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Radio Interview

Cale Nelson

Program Director

WHRZ

Spartanburg
 

To contact Cale click here
 

 

Cale's Career Capsule
I am a radio geek. I’m one that would rather listen to the radio than watch Television, enjoying all sorts of radio from the lowly Citizen Band transceiver up through the newest HD and everything in between.  I am an eleven-year Husband of one and Stay-at-home Dad of 4 (6 and under).  Jesus rescued me in 1996 not long after placing a Beautiful, Strong-willed, Spirit-filled young lady in my life. (Story goes, Cale rescued her from his then “best” friends evil grip, but who’s got the time for that debate?)  I’ve been a music fan for as long as I can remember…as a child it was Chet Atkins, Boots Randolph, or Floyd Cramer, youth brought on Huey Lewis, Van-Hagar, and Tower of Power, then a short stint into the realm of Country and Western.  Hard-Core rap and Heavy Metal finished out my young adulthood, finally deciding that I really did like it “all” with a small bias towards Rock and Hip-Hop/Urban.

“Radio” fell into my lap one day in early 2004 while touring the then “very new” WHRZ Studios.  Britt Dillard, the GM, asked me off the cuff, if I’d be interested in “doing some radio?”  I presented my list of excuses; my Wife, our toddling son, and our start-up small business, but promised to pray it over.  We did and in a few weeks I began hosting a weekly “Hard Music” show.   The Zrevolution still airs each week, with my former co-host Phoenix carrying on the mantel.  As time progressed the Z Music Director position opened up.  Britt again asked if I’d be interested, and here I am.



1
.
   How was WHRZ launched….when , by who etc?

WHRZ was launched by First Baptist Spartanburg SC as an extension of its ministry to students and parents of students. In April of 2003 FBS opened their newly constructed Youth Center called The Hangar across the street from the church. The central “Z” studios are located in the Hangar facility.  It was an intentional decision to create an independent structure and that embodied a passion for all the youth of The Upstate… not just the students that attend First Baptist.

The minister of Media at FBS, Britt Dillard, is no stranger to youth and media ministry focus. Minister of Media since 1983, Britt also founded the Sound of Light radio show in 1977 and later partnered with WLFJ 89.3 His Radio to reach out to teens and young adults with a weekly Christian Hit Radio show. As an advisory board member at His Radio, Britt continued to be host of the Sound of Light until he donated that brand to Crossover Ministries. On Thanksgiving Day 2004, Hangar Radio Z, 104.1FM went on the air as a single low power FM and began streaming online at www.HangarRadioZ and www.TheZ.com .    

 

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

Yes, the entire staff took pay decreases to keep the station solid and to insure that NO ONE from the staff was let go! Station giving is down 19% but the church giving is up 6% from last year and is providing some additional support.

 

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

The Z targets listeners thirteen to thirty-three years old. Since its inception the relationship with His Radio has broadened to include a network partnership mirroring Hangar Radio Z; know as HIS Radio Z www.HisRadioZ.com and www.theZ.com . The Music programming is identical, the ZJ’s are the same, the sweepers, Liners, Jingles and Spots all tailor the stations to HisRadioZ and HangarRadioZ respectively. There are 12 FM translators and 3 HD signals that rebroadcast THE Z, which allows listeners from all over the state of SC to enjoy our programming.

In a market that tells us students don’t listen to the radio …we see hundreds respond daily to the station and to the “Z Care-line”, a 24/7 prayer ministry. 1-877-443-CARE … Last month (august 09) taking over 700 calls from students and young adults!

 

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

Listed in no particular order:

  1. Is it Relevant to our listening audience?
  2. The Artists background (Faith, Walk, Lifestyle, Dedication)
  3. The Message of the song (what is the artist trying to convey).
  4. Does the “Sound” work for our station/listener?
  5. Does the song have “Hit Potential”?
  6. No Label Required!

 

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

Around here simple “call ins” work as well as elaborate schemes and big give-aways.  We had a blast with a few “go to the movies with the Z-team” contests a while back.  Most anything you can do to get out from “behind the Mic” and connect, one on one, with the public will return rich rewards!

 

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

I believe they are working really hard to keep us in radio-land happy.  We really enjoy the in-studio visits from artists.  The marketing folks seem to have a plethora of available promotional ideas and a desire to share them.  Like any relationship Open Communications are Key.  In addition, continue to search out and provide Radio with “Solid” artist.

And to remember the “little guy”-not everyone reports to the charts!  Before gaining reporting status, it was really tough to connect with the labels and share our vision with them.  I must add; a few labels and promoters were so very gracious and generous prior to our R&R nod!

 

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

  1. Society:  We’ve gone so far forward/backward so quickly; I think we’ve forgotten where we came from.  Righteous in most of the world is Old-speak.  The demise of the family, slipping morals and the stagnation of the Church have allowed our enemy to gain much ground in this battle.
  2. Ourselves:  Labeling ourselves as “positive” in my opinion won’t cut it much longer.  Could you imagine Jesus just being “Positive”?  It’s my opinion that we, as believers must become Intentional and Deliberate with the Gospel, take up our cross and follow Him.  With radio, He has given us the platform; sadly (in some cases) I believe we may fail to utilize it’s full potential.

 

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

All believers are called to be salt and light.  We are instructed to go out and bring others into the Kingdom.  Utilizing the gifts we’ve received to share the Good News of Jesus with the listener should be our primary goal.  Engaging folks where they are in life and sharing how Christ can meet them there and carry them forward should always be at the forefront of what we do.  Just the other day a friend reminded me that we are the “information arteries” for our listeners in regards to the artist and the stories of their songs, as well as serving the artist in the same manner; keeping them abreast of what the audience is saying in relation to the product offered, providing each side with valid opinions, wants, needs and desires (a position we may sometimes take for granted). Everything else could be considered nonsense and just makes for entertaining radio, which can be found anywhere on the dial.

 

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

RadioU… WPRJ “the Fuse”

 

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

A shining vestige of hope!  The “Fairness Doctrine” could really put a damper on things if we allow it.  HD-I’ve no idea-but hoping for the best?  Wireless devices will continue to boom!  Free Public Wi-Fi service will probably be available throughout most major metropolitan areas and that will lead to even more streaming and additional competing outlets.  Finally, I’d venture to say that there would always be radio geeks like me, who want to listen to a real radio, and don’t own an Ipod. 

 

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