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Radio Interview

                                     

 

Paul Martin

Senior Announcer/Personality

WMBW

Chattanooga

 

Pauls' Career Capsule
Since my voice changed, friends had been encouraging me to consider a career in radio, but I thought I was headed for overseas missions.  It wasn't until my first semester of computer programming at Oklahoma Baptist University, that I decided radio was a much more enjoyable career than pouring over lines of code!  Still planning on pursuing missions, I went to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.  While there, Jim Howard at KNRB gave me my first "real" radio job in 1992, working evenings and Saturdays.  A few years later, I worked briefly with Wes Ward and the fine staff at KCBI.  In 1996, I decided to take a sabbatical and went to work for Josh McDowell's Radio program.  I enjoyed seeing things from the program producing side, but the on-air bug had bit, and I returned to radio at KJLY in Blue Earth, Minnesota in 1998.  Having appreciated Moody since working with Wayne Shepherd while with Josh McDowell, I joined Moody's Chattanooga station in 2001. 

 

1. How did you wind up at WMBW?
 
Interesting how God provides!  I had actually applied for another Moody station and did not know about the Chattanooga opening.  I was feeling a restlessness, that perhaps I was supposed to be serving elsewhere, but didn't know where.  I was praying "God, I know if  You want me to work somewhere else, you can bring a job to me , if You choose ."  The station I applied to decided to hire internally, but passed my name on to Leighton LeBoeuf, Station Manager of WMBW, who e-mailed me and asked if I would be interested in interviewing for his opening.  I agreed and the rest is, well, you know.

2. What is the most fulfilling aspect to you personally about Christian radio?
 
The thing that really encourages me about Christian radio is its ability to reach hearts that may never be touched in another way.  Someone who may never open their door to a stranger carrying a Bible, might be willing to listen to compelling Christian radio.  After reading personal accounts of people who have come to Christ, who have decided against committing suicide, whose broken-hearts have been encouraged when nothing else would do, I am convinced that God is using Christian radio to accomplish His will, and I'm excited to be a part of it.
 
3.How has God used you in your role at WMBW?
 
As host of The Journey Home, our afternoon drive program, I enjoy sharing little bits of what God has showed me, to encourage listeners to plunge into the deep living water He offers.  Really, what I hope listeners hear is a fellow brother in Christ who makes mistakes but also knows of God's forgiveness and hope, and I pray they'll want the same. Occasionally, I am able to hear how God has used something on WMBW to change a life or encourage someone, and that is humbling because I'm reminded again that "it's a God-thing."
 
4. What is the criteria that determines if a song receives airplay on your station? 
 
Because we are a Moody owned and operated station, the music adds are chosen in our national programming office.  The criteria for airplay include lyrics that are Biblically informed, music that is performed with excellence, and the integrity of the artist or group.  On a local level, as Music Coordinator, it is my job to schedule the music.  In the past year and a half, Moody has incorporated much more "praise and worship" music.  As I program, I desire to blend as much as possible, the potentially differing styles of music, to provide a mix that is both pleasant to listen to, but also thematically similar. 

5. What kind of promotions work best for your station?
 
Like most of us, I think people really enjoy getting something for free, so we try to make sure and offer books, CDs, etc, but also to offer something unique. So far, the best promotion since I've been here was a remote at an area dairy, Mayfield, which provides milk and ice cream products to the Southeast.  We had listeners who came 50+ miles with their children to sample free ice cream and to get a chance to win some Adventures in Odyssey items.  Also, Andy Napier, our Program Director and promotions genius, decided to hold a blindfolded taste-test. The Mayfield people got into the funand it seemed that everyone had a great time!

6. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve Christian radio?
 
Personally, because the lyrical content is so very important, I appreciate when the lyrics are sent along with the singles.  I use them to create an internal lyrics website that all of the Moody O & O's can access.  Perhaps the best service, though, is for those who develop and manage the artists, to continue to deepen their own walks with Christ and encourage the same in their artists.  In this way, we'll continue to have great music founded on His Word!
 
7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio today?
 
I think the challenge that Christian radio faces is the same one that we all face...how do we be IN the world but not OF it?  In what ways can or should we be different than the other radio stations available, so that we draw people in and point them to Christ?  Paul's words in I Corinthians continue to offer a compelling challenge "I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some."  I pray God will continue to give creativity to Christian broadcasters in a variety of formats and unique programming, so that we can "save some."
 
8. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian radio air personality today?
 
I believe the primary role is to point to Jesus.  In His earthly ministry, Jesus was real, He was approachable, and He pointed people to the Father.  I see my role as a personality to be approachable and to be a friend,  the kind of friend they want take with them while driving in the car, running errands, washing dishes, preparing dinner, wherever life takes them.  As that friend, sometimes I just play music, sometimes I share something funny that happened at home, sometimes I offer an encouraging word, sometimes a challenging one, and sometimes I offer a bit of scripture or a great quote.  It is really my hope that in some way, I can encourage listeners to pursue their own walk with Christ, or begin one if they don't know Him.

9. What (if any) other Christian radio stations do you consider as innovators today?
 
I have a great appreciation for many of the Christian broadcasters I've had the opportunity to read about and listen to, each seeking to reach listeners in creative ways, including KCBI, KXOJ, the Fish stations, and Air1.  Someone I greatly appreciate is my program director from Minnesota, Rick Boyd, who now leads KJCY in Mason City, Iowa.  He has a real passion for blending the Word along with the music, both in short program format and in announcer comments.  Rick draws on his knowledge of both Greek and Hebrew to offer short "teachings" in the midst of a Inspo/light AC format.  He uses his unique giftings and training to present a "tapestry" of music and programming.
 
10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?

I'm not much of a prognosticator, but I anticipate Christian radio may develop new ways to personalize the "radio experience".  As we continue to experience communication saturation, with cell phones, e-mails, etc, we also face an overload of information, forcing us to find ways to filter out what we don't want.  RSS clients for the internet are gaining speed, offering a way to distill the info feeds from a variety of sites into one client, allowing the enduser to read only the news and info they want.  Perhaps in some ways, Christian Radio that will be successful will serve as an RSS client of sorts to its  listeners.  Maybe we'll find a way to offer our programming as a form of RSS feed, allowing the listener to program our station to their preferences...like Proclaim at 6 am and music at 7...it's yours!  Want music at 6 and Focus on the Family at 7 on Tuesdays and Fridays ?...no problem !  What would be unique about the station then?  Perhaps it comes back the personality...people will still need friends.

 

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