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Radio Interview

                                     

Jeremy Bialek

Program Director

WIJY

Indianapolis

 

 

Jeremys' Career Capsule
I began working in radio during the summer of 1992 as an intern named Q-bert at a Syracuse, NY hip hop station, Z89. My work in Christian radio began in a few months before graduation from Butler University as the production assistant at WXIR (Love 98) in Indianapolis. From 1997-2000 I left radio to work in marketing and coach basketball. I returned home to central New York in 2000 for grad school and received a Master of Science in Media Management from Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Communications in 2001. Love 98 called me to fill a hole in the fall of 2001 and I knew the Lord wanted me back in Christian radio. During my second stint at WXIR, I worked in many
different capacities, including: Production/Music Director, Afternoon Host, Wake-Up Show Guest Host, and Account Executive. God opened the door in mid-May of this year to work as PD at the new WIJY and I was humbled and thrilled that the Lord chose me to help continue CCM in central Indiana.
 
 
1. How did you wind up in your current position at WIJY?

I received a phone call on May 11 from a representative of Pilgrim Communications.  They asked me to talk with them that afternoon about being involved in a format switch of the current WPZZ FM.  I had been recommended by a friend for the position of PD.  The initial meeting went well, and the
following Friday morning I had breakfast with Pilgrim's owner, Dr. Eugene Hood.  We discovered that our visions for the new station were very similar, so that afternoon I started as the program director for what would become the new WIJY FM.

2. What is the most fulfilling aspect to you personally about being a part of Christian radio?

Using my gifts to glorify God, edify the body, and promote Christian businesses.

3. How has God used you in your role at WIJY?

The Lord has used me to help keep a commercial CCM station in central Indiana.

4. What is the criteria that determines if a song receives airplay on your
station?

The song should clearly glorify the Lord or the work the Lord is doing in His body. Our format is AC, but we will add CHR songs if they fit.  I also ask myself, "Is this a song our listeners will want to hear now and later?" (And it never hurts to run it by my wife - she's more of our target demo than I am.)

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

We want be known as the station with more music and more free stuff. Anything involving giveaways is great, but we really want our listeners to work for their prizes and have fun doing it.

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

Our motto to business clients is: "The answer is Yes.  What's the question?" It's our goal to serve record labels by promoting their artists, I am still not confident that every record label's goal is to serve Christian radio stations.  Sometimes they give you the feeling that you owe them something. My best experience thus far has been with Sparrow.  They are a true partner in the industry.

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

Christian radio has established itself as a formidable niche format.  The music, imaging, and personalities are more professional across the board than ever before.  However, I still feel that we lose more listeners to secular radio than vice versa.  Our challenge is to rattle secular radio's stronghold first, by holding our audience, and second, by grabbing theirs.

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

The responsibility is to keep listeners from flipping the moment a song is over.  We can do that by encouraging and/or challenging them with the Word, informing them about the artists they love, and involving them in contests, polls, and simple conversation.  In a nutshell, make the listeners feel like
family.

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

Any station that involves local Christian businesses through advertising or underwriting.  Too many Christian businesses that want to reach listeners and that listeners want to hear about are left out of the mix.  Walking the fine lines between ministry and business, spots per hour and music per hour
is a challenge. The stations that have found the balance are in the end the most effective in their communities.

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

With the recent influx of worship albums by top Christian artists, I'm seeing a move away from the attempt to create more crossover hits.  Instead, we're ministering directly to Christian radio listeners.  I think the standout Christian radio stations will continue to draw more listeners because of a totally different message and attitude based on our new life in Christ - rather than acquiring listeners because we sound like a positive secular station.
 

        

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