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Feature Interview

Kyle Dowden

Program Director

KWFC/KWND

Springfield

To contact Kyle click here


 


Kyle's Career Capsule

1993-1995 KCMG AM/FM, Mountain Grove, MO
Evening Host and CCM Music Director
1995-present KWFC-FM, Springfield, MO
Program Director(2004-present)
News Director (2002-2004)
2015-present KWND-FM, Springfield
Program Director (May 2015-present)
Morning Show Host (July 2015-present)

 



1. What's the latest news at KWND/KWFC?

2015 has been a year of change at KWND and KWFC. This past January, our parent company, Radio Training Network purchased KWFC (Southern Gospel) from Baptist Bible College. For KWFC, this was a huge culture change Ė going from a college-owned station to being part of a radio company. This opened new doors of opportunity for the station and staff, which had not been available before the sale. In May, I assumed the Program Director position for 88.3 The Wind (AC-Contemporary Christian). And, in July, our newest hire, Stephanie Jenkins, and I became the new morning team on 88.3 The Wind.

Ratings for both stations were significantly up this past spring, and both stations successfully completed Sharathons in August. Godís favor is shining on us.

 

2. Describe the transition to your current position?

I have been programming KWFC for 11 years, so having the southern gospel knowledge under my belt made the transition to programming CCM easier. RTN allowed me to be the interim PD for 88.3 The Wind before making that title official. This gave me time to adjust to the new station and format Ė a format I had not been with for 20 years. Having access to our consultants, Jon Erdahl and Daniel Anstandig, has been a huge plus to make this a smooth transition.

Doing a morning show has been a bigger endeavor. Fortunately, Stephanie and I were friends before she came on board, and we have gelled well as the new morning team. We are still growing into our new roles, and Iím excited to see what we will look like down the road.

 

3. What was the most difficult adjustment you had to make?

Iíll answer this in two parts. For programming, time management is the thing Iím still trying to figure out. Not only do I need to find time each day for both stations, but I have to do that after giving the first half of the day to the morning show. Managing the time, and building margin are by far the biggest challenges to the dual PD/Morning Show role.

For a morning show host, the biggest adjustment for me has come in tailoring show content toward the new audience. I had been the afternoon host for the past four years on KWFC, which is primarily an older demographic. Moving over to The Wind brought a much younger audience with completely different likes and dislikes. Crafting a show to meet them where they are has been the thing Iím still trying to learn.

 

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

I think the best advice I heard was about the purpose of radio. The primary purpose of radio is to make our advertisers and underwriters money. Now, that may sound like heresy in the Christian radio world, but it is true. That single sentence affects everything we do. It causes us to air the best music, hire good personalities, provide great content, and grow our audience. It is cyclical, and very beneficial to everyone involved.

The worst advice I received was the advice I never received. Iíve been in situations where there was no budget for consultants, seminars, conferences or any other training. When you donít train your staff, they whither like fruit on a dried up vine. I had to supplement that period of my career on my own. Station owners need to be aware that they handicap their stations when they donít offer continuing education.

 

5. What is the ONE thing you must have every day to do your job?

Dual, widescreen monitors. Seriously, I donít know how I got any work done before without dual monitors for my computer. Not only is it so much more efficient to get stuff done, but I can build a log on one screen and watch Doctor Who on the other.

 

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

I think our future air talent is walking the streets right now Ė undiscovered. We all know people who have great personalities. We go to church with them. We bank with them. We get our fast food from them. The talent is there just waiting for a connection. We meet the future on the streets every day. We need to be alert enough to spot them, and give them a chance.

This explains the path my morning show co-host took. Stephanie Jenkins had no regular on-air experience before coming to 88.3 The Wind. Her only times behind a mic were for NPR and PBS fundraisers. For the past few years, she has worked for a credit union. Not what you would expect as morning show material. But, she has a great personality that connected with GM Chalmer Harper while she and Chalmerís wife served on jury duty together. Additionally, she and I worked in childrenís ministry together at the same church a few years ago. The personality and the connections paved the road for her to eventually come on the team.

 

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

I love syndication when itís used properly. The program and/or personality have to be right for the station and market. We ran a terrible program on KWFC a few years back. The music was fine, but the host was very abrasive. When the listeners complained, we knew it was time to drop it. On the flip side, last year, we added Salemís Night Light with Andrea to KWFC. The call-in show was something new for us, but Andrea is a pro and very friendly. We saw a ratings jump for that daypart in the next book. So, I know that the syndicated programming that contains great content can work.

The danger area with syndication lies in replacing our local touch entirely with syndicated hosts. If we have no recognizable faces and voices in the community, we will never truly connect with our audience. It would be like asking them to give you a hug but remaining an armís length away.

 

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

Three names come to mind. The one you would recognize is Dan OíDay. Now, I donít know Dan personally, but I became acquainted with his work and writings in my first two years of radio. He was the first ďnationalĒ influence on my career.

The other two men were from that first station where I cut my teeth. Fred Clift was my General Manager, and Dave Hutton was my Program Director. Both of these men were patient while I learned the ropes. They could have easily driven me away from radio. Instead, they allowed me to make mistakes, to grow and then fall in love with this medium.

 

8.     

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