has been a major contributor to our success), we’ve made several trips to K-Love.  They’ve been willing and gracious hosts and have given us the opportunity to take back ideas about fundraising and donor relationships, the importance of having a team pastor on staff, and leadership and role development for some of our programming/on-air team.  (Side note:  if your radio station didn’t end up here it doesn’t mean that I don’t think highly of you.  There are many incredible individuals and stations that we “check out” and admire from a distance AND can only hope to become like some day).  We also hope to be true innovators and unique catalysts in/for our industry. 

 

10. Where do you see Todd Stach in 5 years? 

The simple answer is where God wants me.  I spent much of my early career making mistakes and searching for that next big opportunity, meanwhile my wife and kids moved from state to state (although I think it’s cool to have all three kids born in different cities – my wife – NOT so much probably).  Honestly, I can’t imagine leaving where I am now.  Through pain, perseverance, trial and error, team building, establishing core values, having crucial conversations, and making results more important than intentions – well – God has blessed us with an amazing culture with an UNBELIEVABLE team of men and women who “get it”.  This is MY home away from home.  I absolutely love coming to work.  It’s not easy every day, but through the difficult times we bond tighter.  Our President/CEO Dan Baughman always uses the analogy of climbing a mountain: the climb gets more difficult the higher you climb – but the higher you climb the more perspective you can see around you.  Sometimes you can’t see the big picture where you are, but just keep climbing because your view will become much clearer the higher you climb. 


 

 

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