native of Sikeston, Missouri, Allen’s first radio job was right out
of High School in 1972 at KYMO in East Prairie, Mo., doing a hot AOR
(Album Orientated Rock) afternoon drive shift. As PD he left KYMO
for college in 1975, where he worked at a new Christian station,
KLFJ, in Springfield, Mo while attending Central Bible College.
Allen continued at KLFJ as News Director four years after graduation
before coming to A/C Christian WLFJ in Greenville, SC in 1983. WLFJ/His
Radio is part of the Radio Training Network of stations. In addition
to Greenville/Spartanburg, SC, His Radio is heard in Raleigh/Durham,
Fayetteville, Asheville and Charlotte NC, Myrtle Beach, Charleston
and Hilton Head SC, Savannah, GA and Dothan, AL. In
Greenville/Spartanburg His Radio broadcast in HD with two sub
channels. HD comes to His Radio Savannah this fall. His Radio also
programs a 50,000-watt AM station, Christian Talk 660 in Greenville.
Allen has been General Manager since 1990 after previously serving
as Music/Program Director and Operations Director. He currently
hosts “His Radio Praise” Sunday mornings from 7 am to 11 am. Allen
and his wife Nell have one daughter, Amber. Allen has also served as
an adjunct instructor at North Greenville University in the Mass
Communications dept. for the past 7 years.
Personally how do you keep the ministry in the “business”?
Identifying your purpose and focusing on the vision of what God has
called you to do gives you the proper perspective. The business side
exists to serve and provide the funds for the ministry. You have to
keep that in the right order. As a staff we pray for each other and
for listeners. We distribute a listener prayer list to staff by
email and pray for them every day. We also have prayer times on the
air three times a day. As we read the emails and hear the prayer
requests it really brings home the real reason we do what we do.
2. Overall, how is Christian radio different today, from 5 years
is certainly more competition today from a lot of sources. Not only
is Christian radio changing, the way people consume all media is
changing. Digital music is more portable and the Internet has
changed the way it is delivered. Consolidation and networks have
affected Christian radio much the same as mainstream broadcasters.
From a percentage of total radio listeners, Christian stations are
getting more market share than ever and programming has improved and
become more consistent across the country. However, network morning
television and people in cars on their cell phones continue to take
time away from radio listening.
What do you think are the main characteristics of a Christian radio
and foremost is a sense of calling from God. I believe God calls
people into radio ministry for specific times and purposes. Without
that sense of calling you will not have the passion to share the
Gospel and allow the Holy Spirit to use your station to change
lives. You must have a vision that allows you to see a bigger,
better, stronger ministry in the future…while never taking your eyes
off of who you are and what you are doing today. Achieving
excellence becomes a reality when you set high expectations, humbly
face and correct your mistakes, stay optimistic, and void the
quicksand of complacency. As GM’s we must realize that we are
stewards of the ministries God has placed us in and that stewardship
carries a tremendous responsibility. The focus should be on doing
what pleases God in everything we do.
4. What ways or methods do you think work best to keep your staff
build a great team, you must create a culture where everyone shares
the same values, purposes, and expectations of success. True success
is achieved in direct proportion to the degree that you treat your
staff with respect and dignity…and believe in them enough to help
5. What kind of promotions work best for Christian radio?
promotions that spread from listener to listener are powerful tools
to create loyal listening and committed fans. They should encourage
listeners to tell your story to family and friends. My favorite
promotions are ones that relate to a cause that helps others. That
is the ultimate win win when you can have fun, promote the station
and meet the needs of people and ministries.
6. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve
friends at the labels have a challenging task and I appreciate all
that they do. It’s a partnership that is best served with open and
honest communications between the labels and broadcasters.
7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian
today’s economy funding and monetizing station operations is one of
the biggest challenges, as is finding and keeping good talent.
There’s also the natural tension between entertainment and ministry.
Finding the right balance takes skill and patience.
What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian radio air
job, as messengers of the Gospel, is to bring hope and encouragement
and speak with the same language the culture is speaking. This
requires air personalities to be real and natural. The most
important and difficult job of any air personality is to be
transparent and talk to people as close personal friends about
things that are important to the listener. When you love people and
what you do it really connects with the listener.
What (if any) Christian radio stations do you consider as innovators
privileged to be a part of a network of creative, innovative team
members across the Radio Training Network of stations. There are
other great broadcast friends I highly respect, in fact, too many to
mention in this small space.
Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
long as broadcasters stay focused on meeting the needs of the
listener by providing relevant compelling content there will be an
audience. The listener will follow the programming whether it is on
over the air terrestrial signals, satellite, iPods or other forms of
media. The funding will follow the audience. I think we will find
broadcasters focusing more on local and customized content.
Listeners want to control and share their media and pictures with
family and friends through Internet sites like YouTube, MySpace and
Facebook. Broadcasters who find ways to accommodate this desire
will be the most successful in the future. It’s pretty clear to see
that video and the Internet will play an increasing role in
broadcast operations and promotions. Generational shifts will force
broadcasters to constantly evaluate and adjust to keep up with the
rapidly changing demographics.