Tell us about your market and how it is unique?
Tampa-St. Pete is unique in the
abundance of radio choices in general and Christian
Radio specifically. In addition to a large number of
secular stations, we share air with the Joy FM, Moody,
and Salem, so there is pretty much a format for every
2. What is the most
fulfilling aspect to you personally about Christian
The idea that, for us, increased
ratings mean more than added dividends to some
shareholder’s portfolio; growth in audience can
actually represent growth in the Kingdom of God.
3. Here is your chance to
testify on behalf of your station...How has God used WBVM?
In addition to leading people
Christ, Spirit FM has been used of God to build
bridges among all Christians. Having been raised
Catholic, and now practicing as a Baptist while
working for a Catholic owned station, I’ve experienced
prejudice from both Catholics and Evangelicals.
Spirit FM is a place where some of that is healed.
When Billy Graham came to Tampa in 98, Spirit FM
broadcast services live with the blessings of our
local Bishop, Robert Lynch.
4. What is the
criteria that determines if a song receives airplay on
Before anything else, how does it
sound? Does it sound like something our target
listener would stick around for? Others would say
lyrics first, but who wants to eat filet mignon if
it’s served from the bottom of a dumpster? I do take
lyrics into account insofar as there should be
discernible content consistent with Christian
worldview and life, either overt or subtle. Great
examples: we play both “Voice of Truth” and “Dare You
5. What kind of promotions
work best for your station?
We’re trying to learn the art of
opportunistic promotions. Last month we found out
that a local agency was doing car seat check-ups for
free. Nationwide 82% of car seats are the wrong type
or improperly installed. Our target listener
definitely has kids so we partnered with the Childrens’
Advocacy Center to give away free teddy bears and
Babies R Us coupons to participants. People with bad
seats got new ones. We got a ton of goodwill and
6. How do you think
Christian Record labels can better serve Christian
I really like working with labels
that go out of their way to help when they can, and
will point us in the right direction immediately when
they can’t. Sometimes, I wish artist management was a
little more radio friendly AFTER the first CD sells
and in between concert tours.
7. In your opinion what are
the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio today?
Lack of available frequencies
means stunted growth. HD radio, IBOC, and net
technology will eventually catch us up but in the
meantime? On another tangent, the talent pool is
shallow because it’s cheaper to run on autopilot
middays, overnights, and weekends. Talent
development demands a place to grow.
8. What do you believe is
the primary role of the Christian radio air
Same as the non-Christian radio
personality; be a friend, preferably an interesting,
encouraging one the listener can enjoy time with.
9. What (if any) other
Christian radio stations do you consider as innovators
The stations I try to model are
not innovators in the sense of developing something
new but WPOZ is committed to targeted consistent
formatting and execution. The PD I speed dial when I
have a question about anything radio is Dean O’ Neal.
10. Where do you see
Christian radio in 5 years?
I hope to see a Christian radio
installed on the console of my dream boat anchored on
the reef off Marathon Key. I’ll settle for stronger
exposure to the mainstream and ratings growth that
makes the guys at Clear Channel scratch their heads
while preparing for a bankruptcy sale.