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Radio Interview

                                     

Dave Ryerson

Regional Program Director

WSMR

Sarasota

 

 

Dave's Career Capsule
KKSI – Ottumwa, IA. KRRO – Sioux Falls, SD. WAOR – South Bend, IN. WVTK – Burlington, VT + WZRT Rutland, VT. WSMR – Sarasota, FL.

 

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

Our business is a form of ministry. The way I see it, how can we say we’re serving God if we’re not creating the best radio possible?  By creating the best station possible, you know you’ll attract more listeners, and the more people listening, the more people that are either first learning about the Lord or having their faith strengthened on a daily basis.

 

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

Good question. I’ve only been in Christian radio for two years now, but when I’m hearing from different guys in the industry that have been in Christian radio longer is just a shift in focus on less “ministry” and more on product. Because by focusing more on product, the number of people being ministered to is growing.

 

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

I don’t think you can say there are any main characteristics of anyone, because we’re all so different. The one thing we have in common, or at least I’d hope we all have this in common, is our desire to create great radio for God and to help people come to know about his love for us through his son Jesus.

 

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

Is it a good song? It’s that simple. A good song is a good song. I’ll look at stuff nationally, I’ll ask other PD’s what songs are working for them, because that can be an indicator of the potential of a song. Ultimately though, your research will tell you what songs are right for your audience and what songs aren’t.

 

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

If you’re referring to contests, I’ve seen a great response on contests for “blessing someone else”, though any type of contest is going to get a huge response if it can provide the listener with more time in their life. You make their life easier and you’ll hear from them.

If you’re referring to promoting your station, then community is where it’s at. We’re here to serve our community, to build a bridge between Christians and “non Christian” events. This year we became the exclusive radio partner for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, which set a record for dollars raised ($346,000) and number of walkers (4000+). The American Cancer Society is not a Christian organization, yet they has us there because of how we’d served them in the past. We’re not there to preach, we’re there to serve. Actions speak louder than words…

 

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

Actually, Christian labels are very good. I’ve had no issue getting product, which is one thing I’m a huge proponent of. If you believe in an artist you’re pushing, then provide the stations with product to better help you support that artist.

Coming from eight years of secular programming, Moses could get water from a rock, but I don’t think he could have gotten CDs from a label.

 

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

We have a slightly bigger challenge facing us today than does regular radio, though we’re both in the same boat. With our society and media capabilities being driven more towards instant gratification, and various access to that instant gratification, where does that leave radio? My big concern for Christian radio, is being able to deliver the ministry aspect. I think people need, and want, our product more than secular radio, but I’m curious to see what the future holds for “on demand” ministry. 

 

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

Have a purpose every time you open the mic! Too many people focus on the “out” and not on the objective. The objective needs to be “what do I hope to accomplish with this break”. Talking about a station event, a “witty” observation you made or reading Scripture are not good breaks.

Let your website promote your station events. Make sure your “witty” observations are entertaining to more than just you. And if you’re going to share from the Bible, have a purpose for it. Jesus spoke in parables so people could understand him, are you doing the same? Speak in a relevant way where people can truly understand what you’re trying to teach. Again, it all comes back to purpose. What are you hoping to accomplish?

At GMA this year, Mike McVay said, and I totally agree with this, that the air personality is the future of this industry. It’s what allows us to remain different.

I challenge my staff on every break to either entertain, encourage or empower the listener every time they open the mic, Give the listener something. If you’re capable of taking their attention away from their computer, cell phone, iPod, tv, and anything else that distracts them, then you better make sure you make it worth their while

 

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

Sorry to sound jaded here, but I don’t even know if there is a truly innovative radio station in America right now, and that’s including commercial radio. Honestly, when is the last time a radio station has made news for anything other than obscenity violations?

 

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

People are always going to gravitate towards what entertains them the most. If we continue to focus on creating the most entertaining and relevant product, then I see Christian radio thriving in five years.

 

 

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