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Radio Interview

                                     

Carl Fletcher

Station Manager

WSAE

Spring Arbor, MI

 

 

Carl's Career Capsule
Carl Fletcher joined the Spring Arbor University staff in January as general manager of its radio stations, but his love for radio started when he was in junior high. “I was syncing songs on a dual cassette deck when my brother’s girlfriend said, ‘that sounds good, you ought to be on the radio,’ the rest is history.”

In college Fletcher got to do what he liked most, play and mix music. “I realized quickly that it was the career for me,” says Fletcher. From 1988 to 1992 he worked at WONU-Chicago and interned at 104.7 WCFL/Chocago when it was an oldies station called Super CFL. He also worked for the sister station as a news announcer.

In 1992, Fletcher went to work for 100.9 WHPO-FM as news director. A year later, Fletcher returned to work for WONU-Chicago as operations manager and enjoyed doing the morning show and programming the station. “I had the chance to meet and interview Christian recording artists and other interesting people,” says Fletcher whose two favorite interviews were with John Tesh and Bob Briner. “Tesh had interviewed so many people when he was on Entertainment Tonight that he was just an interesting guy. When I interviewed Briner, I just knew him from his Roaring Lambs book, but found out there was a lot more to him, like his connection and partnership with tennis great Arthur Ashe.”

In 1998 Fletcher made a career jump into contracting, joining the staff at Jackson Automatic Sprinkler where he learned a lot about people, business and corporate management. During this period Fletcher kept his toe in the water with radio, working for WLGH-FM Lansing and teaching broadcasting classes at Spring Arbor University.

Fletcher holds two degrees from Olivet Nazarene University-a bachelor's in communications and a master's in business. Fletcher resides in Concord with his wife, Camille, and daughters, Camryn and Caitlin. Fletcher attends the Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church where he is part of the small group leadership team.


 

1. Tell us about your idea of Home.FM and how it all came about?

A small group of us from Spring Arbor University collaborated on a niche format that could further the mission of the university to actively engage our culture through critical participation in the contemporary world.

With the market conditions including 2 other Christian AC stations in the area, we decided that a unique approach was necessary.  Something that could serve to be an avenue for people that enjoy music beyond what is offered by Christian artists, songs they know and are familiar with.  So the concept of HOME.fm was launched, a place where families could gather and feel comfortable with the content of the songs and conversation. 

 

2. Do you consider the station as Christian in format?

Absolutely, we hope to attract people that are familiar with our songs and introduce them to new artists and songs through the Christian music we play.  In addition, our jocks are Christians and we have additional Christian features. Artists like Mercy Me, Michael W. Smith, Switchfoot and other acts who have or are receiving airplay on mainstream stations help us build that bridge.    

 

3.  Do you think this mix of music and presentation could work in other markets?

Any market where families live and people enjoy music.

 

4. What is the criteria that determines if a song receives airplay on your station?  (CCM and Secular)

Mainstream, it needs to be a hit song that is familiar to the average person based on previous radio exposure.  The song needs to be free of sexual innuendo, or direct references, drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes.  Many songs are relational and we make sure that appropriate family based relationships are represented. 

Christian songs are held to the same standard, hit based and familiar to a Christian music audience, we haven’t found one to rule out because of lyrics yet

 

5. What kind of consideration goes into promotions considering the uniqueness of the format?

We approach it in a very similar way you would with a Christian or Mainstream AC station – family, mom etc.  We were at a Hearts at Home conference in October and were received very well by moms at home within our listening area and asked when we could get to their markets if they didn’t live within our market. 

 

6. How has the response been from Record labels?  (Christian/secular)

We have received some great support from EMI/Sparrow for both of our FM stations at Spring Arbor University.  We also own and operate a CHR/Rock station that is manned by students of Spring Arbor University.  Servicing on the mainstream side is very different.  We purchase our songs. 

 

7. What is Bill Dewees involvement with Home.FM?

Bill DeWees hosts our afternoon drive and continues to be my mentor and friend. 

 

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

Connect with your listener on a personal level, everyday. 

 

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

I love watching what Jenn and Ed Czelada are doing with Smile.fm all over Michigan.  They have been an inspiration watching a network grow from the ground up. 

 

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

I think that you will see more of what we have at HOME.fm.

But Christian radio is doing such a great job at establishing itself as a niche format, I think that audiences will continue to seek out the family option of Christian radio, whether it mixes mainstream in or not.  It’s a great format that will continue to grow exponentially.

 

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