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Radio Interview

                                     

Don Casteline

Broadcast Manager

WGRC

Lewisburg, PA

 

 

Don's Career Capsule

As an avid sports fan, my early dream was to become the next great Baltimore sports play-by-play announcer.  Still waiting on that one...

I did graduate from Messiah College with a Radio/TV/Film major spending two years at their satellite campus at Temple University in Philadelphia.  There, at WRTI, I did play-by-play for women’s basketball, covered pro sports, news, etc.  I later got my professional start selling commercial air-time while doing some part-time announcing work.  I started full-time doing news/sports with WGRC in March of 1998.  In 2003 I accepted a management position at WGRC and continue to pinch hit in every department (news, music hosting, talk shows, etc.).

1. Tell us about your market and how it is unique?

Our 7-frequency network spans approximately 17 counties in Central Pennsylvania with our largest single market being Williamsport, PA (home of the Little League World Series).  Our area, is located just north of the home of the Creation Music Festival in Mount Union, PA, and is fairly conservative including many smaller-sized tight-knit communities.  From a radio standpoint, the first thing you notice are all the hills!  The Central Pennsylvania landscape sure makes radio signals unpredictable.

 

2. What is the most fulfilling aspect to you personally about Christian radio?

Having come to radio ministry from the commercial radio world I have been thrilled to develop many relationships with listeners.  To hear about the way God uses radio in the lives of His people is truly amazing!  God has a way of using listener testimonies to keep me centered on my love for Him and my love for radio.

I have also spiritually grown a great deal by sharing the hosting duties of WGRC’s “The Matter At Hand” hour-long daily talk program.  I get all kinds of cool insights from top-notch guests from all around the country.

 

3. How do you personally keep the ministry in the business?

Although I have a ‘Management’ position, I love to serve others. One minute I might be interviewing a prospective employee or preparing for a Board of Directors meeting... the next I might be cutting the grass or cleaning out the basement.  Simple acts of service keep the ‘head small’ and the ‘blessings big’!  

 

4. What kind of promotions work best for your station?

Perhaps our biggest annual event is a concert day we host each summer at an area amusement resort that has free admission (Knoebels Amusement Resort).  If the weather cooperates then the place is packed.  We feature local artists and a national headliner. People love it and some actually plan their vacations around it!  It’s an awesome family event.

 

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

One of the music liners we’ve had over the years is “the message is in the music”.  I’d just challenge them to always strive to ‘keep the main thing the main thing’.

 

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

I believe the key to long term survival of Christian radio stations is that they develop and air programming that is ‘local’.  In fact, WGRC’s latest promotional phrase is “We live here... We serve you.”  To borrow an idea from a well known credit card company... there are many satellite and radio network options that have value, but to have a station that uniquely serves its market... now that’s priceless.  Along with the music, we continue to air regional news, sports and weather information while also highlighting area events.  It’s all about building relationships with listeners, donors, area churches and businesses.

Another key obstacle is for Christian stations to stay current with the latest technology.  High Definition Radio is here and we all know that going digital isn’t cheap, but the benefits are certainly there!

 

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

The on-air personality should match the off-air personality so listeners can ‘hang out’ with the real you.  Let your personality shine through, just be sure not to blind people in the process.

 

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

A day is coming when the typical radio listener will demand CD quality from stations on the FM band.  HD radios will be in most homes and vehicles.  Stations not offering an HD format will be ‘left in the dust’.  Many stations will be on their way towards offering at least one or two alternate HD formats.

More interactive station web sites will be the norm.  It won’t be enough to just ‘stream’ audio.  Station sites will have to have all the ‘bells and whistles’ in order to capture the attention of the younger generations.

Radio will continue to be a wild and fun ride full of surprises... but fortunately the message of Christian radio never changes!

 

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