I co-hosted the morning show on
FLN for about 12 years. Last April I came off the air and made
the switch to executive producer. My only previous radio
experience was in the 1980’s when I wrote and performed some
occasional bits and characters for the John-Boy and Billy show –
a syndicated classic rock morning show based in Charlotte, NC.
Prior to working with Family Life, my Christian entertainment
background was focused on writing and performing comedy and
drama for stage and television.
How does a Christian radio morning show set
itself apart from mainstream competitors?
Certainly content is the major difference. Our
music points people to the Lord and His presence in our lives,
something that rarely happens in other formats. But it’s what
we do between songs that matters. Our content should be just as
relatable, entertaining and downright funny as anything else
across the dial. Family Life doesn’t need a filter either. The
material is clean and wholesome. That makes the biggest
difference. Kids and adults can safely listen to us any time of
day or night. There’s nothing to take your mind places it
shouldn’t be going.
2. How has your morning show evolved or changed
over the last few years?
We’ve undergone a number of personnel changes over the past
couple years. Obviously different people bring many different
perspectives, opinions, and styles to the show. The challenge
has been to build the show into a cohesive unit while still
allowing the co-hosts to be themselves. Partnership in radio –
like anything else – takes a great deal of compromise and
generosity, a desire to let your partner(s) shine, and a
willingness to adopt a “servant’s heart.” With that mindset –
cohesiveness can and will happen. And when it does, it’s a
3. What morning show topics seem to be hot right
Frankly, I don’t focus on the “what’s hot right now” because
it’ll be cold next week. Hot topics come and go. Strike while
the iron is hot and then move on. We approach “hot topics” from
the perspective of how well they fit into the show. Every show
out there has the same stuff to pull from. It’s what we do with
that material that makes it truly “ours.”
4. What is the advantage of being live and local
such as your show is?
Being live makes it possible for the listener to take an active
part in the show. It gives them a measure of ownership. However,
for Family Life, staying “local” is tricky. We’re not
nationally syndicated, but we’re not “local” in the traditional
sense either. Our signals reach into large portions of New York
and Pennsylvania, so remaining local is a big challenge. From a
logistical standpoint, we accomplish this by splitting our news,
weather, spots and PSA’s into several regions. From a
programming perspective, it’s accomplished by 1) speaking to the
individual listener, regardless of their address 2) taking part
in regional events 3) tying local events into a regional
mindset. (Ex: “Here’s what they’re doing in Buffalo, NY –
what’s happening in your town?”) and 4) having a strong website
that can link us all together on the same page.
5. What kind of promotions work best for
Christian morning shows?
We do promotions to strengthen the family. God
created the concept of family, so, of course, the Enemy wants to
tear it down from every angle. I love giving away tickets to
marriage building seminars, family oriented films - anything
that pulls the family together. Family Life also has several
other outreaches to cross promote, including a performing arts
department, adult and kids ministries, family counseling and
more. It’s pretty special to have radio station - a promotional
medium in itself - literally down the hall.
6. Do you use any show prep services… tell why or
use them sporadically, but with so much on the Web today,
resources are readily available. Again, it goes back to, “what
can we do to make this ours?” We’ll take a show prep story and
give it a new punch line, or create a character bit or
discussion topic out of it. There’s always something more
creative to do than a “rip-n-read.”
7. What are the biggest obstacles facing
Christian morning radio today?
One of the biggest challenges is to keep from becoming boring
and predictable. Then there’s that tendency of being
hyper-afraid of offending someone, whatever the topic may be.
Never be ashamed of saying the Name above all Names: Jesus.
8. Do you think there will be more or less
morning syndication in the future of Christian radio?
I’m not an expert on this topic, but more syndication wouldn’t
surprise me. Most of all, I think we’ll start seeing more
cross-pollination between radio, Web, and mobile devices.
People are already “building their own radio stations” with
sites like Pandora, so I think things will continue in that
direction – i.e., finding ways to create more flexibility and
accessibility with our listening habits. People look to morning
radio to bring the fun as well as the music to get their days
started right. I don’t think that will change; however, the
ways in which we access the content will.
9. What (if any) Christian radio morning shows do
you consider as innovators today?
Hopefully our show! There seems to be a lot of cookie-cutter
mentality out there today. For example, I don’t buy the thinking
that suggests there’s a certain person in our demo who somehow
encapsulates everything we say and do. That’s the last thing I
want from our morning show. I want our listeners to feel like
they might miss something cool if they stop listening.
10. Where do you see Christian morning radio in 5
I see Christian radio embracing technology in
new, creative ways, and hopefully not falling behind the times.
(This is an ironic statement coming from a real techno-stooge
like me. However, I do understand “the times, they-are-a-changin’”
mentality). In relation to the morning show, we have a choice
of continuing to preach to the choir or to start reaching out to
a culture that doesn’t even know if God exists, and then loving
them with Jesus’ love. This is my heart. We want our show to
be relevant to people who aren’t Christians, too. Give them
something better than the rest, break down the barriers with
fun, relevant topics with plenty of comedy. Then we’ve earned
the right to say, “Now that I have your attention, I’d like to
introduce my real BFF – Jesus.”