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Radio Interview

Brian "PB" Brijbag
 

PD/On Air

 

Fire Escape Radio
 

To contact PB click here
 

PB's Career Capsule
My career history is quite varied and diverse.  I have been in Student ministry for over 10 years, currently serving on staff full time at First Baptist Church of Brooksville as the Student Ministries Pastor.  That area of the churches ministry is called Fire Escape and has grown over the last three years from a handful of youth to a ministry that serves hundreds of young people. Before entering ministry full time, I was a professional entrepreneur.  I owned several businesses including a small regional record label called “Masada Entertainment”.  We were an active label having hosted stages at Cornerstone Florida and Realfest plus we were the home to future Tooth and Nail artist Since October. 

As I settled at First Baptist Brooksville, I saw how I could use my past experiences to grow the current ministry God had me in.  I was approached by a local AM talk station (WWJB 1450) to start a hour long program geared towards students. 

I started reading books about radio and attended GMA week for the first time under the radio track.  Scott Inman at Daystar 89.5 (WKSG) out of Ocala, FL was one of the first to critique the show and offer some advice.  We joined his “Rock-it Radio” stable of programs. I met Pastor Samme of HeirChex during GMA 2008 and we developed a relationship that allowed Fire Escape Radio to be syndicated through his service.  At that point, Fire Escape Radio exploded as a ministry.  It is now syndicated on stations across the world and I have had the opportunity to interview and work with many industry artists.

Fire Escape Radio plays Christian Rock and Alternative music. Our tag line is “The Positive Scene!” We operate with total freedom on song selection and format.  It allows us to be experimental and try things that you may not normally find on radio. Another unique thing about Fire Escape Radio is that besides myself, it is all student run.  Alex Schelldorf currently serves as my co-host.  Being a college student, he understands the target bracket and is able to help the whole program relate.  He also handles some of the shows Producer functions. Fire Escape Radio is offered free to stations.  We receive no advertising dollars for the program.  It is a ministry and is supported totally on God’s provision. 

 

1. How has Fire Escape Radio evolved over the last few years?

First off jumping to a two hour program plus becoming syndicated.  We had to rethink how we handled “local” stuff and start to see ourselves as International.  We have added more music and decreased the talk time in response to listener feedback.  We have also re-tooled the devotion time to be lyrically based.

 

2. Has Fire Escape Radio made any changes due to economic situation, been affected in any way?

If anything, it has helped. We offer a unique program for free that targets a fickle market that does have significant buying power.  The issue is that the 12-35 age bracket listens to less radio then previous generations with the popularity of MP3 players.  Innovative online marketing, coupled with online streaming and uniqueness of product help us stand out and make FER an event, not just a radio show.

 

3. How is your coverage area a unique Christian market?

If most stations would be honest, the Christian hard rock and alternative scene is an afterthought because it does not have the power to command a dedicated format.  So many artists in that genre find success on secular radio and struggle in the Christian market.  We mix “Christian” artists with artists of “Christian” faith.  That allows us to cover more then your typical music and expand the label we place on music.  On FER, you may find Johnny Cash or U2 along with the more mainstream Christian artists.

 

4. What criteria do you require for a song to be played on your show?

We believe that artists create music out of their beliefs.  Because of that, we do not use a “Jesus count” to determine how Christian a song may be.  If I can determine an artist has a love of Jesus Christ and professes to know Him in a personal way, I will consider their music even if they are not traditionally considered a Christian artist.  That is the advantage I have being independent at the moment.

 

5. What kind of promotions work best for Christian radio?

Local radio is the best radio so local promotions work the best.  What I do with FER is not local so we have to re-think what we do.  We have found success on college campuses by creating an event atmosphere for the program.  That is done by viral online campaigns and out of the box promotions.  A visit to our local thrift store often generates unique and random promotional ideas!

 

6. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve Christian radio?

Great question! Fire Escape Radio gets ZERO label support.  They do not understand what we do because we are not “traditional” radio.  Exponentially the numbers work.  I can play a song once and it might in turn play on 80 stations across the world.  I can not get labels to think outside the “way we always do things” and get the concept of FER.  I really can not answer that question because we get no respect from labels.

 

7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio today?

Christian radio has lost any edge and creativity on the whole.  I see it as continually behind the innovations and playing catch up in many markets.  I think we have to realize we are effected  by the same issues the whole music industry is facing.  From downloading to deceased disposable income, the industry has to change.  The difference between me turning on the radio or listening to my Ipod rests on the strength and creativity of the on air talent.  The sad case is that creativity has been squelched in many situations and radio has become a lost art.

 

8. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian radio air personality?

A conversationalist.  I need a reason to listen to you.  I need to be engaged.  That could be addressing prayer concerns or local news.  That could be artist stories.  Bottom line I believe it is relational.  How can you best relate to the audience and serve God’s people?

 

9. What (if any) Christian radio stations do you consider as innovators today?

I tend to admire groups like Air One, Hopecore and Radio U.  I think they are kinda in the same vein as Fire Escape Radio.  They understand their listener and work to engage them.

 

10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?

I think stronger than ever.  I believe the Church in general is approaching a great harvest.  I see a yearning for spiritual things and we have the answer to those questions.  I believe once more stations start to think globally but act locally, encourage creativity and embrace the new Christian artist whom has already found mainstream success, a renewed desire for radio to become a big part of peoples life.  It may be by satellite or something we haven’t dreamed of yet, but this industry can continue to be relevant if we help lead the evolution and not allow it to sweep us along.

  

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