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Radio Interview

                                     

 

Dave Gordon

APD/Air Personality

KXOJ

Tulsa

Dave's Career Capsule
Dave was born and raised in Terre Haute, Indiana. As an only child, he found many creative ways of entertainment. Combining sports, music, theatre and broadcasting, Dave has never known a moment of boredom. Over 22 years Dave has worked in radio stations in many capacities, including station management, in Terre Haute, Champaign, Chicago, San Antonio and Pittsburgh markets. Additionally, he served as vice president of an international character education film company.  Plus, Dave and his wife Kerry founded Country Living Home Furnishings.

Personally, Dave enjoys traveling, including multiple trips over the years to China, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and others. On one such trip he was temporarily detained and questioned while taking hundreds of foreign language Bibles and Study Guides into a communist country. Dave’s wife Kerry serves on the staff of Competitive Edge International. Since 1993, she has personally traveled with numerous athletic ministry teams to several Asian and South American countries. Locally, they attend Fellowship Bible Church in Tulsa.

Today, Kerry and Dave have two sons, Ross (13) and Calvin (9).  Dave serves on the programming staff and hosts an afternoon drive show at three-time Dove Award winning KXOJ in Tulsa. Additionally, Dave is heard daily on KYTY in San Antonio and KCTR in Muskogee, OK. 

 

1. Personally how do you keep the ministry in the “business”? 

18 of my 22 years in radio have been at Christian formatted stations.  But, during the years I spent as a general manager, it was more difficult to remain ministry focused than I ever would have expected.  So, now in an on-air and support role, I pray for my GM and owners regularly – knowing the depth of their responsibilities.  Frankly, the ministry must come from the individuals.  If an individual makes a conscientious decision to put “ministry” at the top of their priority list, it will not only be “in” the business…it WILL be the “business.”  

 

2. Overall, how is Christian radio different today, from 5 years ago?

Before KXOJ, I spent the past few years out of Christian broadcasting.  So, the Christian radio I work in today is quite different than the Christian radio I left.  Here are my observations as to how far we have come – keeping in mind .

Improvements:

>We’re more tuned-in to our listeners.

>Our playlist has more songs that are familiar to new listeners (from Sunday morning worship services).

Steps Back:

>Unable to compete financially in many markets.

>Mainstream broadcast companies sampling “Christian format,” may ultimately lead to more format flips.

 

3. What do you think are the main characteristics of today's Christian radio PD?

I could come up with hundreds of characteristics of the “super-effective” Christian radio PD.  But, I will keep it to nine.

>Imaging Genius.  On air…at events…when winners pick up prizes…on phones…hiring.

>Mind Meld with the GM.  If the two cannot read the other’s mind, it won’t work.  The GM hired you because you could do this.

>Knowledge of “the Line.”  Knowing where “the line” is…what it sounds like…what the results of approaching it are…and, how to the keep all aspects of the station away from it.

>Multi-tasking Freak.  Absolutely NOTHING can fall through the cracks.

>Strong Backbone.   Sales staff, traffic, air personalities, label reps all have their agendas.  Your agenda (the success of the radio station) must come first. 

>Training Guru.  Every employee (full or part time) must be hired to be your apprentice.

>Detail Fool.  How does a sports team win more games than their competition?  By committing fewer mistakes than their competition.  Today’s Christian PD keeps track of every detail on their station to minimize mistakes.

>Maintain Communication.  …with management, staff, listeners, record labels, concert promoters, peers, future employees, even the competition.

 

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

Lyrics, listener friendly music, good hook, artist lifestyle, etc.  Those are the expected answers.  But, one thing that mustn’t be overlooked is how quickly will our listener recognize the song when they hear it again.  If we are “their station,” we need to play “their music.”  We must pick songs that will become “theirs” quickly.

 

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

Listener first promotions.  For every promotion that has failed there was a PD that should have pulled the plug, called a time-out, or pushed the pause button long enough to re-invent it, or at least find a way to minimize the failure.  The ones that work get the listener involved early and respectfully keeps their attention.  Show the listener that you care about their time – don’t make them “sit up and beg” for every prize.

 

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

I pass.

 

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

Here are six big ones.

>Recruiting and keeping top talent in all fields (upper management, talent, AEs, etc.). 

>Avoiding stagnation. 

>Finding new revenue streams.

>Keeping the attention of our P2 listener.

>Maintaining the right image in the market.

>Separating yourself from like-formatted stations in the market.

>Interestingly, these are the same obstacles that I faced while managing in “mainstream” formatted stations.  No change.

 

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

This is going to be the simplest answer to this question ever.  But, it all boils down to this.  The primary role of ANY radio announcer is to keep the listeners who are listening to your radio station, at any given time, from turning off your station during the next commercial.  The HOW TO of that is where a “super-effective” PD comes in.  The personality must be forward speaking – what’s coming up that will keep my listeners from leaving my station, how can I give them the information they want (the artist from that last song) while keeping them listening during this 4-minute stop set.  Other VERY important roles include being the ”face” of the station at events, when listeners pick up prizes, in front of clients, on the phone (I know, they can’t see your face on the phone!). 

 

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

After being away from Christian radio for several years, my desire was to return to a station that IS an innovator.  And, I was blessed to do that.  There are MANY others.  I applaud the ones who can maintain their “innovative edge” over the decades.  Stations like KSBJ, WBGL, KLTY, and several others, have been legendary for their on-going success in the format.  They are able to stay current - even slightly ahead of the Christian culture for decades now.  That’s what turned me on to KXOJ. 

 

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

Hopefully, we’ll be super-serving our growing number of listeners with a product that sounds better than any other option.  I expect that there will be more mainstream, mega-broadcasters trying out a Christian AC format for a period.  As this occurs, the talent will change stations and new names will appear.  Recently, a Christian record executive and I were sharing suggestions as to who we thought the next big artist in Christian music would be.  Just as that will only help grow the format, so will the development of the next generation of radio talent.    

 

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