I was saved at age 30 in 1991
and began working in Christian radio in 1992. I was a
Board Operator at WEXL-AM1340 through the summer of
1997. WEXL Sparks Broadcasting, Royal Oak / Detroit, had
a proud heritage of three Christian generations of the
Sparks family. It was one of the first stations on-air in
the Detroit area in the early 1930's. Garnet Sparks, Jr
provided me the opportunity to add ministry to the "time /
temp" between local & national programming. In the
Summer of '97 Crawford Broadcasting purchased WEXL, along
with Greater Media's AM560, now WRDT. I too was acquired,
graciously by WMUZ GM Frank Franciosi, as Operations
Director for the CBC Detroit Cluster. WMUZ-FM is the
flagship in Detroit & the first station owned by Percy
Crawford, the father of CBC President Don Crawford, Sr.
With great foresight, Percy Crawford purchased a 50,000
watt FM station in 1957 --- when FM receivers were about
as common as HD Radios are today! It has been my great
privilege to serve as an occasional fill-in FM music host
over the past seven years. Most recently, the departure
of our morning drive host has kept my alarm clock set to
3:45am since November. While I am anxious for the
establishment of a new permanent morning host, I will
sincerely miss the wonderful music, ministry & listener
input that this air time has provided. Mr. Franciosi also
misses me providing my full attention to Operations!
1. Tell us about
the Detroit market and how it is unique?
Detroit, as a city, has
had it's ups & downs, but a solid Church community has
been a constant. Known for its legacy of Gospel
music, WEXL provides the only full time Gospel
presence on the dial. WMUZ-FM is the only Christian
FM in the Market (#10). For over 40 years WMUZ has
provided a mix of music (AC), local talk, & programs.
We also reach a Canadian listenership in SW Ontario.
As a commercial broadcaster, WMUZ has some advertisers
that have been with us for nearly twenty years.
2. What is the
most fulfilling aspect to you personally about
The work of
the Holy Spirit in choosing exactly who is listening
& when. It is a ministry that God chooses to use,
through his Providence, to reach anyone in a car, at
home or at work to hear just exactly what they need
at that moment. Someone who would never imagine
setting foot in a Church or talking to an Evangelist
may find himself at "that" spot on the dial hearing
just what GOD wants him to hear, in word or music.
I am always open to the lead of His Spirit to offer
whatever message of encouragement He speaks through
3. Here is your
chance to testify on behalf of your station...How
has God used WMUZ?
God has blessed so many over the last
forty years of WMUZ Christian Radio in Detroit. I
am so honored to be a small part of it.
4. What is
the criteria that determines if a song receives
airplay on your station?
Our MD, DaveWhiteaker, has an awesome ear
for Christian AC. I don't know --- I'm the
5. What kind of promotions work best
for your station?
We generally focus on concert ticket
giveaways. Our two big events are a Blood
Drive in June in conjunction with one of our
star auto dealers. We've been able to
generate 250 - 300 pints each year. We also
have a "Hope For The Holidays" event near
Christmas that involves an all day remote at
our well established Chiropractic advertising
partner. We generate donations to our
"ministry advertisers" through a silent
auction & donation bin. There is also a
"Warmth For The Holidays" coat drive at our
auto dealerships in conjunction with the main
6. How do
you think Christian Record labels can better
serve Christian radio?
I think more access to artists for on-air
phoners with new releases would rev up the
listeners. Then there's the promotional
product...... more please.
7. In your opinion what are the
biggest obstacles facing Christian radio
in listening options. CDs, Satellite, &
internet all take their bite out
of traditional broadcast listening. The
conversion to HD Radio will be very
interesting, especially the revitalization
of the AM Band with the elimination of
static & addition of "FM quality" audio.
What do you believe is the primary role
of the Christian radio air personality
I believe the music host is there to
provide their own unique personality to
uplift & encourage the listener.
Listeners really want to hear "the
music", & the host has to find the
right balance to provide the "locality"
of the station, a recognizable
personality, & to know when to "get out
of the way" for the music --- oh, & did
I mention: convey the "call to action"
for the advertiser!
What (if any) other Christian radio
stations do you consider as innovators
Again, I plead the "I'm the Operations
Where do you see Christian radio in 5
on the "localization" of it's market.
With the multitude of listening &
entertainment options, that will only
increase in the future, Christian
Radio needs to create a unique &
indispensable experience to keep the
listener coming back.
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