I started on radio while I was 7 years old, voicing
commercials into a Radio Shack cassette tape recorder my dad got for
me. I studied under the finest personalities – John Hines and
Bob Berglund at 99 ½ WLOL, Minneapolis. In addition to
commercials, I sang and made other strange sounds onto cassettes.
Later, and slightly older, while in high school, I worked for KVSC/
St. Cloud, MN. Having no other conceivable option for my life,
with radio in my blood, I did what any good Twin Cities boy would do
– I proceeded through the “degree” program at Brown Institute.
After Brown, I moved on to KNAB, KFJB, KXIA, and now am part of the
team at Life 101.9.
How has KNWS evolved over the last few years?
It really wasn’t that long ago that KNWS was a blend
of Inspo and AC in different dayparts, taking a satellite service
for part of the day’s programming. Since 2005, when I started,
Life 101.9 has been completely live and local. We’ve continued
to strive for a more consistent programming lineup. It’s been
an amazing 4 years, working with a great team of people with
differing strengths, passions, and gifts. We’ve been blessed
with increased opportunities to engage our eastern Iowa communities
on the streets, giving our listeners opportunities to have fun,
enjoy time together, and at times – to do something bigger than
themselves and have an opportunity to see God at work.
2. Has KNWS made any changes due to the economic situation, been
affected in any way?
Life 101.9, and our parent organization, Northwestern
Media, have had to make varying adjustments to compensate for an
overall decrease in listener support. Fortunately, here in
eastern Iowa, the economy has been relatively stable, and our
listeners have continued to respond financially to help us continue
3. How is your coverage area a unique Christian market?
Life 101.9 covers 2 markets, Waterloo/Cedar Falls, &
Cedar Rapids, which to some degree blend enough, because we’re all
eastern Iowa together. (But, there are subtle differences we
remain aware of.) So for the most part, we try to program in
such a way that we don’t tip our hand one way or another with regard
to the 2 cities (we try to acknowledge local in both communities -
we have toll-free numbers to serve listeners in 4 different area
codes) but, one thing we don’t do is attempt to hide that our
studios are based in Waterloo.
4. What criteria do you require for a song to be played on your
A given song has to help us achieve our mission and
purpose. It has to – simply – be positive and uplifting. I
consider production value, whether it fits our format, and I have to
believe that it will be a favorite for our target listener after a
year of spins.
5. What kind of promotions work best for Christian radio?
We focus on and try to develop promotions that are
relevant to the life and lifestyle of our target listener. She
likes to have fun, to experience freedom, to get together with those
she loves, and she appreciates the opportunity to help someone else.
6. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve
I’m starting to come into the opinion, and I hope it
doesn’t mean my ears are getting “old”, that some songs (pre-air
chain) sound like they have some unpleasant distortive properties (I
have 1 recent example in mind). Other than that, the friends
I’ve made thus far on the label side have done an exemplary job at
serving us – delivering great songs from wonderful artists, and
providing valuable assistance in promotions.
7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian
Media choice – we need to continue to work the
communication channels our target listeners are using, and just keep
trying to intersect her life there. Our complacency – we know
we need to change various aspects of what we do, but either fear
change or avoid it some other way.
8. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian radio
Be a friend – be all about what our target listener
is thinking/ feeling/ wondering about, and reflect that. A
friend listens – so we need to listen to what she has to say, and
let her say it in our shows.
9. What (if any) Christian radio stations do you consider as
There are probably many. As one example, I
recently heard Fish LA, and their frequent song outros. I
don’t know how long they’ve been doing that, but it was new and
different to me as a facet of programming – it definitely stimulated
my thinking process.
10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
Hopefully continuing to make the message of love and
hope available to people as the number of communications channels
seem to be continually multiplying. In 5 years, we should be
on every iPhone, Pre, and Storm (and their successors) with
integrated ways for our listeners to be engaged with each other and
us as we engage with them, somehow tying together existing, and yet
to be invented, web products. My new media guy says html 5 is
going to eat everything alive and make the web amazingly awesome and
new. So let’s put our amazing geeks like him to work on that
now to invent “what’s next” .