I walked by a
little storefront FM station when I was about 15. I saw the
reel-to-reel turning and somebody sitting at a console with lots
of knobs and switches and giant green turntables. I was hooked.
I worked part time in radio (at that station) in High School,
and have been directly involved in TV and radio as a producer,
talent (not so much), manager, fund-raiser ever since… and
suddenly here I am, a grandfather and part of the old guard of
Personally how do you keep the ministry in the “business”?
listener supported station we depend totally on the generosity
of our listeners and local businesses. I believe if we were to
get off course, our listeners would be quick to hold us
accountable. We have a tremendous responsibility to operate with
openness and integrity. A Scripture that drives me on this is II
want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this
liberal gift. For
we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of
the Lord but also in the eyes of men.”
2. Overall, how is Christian radio different today, from 5 years
gotten better. The music is stronger than ever. There is a new
generation of creative people making their presence felt. A
really big change in the past five years that bodes well for our
future is the establishment of Christian Music Broadcasters as
the THE educational heart of Christian radio.
3. What do you think are the main characteristics of a Christian
A successful manager will be driven
by vision, passion and have the ability to motivate a team. You
also need to be tough-minded at times, and keep the “business”
side in order. Oh yeah, make good decisions, admit your
mistakes, know your strengths and don’t pretend you have
weaknesses. Your staff will be there for you if you are open
with them. I wish I would have learned some of this stuff a lot
4. What ways or methods do you think work best to keep your
Latitude. I let them do their job. I
encourage initiative and collaboration because I need this team
to be highly engaged at what they do best. My primary job is
casting vision, empowering the staff and solving problems – for
5. What kind of promotions work best for Christian radio?
Those that are fun for us, engaging
and fun for the listener, and if they make money it’s a grand
6. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve
I think that in spite of their myriad
of struggles, the record companies continue to bring us
artistry, innovation, personality, and ministry. I am a big fan
of the record companies. Together we succeed, or together we
die. Oh, performance royalties? A disaster waiting to happen.
7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing
Christian radio today?
Thinking it’s done… believing the
product is complete. If radio stops innovating, if we don’t
continue to find new ways to engage and keep listeners, our
economic model will crumble. At the pace of change today, that
could happen quickly.
8. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian
radio air personality?
In bigger markets with larger staffs,
I suppose it is all about being a great content manager. My
folks have to be great content managers, and great producers,
and great promotions people, and great… you get the idea.
9. What (if any) Christian radio stations do you consider as
Joy FM, our Southern Gospel group,
(primarily in North Carolina) is an innovator in that format.
Their three personality morning show, their willingness to
engage the listeners in ways that format has never done, make
them stand out. They have taken creative risks to target a
younger demo and it is working.
I really think the greatest innovation is probably taking
place in smaller and medium markets. With smaller staffs and
fewer resources, they really have to work hard to make great
10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
camp on this question for a while. Maybe I have been through too
many 5 year cycles in my radio career and heard too many
authoritative five year predictions -- that were just plain
wrong. CBS News report, August 2005:
Except for iPods, which threaten to crush radio,
none of the new digital technologies has yet built the audience
to challenge the
3,000 AM and FM radio stations in
the United States…”
I remember when the
cassette was going to kill radio. History tells us the TV was
going to kill radio. (I am not old enough to remember that) The
same CBS story quoted above said that satellite radio was
another great threat to radio. Well, just look at us! Not only
still here, but embracing technology, innovating, experimenting
with social networks… and it looks like we will be around for a
while. Check with me in five years.