I began working as a radio commercial copywriter in
1982. In Columbus and central Ohio I worked at WMVO, WSYX, WCKX,
WRFD,and WTLT (light rock, country, news/talk, agricultural, and CCM).
I was station manager and morning personality at WONU/Chicago (Shine
89.7) from 1991 to 2004. I’ve had jobs ranging from copywriter,
sales, every air shift imaginable, program director, station
manager...to even helicopter traffic reporter! I’m presently VP of
Business Strategies for Visum, a corporate learning services
you been up to since leaving WONU in Chicago?
My career took a big
change of direction 2 years ago. I’m currently VP of Business
Strategies for Visum, a corporate learning services company.
We work primarily with Fortune 500 companies in helping them to
develop high performance learning and training
environments. Everything from consulting to developing custom
curricula to creating a corporate University. A big part of my life
now is invested in working on my PhD in Education with a
specialization in training and performance improvement. My dream
has always been to help develop high performance learning
environments in which to train and mentor the next generation of
media professionals. Not just radio but TV, film, music, and all
forms of digital media content. All of my work and study are now
taking me in that direction.
2. What is
your involvement with Home FM in Spring Arbor, Mi?
I voice-track the
afternoon drive for Home.fm in addition to some consulting.
3. What do
you think are the main characteristics of today’s Christian radio PD?
I think today’s
effective PD (in any format) has to be visionary as well as
being fast and flexible. Quick to understand and adapt to the
shifting media landscape.
addition, I think it is absolutely essential that a good PD be a
great talent coach. In general, we have become pretty good at
programming music but almost to the exclusion of developing great
talent. If we’re going to compete with all of the emerging digital
media we’re going to have to become better at programming more than
just “jukebox” music formats.
4. What ingredients make a “hit song” in Christian Radio?
My daughter Mallory (who
recently won the PD Forum’s “Music Director of the Year Award”)
would probably be more qualified to answer that question than me,
but I think the elements of a hit song are still the same as they’ve
always been. A well crafted lyric that relates and rings true to
the listener (emotionally and experientially) in a fresh way, music
that is relatable (yet is creative and doesn’t merely duplicate what
is playing at the more highly rated mainstream station….I think
listeners are looking for more than “sound alike” songs), and of
course a great hook…ya gotta have a great hook!
5. What kind of promotions work best for Christian radio?
I don’t know that it is
really that different than at any other radio station. I’m partial
to lifestyle promotions. For instance at an A/C station a promotion
centered on home fix-ups or gardening would work well this time of
year. I also think that promotions that have a strong emotional
hook are very effective. As emotional beings we are drawn in by
stations that reach out to others in need (and are good at
communicating that on-air).
6. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve
This is a critical time
for radio and the record industry. Radio is competing against
existing and emerging digital technology and labels are trying to
figure out how to better market their music to a new generation that
doesn’t rely solely on radio to find out about new artists and
music. Xanga.com, Myspace.com, file sharing, instant messaging and
text messaging have become new channels of marketing. Radio
stations and labels should partner to find ways to exploit these
technologies for the benefit of both.
your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio
fundraising is a big one. The older models of raising support are
becoming increasingly obsolete. Again, emerging media is posing a
huge challenge to radio in terms of audience and advertising
What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian radio air
It has to become more
than being a board operator and reading liner cards. Our
personalities can potentially become our greatest asset as we
compete against iPods, satellite radio, etc. Our role is to
entertain, enlighten, encourage, and inform. To do it well requires
great skill and a huge commitment to train, coach, and mentor.
9. What (if
any) Christian radio stations do you consider as innovators today?
Well, I’ve been out of
the mainstream for a few years now so I’m not up on all of the
specific stations but I have to give props to a couple of stations I
know well…Home.fm/WSAE and Shine.fm/WONU. Home.fm and Carl Fletcher
for innovating a primarily mainstream light rock station with some
CCM in the mix and Shine.fm and Justin Knight for leading the charge
with a purely CHR format. Both, very gutsy moves.
Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
I hope to see Christian
radio as relevant, well funded, and well staffed (quality, not
necessarily quantity). The word radio may mean something different
5 years from now. I hope to see Christian media on the cutting edge
of culture, marketing, and programming. I hope that we are the
format to step up and truly invest in our future through training
and education of our next generation of broadcasters.