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Radio Interview
 

Bill Scott

Executive Vice President

iBelieve Media

Franklin, TN

To contact Bill click here

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Bill's Career Capsule
I have had a wonderful Career in radio. I was 16 when I began in radio, WHAK in Rogers City Michigan. I knew from my first day that I loved radio. 1983 - 1989, I was blessed to work at WCIE FM in Lakeland, Tampa Florida. At the time, WCIE was a real pioneer in Christian radio. I did my first syndicated rock show called Living Water. I also learned how to do fundraising while at WCIE. I worked under Jon Hull while at WCIE and did the mid-day shift and held the position of production director. In 1989 I went to work at The Joy FM in Sarasota Florida where I did mornings and worked as the Program Director. I had the chance to work with great folks like Jeff McFarland and Bill Martin who still work at The JOY FM today. In 1991 I had the privilege of going to work for Bob Augsburg at WAY FM in Fort Myers Florida. Bob hired me to be the station manager and to join their morning team. The chance to work for WAY FM was a dream come true. In 1995 I went to work for Dawson McAllister Live based out of the Nashville TN area. I worked with Dawson for one year and then launched my own youth ministry called ZJAM. ZJAM was the name of our weekly radio program, we had over 350 outlets that aired the program live each Saturday night for a decade. The ministry launched the first online youth crisis hotline called TeenHopeline.com and serviced hundreds of thousands of hurting teens. We had a staff and interns of about 30 that worked seven days a week providing outreach to students in over 40 countries. 2007-2010, I launch Xtreme Talk Live, a two hour talk show for students and young adults on Sunday night. I have had the chance to work with Share Media in the area of fundraising consulting for Christian radio since 1991. My guess is I have hosted over 600 sharathons, not a goal I was shooting for but honored to have served and still do today. Today I work with Share Media and also with iBelieve Media producing a new digital magazine for Christian radio called iBelieve Magazine.



1. Tell us about ShareMedia and your role there?

I have worked with Share Media in some role for over 20 years. My guess is I have hosted over 600 fundraisers. I tried to figure out how much money that is, all I know itís in the hundreds of millions raised. I work as a fundraising consultant at Share Media. From time to time I have the chance to talk with stations about their format and what kind of radio actually produces great fundraisers and connects with their listeners, especially in these changing times. Just because you have a large cume, doesnít mean youíll get a good response in your fundraiser as a non-profit radio station.  

 

2. Describe your preparation for a typical station Sharathon?

There are a team of us that prepare a station for a successful fundraising event. We begin working with the station about three months out. My involvement as an consultant that is actually at the event as an on-air host or coach to the announcers begins about a month before arriving. We go through goals, what the station has done to connect with their listeners, budget needs, if there is matching money, give aways etcÖ We coach the station and the staff on how to be prepared to produce a great sounding and effective event. The preparation to a fundraiser is as important as the actual fundraiser.

 

3. What are some of the unique situations you've encountered at a Sharathon?

True story. I had a station manager ask me not to use the word pledge on the air. He continued to tell me that faith promise, gift, donation was not ok to use as well. As you can image I was very confused. The station manager than shared he didnít want me to ask for money during the three day event. I didnít know what to do. I asked for money in a very low key fashion. They had their largest fundraiser in the stations historyÖI was not asked back. I have to say it was one of the weirdest fundraisers I have been too over the years. Of course there was the time the entire staff quit at a radio station the night before the event. I have been to the largest Christian stations and the smallest and boy do I have some crazy stories. My good buddy Bruce from WGCA really confused me the first time I was able to go serve them. He wanted to know if I wanted to go to the meat truck first or the hotel? I thought he was saying MEET Truck. We pulled up to the station and it was a MEAT Truck, a trailer that use to haul meat. They built their station inside the meat truck trailer. Needless to say WGCA has grown over the years, has wonderful studios but we still laugh about the studio being in the meat truck under the tower many years ago. I also remember doing a sharathon with WORD FM in PA. My friend Dave from WORD FM, Dave Kirby and I did their first sharathon in the back of an actual garage, not the full garage but the back section of a garage. Again, they have grown into an amazing network of stations. Its fun to watch stations grow.

 

4. How do you keep Sharathons from becoming routine?

Wow, that is a great question. I do sharathons just about every week. Not to sound over spiritual but I really do pray that the Lord would allow me to approach each event with a fresh perspective. I really come to each event knowing that this is a once or twice a year event for them and that itís very important. So regardless of how many events I have done in a row, I keep in mind that the station needs my best work so they can have the finances to continue the work that God has called them too. No, itís not always easy. There are times you miss your family, donít feel well or are having a bad week. That is when you really need the Lord to give you the strength to bring your A game to the table.

 

5. What do you look for in Sharathon talent?

I think people can learn to do fundraising but there are some who just get it for some reason. First, you cannot be embarrassed to ask for money. You really have to believe the ministry is worth supporting and itís ok to ask for financial help from your listeners. If you cannot do that, you are out. You need to know how to connect with listeners. You have need to really know how to reach a listeners heart. Having radio experience is a plus. Jeff Scott at WBGL is a great example of someone who shouldnít be doing sharathonsÖOk, just joking. We are the Scott brothers lol.

 

6. What is the main thing a station can do "wrong" when executing a Sharathon?

To assume people will just give. If you havenít been involved in the community, touched hearts and made a real case why you are needed in someones life, youíll fail. I have had stations in the past that thought it was all on my shoulders to raise the money. My job is to come harvest the fruit that a station has planted all year long. I cannot grow your audience in three days or make up for the fact you havenít done your job. Fundraising is a 365 day process.  I am blessed most stations get this and we have a wonderful time of harvest when I visit them.

 

7. What other projects are you currently involved with?

I do some radio work with The Bill Scott Group. Dave Kirby and I are working on the new iBelieve Digital Magazine. We are excited to be working with stations like WGTS, WMHK, SMILE FM and others to go deeper into their listeners lifestyle. I really believe if you are just a radio station, you have lost the battle for the future. Itís time we see ourselves as a media outlet, a communications specialist and that includes, video, magazines, social media and radio happens to be one of the tools we use. Itís an excited day for radio, at least for those willing to change with the times.

 

8. What goals do you have for 2014?

I think 2014 is going to be a great year. Dave Kirby and I have worked in radio for over 30 years, many of them together. We are excited to help radio stations make the change so they not only will survive but thrive in the future. We are excited to see iBelieve Magazine grow and benefit stations. We want to help stations program better so they can reach the hearts of their listeners and see awesome fundraisers. Like I said before, large cume does not mean youíll have a good fundraiser. I worked for one station in the past that had 70,000 weekly cume and we raised more money than a station who had over 150,000 weekly cume. So helping stations program that will equal money during their event is a huge goal that i have for this new year. You can tell I am excited about the future of Christian radio.

    

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