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Radio Interview

                                     

Eric Allen

Assistant Director of Programming

K-LOVE & Air 1 Networks

Rocklin, CA

 

 

Eric's Career Capsule
In college I worked for WONU and interned at B-96 in Chicago.  My first “real job” was at “Cat Country 102” in South Bend, IN.  From there I worked as a jock for various mainstream radio stations (country, rock, oldies) in Michigan, Indiana and Chicago (my hometown) and CCM in Virginia and Chicago. My first PD job was for the PAR-FM Network in Virginia.  I’ve been with EMF Broadcasting (K-LOVE & Air 1) for 6 years.  I’m also the co-owner and co-writer for Positive Prep radio show prep service (
www.positiveprep.com) for almost 10 years with Jason Sharp.

 

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

One of the things I have always loved about EMF is the commitment to ministry and top-notch radio – with no compromise on either front.  On a daily basis I’m reminded of what God is doing through K-LOVE & Air 1 with our daily staff prayer times.  We receive over 20,000 prayer requests each month and each request gets individually prayed for several times by people on our staff.  Reading and praying over those requests is a huge reality check and a perspective builder when you see what people are going through. It truly is a humbling thing to be a part of.

 

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

It’s better!  Is that too simplified?  But actually I’m in a unique position at this point in my life/career.  After being a jock and PD for 10-plus years, I came to EMF in a completely different role originally – more in management.  So I went through a period of my life (about 4 years) where I worked in radio, but not in programming.  As a person who has a passion for radio programming, it was amazing to feel God’s peace for that season of my life.  I think what God taught me during that period of my life as I came back to programming was that it’s okay not to know everything or have to pretend like I did.  I feel confident in my abilities, but more than anything I want to have a teachable spirit and continue to grow as a programmer.  I work with some incredibly talented people like Mike Novak, David Pierce, Jon Rivers, Alan Mason, etc, etc, so the opportunity to grow and get better is all around me and a huge blessing, if I’m open to it.  I know that really didn’t answer the question … but that’s my mindset these days.

 

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

Again, a little more reflective than practical … I think flexibility and the ability to mange your time and all the hats you wear is so huge to be being productive.  I can’t say I have that mastered yet, that’s for sure.  But there are days where you can get swallowed by everything but programming the station, so it’s a constant challenge.  It’s why I sometimes find myself editing music logs at 2am.  David turned me on to a book called “Getting Things Done”, which has been super helpful.

 

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

When I was interning at B-96 I once asked the then PD Dave Shakes “what’s the key to great programming” and he simply said, “Find out what your listeners like and give it to them”. Simple but true.  We don’t do pre-testing, but we do Troy and auditorium tests so through that you hopefully get an idea of what your listeners want.  That and I’m easily swayed but whatever the record companies tell me to play.

 

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

Anything that provides our listeners with an “experience”, rather than just winning some “stuff”.

 

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

I have no real complaints there.  I enjoy those in the biz where you can have honest dialogues about songs, who want to work with you and want to understand the needs of your station. 

 

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

This is where I say iPods, new technology, etc, right?  I think a big thing is remaining true to the calling, while being relevant to today’s culture.

 

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

Can I say be “relevant” again?  I gravitate towards personalities that have the ability to share their life on the air and can bring a listener into their life, so to speak.  I grew up listening to a lot of great Chicago on-air personalities who had that unique ability to talk about their life where you really felt you were just hanging out with them – part of the conversation.  There is really a fine line between being able to do that and just blah, blah, blah radio wallpaper.

 

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

Hmmm? I don’t listen to many other Christian stations besides K-LOVE and Air 1.  I suppose I should. I’m usually checking out mainstream stations more, when I’m not listening to our two stations.  But I know there are a lot of stations doing great things – I have some great friends at a number of CCM stations and I have a ton of respect for their abilities and stations. 

 

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

Let me ask someone really, really smart and I’ll get back to ya!

 

 

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