I started my radio career in Fargo, North Dakota as a weekend
part-timer for Christian radio station KFNW AM/FM in 1988. I moved
from there to News Anchor/Reporter for Minnesota Public Radio for
six years, then returned to KFNW from 1996 until 2001. I began as
the Afternoon Drive announcer, and ended my time there as Program
Director for the AM station. I took a break from radio to pastor a
church for five years, but God called me back to Christian radio in
2005. My "official title" here is Music Director, but I am also
Morning Drive Host and Webmaster.
Personally how do you keep the ministry in the “business”?
The first thing for me is to make sure the "ministry" aspect is in
my LIFE. That is, I must make sure that everything thing I do is
empowered by the Holy Spirit, promoting the cause of CHRIST (and not
MINE), and from a heart of gratitude for what Christ has done for
me. I think if I start with my own heart, keeping ministry in the
business will flow...at least that's my prayer!
2. Overall, how is Christian radio different today, from 5 years
think the NUMBER of stations is different...there seem to be a lot
more of us in so many markets. Along with that, the proliferation
of Network-type stations has changed the way local stations define
themselves. The "market share" pie is cut into smaller and smaller
pieces, so stations who are locally owned and operated have to think
even harder about how to gain and maintain listeners. The other
thing I think has been changing for quite some time is how music
genres are defined. WTGN is an INSPO station, but what DEFINES
INSPO has become less and less clear. So many artists are cutting
songs which cross several genres and styles. That issue I think is
the biggest change I've seen.
3. What do you think are the main characteristics of today’s
Christian radio PD?
Hmm....well, I believe number one they need to be committed to the
cause of Christ through radio. I also believe they need to be
solidly committed to the stations Mission and Vision...and if the
station doesn't' HAVE one, work to create one. Thirdly, I believe
they need to have flexibility to work with listener trends, but the
stability to maintain their mission, working together as a team
inside the building.
4. What criteria do you require for a song to be played on your
Number One, it must be understandable...words must be clear and not
overpowered by the instruments; Second, the message must be at least
in some way connected to the Christian message; Third, the flow of
the song has to be able to be understood by someone driving in their
car or getting ready for the day, in other words it shouldn't be
complicated; Fourth, to be in our regular rotation, we require that
the artist's material be nationally released. We do have a special
program for local artists who have recorded material, but for a song
to get daypart airtime, they must be a "national" artist....not
necessarily be with any particular label, however.
5. What kind of promotions work best for Christian radio?
think the best types of promotions for the station are when the
staff can get out into the mainstream of the public. Its great to
be involved at Christian events, but when a station appears at
events that are not necessarily "Christian" (such as Coat
Collections or Food Pantry or a High School Football game), we
expand our audience immediately.
6. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve
think they can help us by not trying to force artists to be someone
they are not. Rather than PUSH a style or artist, I'd like to have
them call me and find out what our listeners are like...then really
7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian
Well, obviously, video games and TV options are one area. There are
just so many options for people now. But I also wonder if more and
more Christians are becoming complacent...or are finding it hard to
know what it really means to BE a Christian...that impacts Christian
radio, because one of our goals is to encourage them in their
faith. I don't see the Internet or other delivery forms being as
much of an obstacle as others might...because I think radio will
always be here....we just need to adapt to listening trends without
compromising our mission, goals and values.
8. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian radio
His/her primary role is to ENCOURAGE the listener...pure and
simple. We are to encourage them to faith in Christ, encourage them
in their growth, encourage them in their daily life.
9. What (if any) Christian radio stations do you consider as
10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
believe the format of Christian radio will not be significantly
different...but it appears to me that individual radio stations will
more and more adopt a singular ministry. They will have to narrow
their focus as more and more stations enter the markets. I also see
more and more stations being bought out by larger networks, which
reduces the local focus for many stations