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Bill Maier

Morning Co-host

KSBJ

Houston

     

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Bill's Career Capsule
Bill’s early career included working as a general market air personality at KFYE-FM in Fresno (AC), KPLZ in Seattle (Hot AC), KSDO-FM San Diego (CHR), and KFI in Los Angeles (AC).  He then co-hosted the “Bill & Sylvia Morning Show” at KBIG-FM in Los Angeles (AC) for several years.  While working in LA radio he hosted Westwood One’s syndicated “National Music Survey” and did voice-over work in Hollywood.  After five years at KBIG, Bill left the station to enter graduate school.  He earned his doctorate in clinical psychology and worked with low-income children and families at an LA County community mental health clinic.  He then moved to Colorado to take a position with Focus on the Family.  Bill hosted their “Weekend Magazine” program, the “Family Minute” radio feature and the “Family Insights” TV news segments.  He also served as Dr. James Dobson’s primary fill-in host on the Focus on the Family daily broadcast.  Bill joined KSBJ in Houston in 2012 and co-hosts their morning show with PD Susan O’Donnell.  He also hosts a Saturday talk/interview program for KTIS-AM in Minneapolis and Northwestern College’s Faith Radio Network.

 

 

1. Tell us about how you ended up at KSBJ (a little history, etc) ?

Although I worked in general market radio for many years, I’m fairly new to the CCM format. Last year Chuck Pryor was kind enough to ask me to do some fill-in work on K-LOVE, and I filled in for Scott & Kelli for a week while they were on the “Friends and Family Cruise.”  I had a blast interacting with K-LOVE’s ten billion listeners and playing with the VoxPro.  When Susan O’Donnell began searching for a new morning co-host, I threw my hat in the ring.  Susan was shocked to learn that I had been a general market music jock in my “pre-Focus” days and that I can sing several Tom Petty songs from memory.  After a thorough background check, KSBJ was willing to look past my ties with 80’s rockers and I joined the staff in May.

 

2. How was the transition from Focus on the Family to the morning show at KSBJ?

Like many of my colleagues who have backgrounds in general market radio, I absolutely LOVE working in CCM.  There is a meaning and purpose to our work that can be difficult to find in the secular broadcasting world.  As Chris Lemke at WCSG has so thoughtfully stated, the primary role of a Christian radio air personality is to communicate and model what it means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  I pray that God will help me accomplish that as I enter the studio at 5:00 AM each morning.  As for the transition from Focus on the Family, I have a great love for that ministry but it has been fun getting back to my live radio roots.  I’m still utilizing my training as a psychologist through public speaking and producing short-form radio features on faith and family.  Interestingly, KSBJ had been airing several of the programs I hosted for Focus, so their audience was familiar with my name and voice.  However, some listeners have been stunned to hear “Dr. Maier” from Focus on the Family doing wacky character voices and cutting up with Susan O’Donnell.  I like messing with their minds.

 

3. What first got your attention about the Houston market when you arrived?

Houston is a big city with the heart of a small town.  The people here tend to be very gracious and welcoming, and they truly care about those in need.  KSBJ’s listeners in particular are generous with their money and their time.  There are also a lot of bugs here.  Flying, crawling, jumping, pole-vaulting bugs.  We didn’t have those in Colorado.

 

4. How do you keep in touch with your market on a daily basis?

“Live and Local” isn’t just a slogan for us; we really live it.  We’re out in the community every week through our Brown Bag concerts, Prayer Stations, and our incredible “KSBJ on the Street” team.  You will find us at just about every major event in Houston, and we’ve built partnerships with dozens of local churches and community service organizations. We have an ongoing relationship with several Houston TV stations, and our morning traffic reporter also does traffic for the local NBC affiliate.  This city is CRAZY about Houston Texans football, and the Texans’ official “ambassador” (a former player) is a weekly guest on our morning show. 

 

5. Where do you find show prep?

Susan O’Donnell is constantly challenging us to be real, relevant and topical, and to focus on things that are likely to be “top of mind” for our target listener.  We hold regular brainstorming sessions at our programming meetings.  Susan writes the words “Where is She?” on a white board and we generate a list of topics that can be leveraged for content.  For example, last June the list included things like “keeping cool,” “vacation/road trips,” “keeping the kids busy during summer break,” “Fathers Day,” “graduation,” “Vacation Bible School,” etc.  We also search the local media for prep and I enjoy using Jason Sharp’s “Positive Prep”—he always comes up with fun, engaging lifestyle content.

 

6. What promotions have been successful at KSBJ since you have been there?

The week I joined the station Susan and I emceed KSBJ’s biggest concert to date.  We welcomed 16,000 listeners to hear Casting Crowns and Matthew West perform at a beautiful outdoor amphitheater in The Woodlands, TX.  During the summer we partnered with the Houston-area YMCA’s for “Operation Backpack.”  We were able to collect backpacks and school supplies for over 50,000 underprivileged kids.  Another big event for us was the “Wings Over Houston” air show.  Susan was hoping to pilot an F-15, but I convinced the Air Force that was a bad idea.

 

7. What are the biggest obstacles facing KSBJ?

Like many major metropolitan areas, Houston faces numerous social problems.  Crime, poverty and illegal immigration are a reality here, and unfortunately the city is a hub for human trafficking.  Our general manager (Tim McDermott) and board of directors feel called to be part of the solution by encouraging KSBJ’s listeners and local churches to make a difference in this city.

 

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

Certainly lack of available signals and startup costs are significant barrier.  However, in those markets without a local CCM station, it would be exciting to see a group of churches and/or Christian entrepreneurs join together to bring Christian music and the message of God’s love to their city.  I personally would like to see a CCM station in Boston, bringing light and hope to a fairly dark corner of our country.

 

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

I love what KTIS-FM is doing in the Twin Cities.  They are challenging their listeners to put their faith into action, sharing Christ with those who don’t know Him and finding tangible ways to serve in their local community.  Check out their “Helping to Make a Difference” video on YouTube!  I also appreciate the work of my friends Ty McFarland and Jerry Woods at WGTS in Washington, DC.  They are passionate about reaching our nation’s capital for Christ.  Their staff is currently grieving the loss of their wonderful GM, John Konrad, so please keep them in your prayers. 

 

10. Where do you see Bill Maier in 5 years?

Proverbs 16:9 tells us that we may make our plans, but the Lord directs our steps.  I confess to being an enthusiastic “planner,” but my desire is to be more open to God’s leading in my life. Regardless of where my professional path takes me, I pray that I will become a more loving husband and father, a better friend, and a more winsome, effective ambassador for Christ.

 

 

 

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