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Feature Interview

Bryan Fowler

Station Manager

WAYA

Charleston

To contact Bryan click here

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Bryan's Career Capsule

I started in radio in 1995 as a board op running ballgames for a 50,000 watt Classic Rock Station through an Internship.  We had a daytime AM station that was News/Talk and the GM approached me and asked if I would like the opportunity to develop a Christian Format,  Program it and go out and sell it. I said YES!   From there I was recruited to build a Christian AC Class A-the only one ever attempted South of Columbus, Ohio in our state.  I have served in the capacity of Program Director,  Account Executive,  General Sales Manager and General Manager.  Having worked for ClearChannel and Citadel (Cumulus) with a heart to impact lives, I have sort of developed a reputation for "clean up guy" and most of my recent jobs and assignments have evolved around "shaking things up". 



1. Tell us about how you became a part of WAY FM...

I had almost accepted a Position in Pittsburgh and was getting ready to give notice to my employer when I saw the opening for WAY-FM. I sent Lloyd Parker a text and was interviewing with Jim Marshall the next day. That was 6 weeks ago and Charleston is my new home!

 

2. What is the best programming advice you've been given? The worst??

The best programming advice I have ever been given is to be relevant and remember who your listeners are and/or remember who you are trying to reach. Do not try to be all things to all people and take the time to make sure you are putting out the best product you are capable of putting out.

The worst programming advice I have ever been given would have to be listeners don't really care about the "sound" of the station. They have no other choice but to listen. I still am not able to locate the guy who told me that. I bet he hates satellite radio, internet radio and iPods.

 

3. Regarding your career, what are you most proud of?

I grew up listening to WEMM-FM in Huntington/Charleston, West Virginia. It is a 50kw Christian Teaching Station. It is the station that I feel God placed in my path for me to fall in love with Christian Radio and therefore desire a career in it. I was solicited by them a few years ago to go to work for them. The station had deteriorated severely for the decade prior to my coming on board in every capacity-sound, ratings, image, revenue and just overall impact of the community. At my time of leaving, our weekly cume had tripled, we had launched a successful NBC affiliate TV campaign, rebranded on air and social media, launched digital initiatives and signed several new National Ministries. I am thrilled that God was able to use me to breath new life into what is a powerhouse there in West Virginia.

 

4. What is the one thing you must have to do your job every day?

I am a student. I follow all trade magazines, websites, social media-both secular and Christian. I think some of the most valuable information for our vitality and growth lies in bouncing ideas off of our peers and watching industry and market specific trends.

 

5. Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?

I have solicited locals from Social Media. People that have sent me a friend request through the station. Their posts show up in my feed and I say to myself that is a great communicator. They are real, they have content that I want to read and they keep my attention. Now, obviously they may not all sound good on the air but I feel we need real people behind the mic.

 

6. Do you feel syndication is good or bad for Christian radio?

If the content is good-absolutely. A few years ago I managed a listener supported Christian AC group in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky. I utilized store forward technology from Christian FM because I had used the same technology in secular stations I was working with. We were a small group. We were able to get well researched music, compelling content, local insertions and keep a relevant sound all while being able to focus on growing the financial base of our station.

 

7. Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing WAY FM (your station)?

At WAY FM we have a very proactive, research based and proven philosophy I feel, but the industry has one enemy-itself. I am tired of all the efforts of our industry being spent on new technology and WHO will be the one that crushes us. I am a huge fan of new media and utilizing and integrating it to expand our base, but if we remain relevant, full of compelling content and embedded in the communities we serve, terrestrial radio is a product that will impact lives and produce billions of dollars in revenue over the next several decades.

 

8. Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?

My radio hero would have to be a gentleman named Lew Davis. He was one of my first owners. He owned a group of 3 Class A and 1 AM station about 90 minutes south of Columbus, Ohio. He is about 80 now and virtually retired. He was the best radio sales person I have ever came in contact with. He was an exceptional programmer and one of the best engineers I have ever worked with. In the late 90's, our small group of stations had a facility, sound and plan that could have been dropped into any large market and succeeded. He was an agriculture major. I asked him why he was running radio stations. He said " I decided 30 years ago that I wanted to do what I enjoy and what I feel like will allow me to contribute to the Community and I LOVE radio". He also took a chance on me and stood behind me each step of the way and took time to show me a lot. I definitely would not be where I am today without his influence. 

 

 

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