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Radio Interview

                                     

Pencil Boone

Station Manager

WHMX

Bangor, ME

 

 

Pencil's Career Capsule
I’ve had a love affair with radio since I was kid.  I made a 1940”s style radio program for a history project in Junior High and that really hooked me into the medium.  I attended Liberty University and have a BS in Broadcast Management.  My first paying job was for The Flames Sports Network where I produced half-time shows and traveled doing color commentating for basketball games for Liberty University Sports network of stations.  However my senior year God introduced me to Trans World Radio and in 30 minutes my heart was overwhelmed for the world.  Seven weeks after graduation I was on the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean as a missionary broadcaster for TWR which would span 20 years.

My wife and I spent 10 years in Swaziland, Africa, 4/12 years in Guam, and most recently we lived in Melbourne, Australia.  We have two children Anna and Rusty.  My chief responsibility for TWR was to understand the global youth culture and to develop programming to reach the next generation at the same time, encourage, equip and empower the next generation to reach their peers for Jesus, basically working myself out of job and moving on to the next assignment.  Our last stop in Australia I was asked to move to the land down under to research and develop a program that young people in Australia could latch onto for hope and help.  At that time Australia had the third highest suicide rate in the world among teens.  It was a huge task, but we were clear God was calling.  After 14 months of research “The Reality Zone” www.therealityzone.com was launched.  The show originally intended for Australasia (Australia/New Zealand) rapidly spread to other countries.  It is one of the few youth programs in the world today now completely staffed and hosted by “Millennial” young people.  More that 130 outlets now air the show around the world including many stations in the USA.

In late 2003 when we were finishing up the assignment in Australia, and ready to handover all the responsibilities to the local young people, we were contacted from a former missionary colleague of mine from Guam, Wayne Frost, who is the General Manager for WHCF and WHMX in Bangor, Maine.  He told me that they had a CHR station that could use my attention to help reach more young people in Eastern and Central Maine.  After several months of praying we clearly felt this was where God was leading.  On Jan. 20th,  2005, I celebrated my first year anniversary at 105.7 the X (WHMX.)


 

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

Our market is unique, we are in market 214 and yet there are five Christian stations in our market.  Just four hours from here is Boston, where there are no Christian stations.  Any way for us it is a real challenge, but then again it’s great because it forces us daily to be as creative and interacting with our audience as we can to continue to push ourselves to be more and more affective, however at the same time knowing that my ultimate goal is to affect the young person who feels that their current radio choice is cookie cutter and to attract them to 105.7 the X as a station that cares genuinely for who they are and where they are at in life.

 

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

That’s easy ... lives changed!  Every time you have a teenager come up to you and tell you how they were struggling with life and they found your station and now ultimately they have found a relationship with the creator of the Universe….how can you not get excited!

 

3. Here is your chance to testify on behalf of your station...How has God used WHMX?

There are many stories that I have heard over the past year but this one sums up who we are.  Our current Promotions Director, Jolie Littlefield, grew up in this area.  About three years ago she was struggling with her relationship with God, her parents, and life in general.  One snowy day she went off the road and was in a ditch.  Crying and screaming she turned on the radio to 105.7 the X and heard “If you Want Me To” from Ginny Owens.  Right there in the ditch she rededicated her life to Jesus and now is a direct by-product of the ministry of our station and now at the age of 22 is ministering daily to her peers.  That’s ministry 180….that’s what it’s all about!

 

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

It must pass the Tim Collins test!!!  Tim is my PD and MD and in 23 years of broadcasting he is one of the best I’ve seen.  Being one of the reporting stations for R&R we see a lot of music before any one else.  Again, the songs that make it on 105.7 the X must clearly fit the defined goals of the ministry and target audience.  If it accomplishes the vision statement and goals that we have determined for the year, it’s played.

 

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

This is an area that I have specifically targeted when I came last year that we needed to do more of and to be more and more involved in our community.  We try to be out at least every 2 weeks, now sometimes it’s several times a week, but that’s the goal.  On January 3rd we hired a full-time promotions director because we feel this is one of the most important areas of our impact into the community.  We’ve done everything from “how many college dorm refrigerators fits on the University of Maine football field” (while we were at a Jars of Clay concert at the University of Maine) to bringing non-perishable food items to a roller-skating event just before Thanksgiving to give to the less fortunate in our area (in conjunction with a local ministry) and then giving away prizes every 15 minutes for those who attended. The grand prize winner won a coach trip for two to Boston to see the Celtics host the Pistons.

 

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

You have to realize I have worked overseas for 20 years I’ve seen the full gamut of Record labels and their ability to work with you.  Honestly my experience with the labels since I have been in Maine is they have been GREAT!  The only area of improvement that I would recommend is sometimes their lead times for promotions are very short and we have our calendar for 2005 already mapped out.

 

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

The  biggest obstacle I see is “keeping the rumor of God” alive in your community.  Being real and relevant to your non-churched community and showing them true love and compassion.

 

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

To be real and relevant!

 

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

We talk to a lot to stations in and outside of the USA.  I have an accountability group over sees that I stay in touch with and they monitor what I’m doing and give advice.  I think it’s always great to get opinions from a number of sources to think outside your own comfort zone and culture.  In the USA I would consider KDUV in Visalia, California as an innovator in our industry.

 

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

Hopefully more viable and credible in our secular society.

 

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