While considered a "small market"
by industry terms, Fort Wayne is a great city steeped
in a deep German-Lutheran heritage, with lots of
churches (Fort Wayne is known as "the city of
churches") and restaurants. (We seem to be a good test
market for a lot of products, even more than just
food.) We're not too big, but not too small, either
although it is very "crowded" on the radio dial. In
the Fall of 2004, 20 stations had at least a 1.0 AQH
share. Other unique aspects about the radio landscape
here is that there are a number of radio personalities
who have called Fort Wayne home for over 20 years,
most of them at the same station, which seems rare
these days, even in market #105. Perhaps the most
unique aspect of it all is that the GM's at both
Christian music stations here are female and both have
been at their stations over 15 years.
2. What is the most
fulfilling aspect to you personally about Christian
Hearing my 9 year-old
step-daughter in the back of the car singing along to
the songs! Also, we've seen an audience growth of over
12,000 just in the last year. It excites me to know
these lives are being impacted because of what they
hear on the station. They love listening because they
know it is safe, and they hear a positive message!
3. Here is your chance to
testify on behalf of your station...How has God used WLAB?
The husband of a listener was won
over to Christian music when they attended our SonicFlood
concert a couple of years ago. (We won this concert as
part of a label promotion) A related story is that she
works as the director of a Fort Wayne Christian
Daycare and every classroom is tuned in to Star 88.3,
so not only are they using the station as a tool to
reach the children and parents, but also other
teachers working for the daycare. A college freshmen
whose listened for years also wrote to us recently
saying her dad (a non-believer) starting listening to
the station on his own. She says every time she is
with him at home or in the car he has Star 88.3
blaring on his radio!
Another lady who listens baby-sits for her two cousins
(8 and 12), both their parents are not Christians. One
weekend the girls were with their grandparents on the
way to the lake and they told their Grandma (who was
listening to the top country station in town) to put
it on Star 88.3. She is a Christian but didn’t
even know about the station! So she changed the
channel and the 8 year old said “I love this
song grandma!” This lady had baby-sat the girls for 2
years and didn’t even realize that they were learning
the songs and enjoying them!
is the criteria that
determines if a song receives airplay on your station?
We have a strong listener panel
so all of our songs are tested. My philosophy is that
a song has to earn its place on the station! For
starters, the lyrics have to match our key positioning
statement..."Uplifting, encouraging, and safe for your
kids!" A song also has a better chance of being added
if the message directs the listener to God, whether in
an obvious or in a more "indirect" way. Obviously, the
production values are key as well. Also, is it a song
that we'll be playing 5 years from now? About once a
month, or when necessary, we will "pre-test" new songs
to gauge reaction from our listener panel. If it
receives a high positive score, that makes the
decision process even easier, in light of all the
singles we are bombarded with on a regular basis.
kind of promotions work best for your station?
Events that give something back
to the listeners and/or the community. Just one that
comes to mind from this year, and in the past 4 years
dozens of family have received the assistance they
need because of Star 88.3’s “Help a Neighbor
Project.” Along with canned food items, Star 88.3
listeners drop off new or gently used toys, bikes and
books. Each week, a child can come in and get a new
toy. Also since most of these families have little to
no income, The “Help a Neighbor Project” makes sure
that these children are provided with a lunch all
summer long. This could be the only meal that most of
them get that day!
An event we have coming up is
tied in with Indiana’s new child occupant protection
law that will require the use of booster seats for
children ages 4-8 years. Shockingly, only about 1 in
5 kids who should be in boosters actually are, and so
we’ve teamed up with the local SafeKids organization
to host a “Booster Seat Bonanza” to give away booster
seats…while supplies last.
6. How do you think
Christian Record labels can better serve Christian
Personally, I would love it if we
could find a way for artists to be more accessible to
us radio folks!
7. In your opinion what are
the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio today?
Got an entire page to spare?
People don't know we exist!
Christian broadcasters who can't understand (or don’t
want to believe) why many Christian's don't listen
to Christian radio.
C. Stations that are unable to invest money into the
proper resources, (whether it’d be marketing,
research, consulting, etc.) or spend it in the wrong
Managers whose hands are tied by board members or
Mainstream taking the non-commercial stations
seriously when it comes to market impact and exposure.
Lack of upcoming talent who can relate to the typical
"target audience" of a Christian music station.
What (if any) other Christian radio stations do you
consider as innovators today?
Z88.3 in Orlando, and KCMS in Seattle, partly because
we have the same consultant! Seriously though, Martha
Hadley at KCMS is #1 in Women at night even beating
out Delilah. KXOJ in Tulsa also comes to mind.
Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
see radio consumers who will continue to grow
dissatisfied with what they hear on mainstream radio,
and will look for a place that they can go to for
relevance, encouragement, music and content they can
listen to…especially with their kids. With the growth
of many key Christian music stations around the
country recently, these stations will be in an even
better place to make a deeper impact on their markets
in the coming years. From an industry standpoint, I
feel that this will also attract Christians who are
currently working in mainstream radio. We recently
hired a well known market personality who has given us
a fresh “outside” perspective on things. He commented
recently that “it is so great now to work in a
position to where I have a purpose and that I’m
actually making a difference in people’s lives.”