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Radio Interview

                                     

Dale McCubbins

Program Director

WCVK

Bowling Green, KY

 

 

Dale's Career Capsule
I am where I am by the great I AM... okay all puns aside, I'm here as a pure act of God! I started my job career straight out of high school right into Mc Happy burgers BEFORE McHappy McMeals (yes I'm somewhat old!)  Took a hard left turn into a brief stint of acting in summer stock at a tourist attraction, then a hard right into part time TV (NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE OR SCHOOLING!)   kept my college major as Perf. Arts emphasis on classic guitar, took a detour into classic radio at the college NPR affiliate, changed major to undecided and stretched out the degree program to what eventually became 20 YEARS IN COLLEGE...{ sidetrack:  they finally built me a degree in Religious Studies with a minor in Broadcasting--  when people asked what would I do with that I said... Televangelist!!  > ;->   and I finally graduated in Dec. 2000} took another left turn into golden oldie AM radio, and eventually wound up at Christian Family Radio @ 4 months after they signed on and I said there's no way I could work THERE!  Don't say never-no way to God... He has a purpose AND a sense of humor. By the way, at one point for about 6 months I was working 4 jobs at once!  Full time TV, parttime weeknights at Christian Family Radio, Parttime Sat. nights at WBGN-AM Golden Oldies, and parttime Sunday nights at WKYU-FM, public radio... somewhere in there I was going to college (one class per semester) dating and eventually marrying my wife and then co-raising a daughter.   So I have about 30-40 years of broadcast experience all added up... I've worked FILM newsgathering as well as 33 1/3s, an occassional 78, a lot of 45s, and carts.   In All of this... God literally opened every door I went through. and it all led me here, where I'm still having the most fun and getting paid for it!  ( and I thought I was going to be a classical guitarist!)

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

We're the biggest small market in our area!   We're one hour north of Nashville TN, and roughly two hours south of Louisville, KY on Interstate 65.   We still get artists who come in and are surprised that we're so close to Nashville!

 

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

WOW what a question!  you got a few pages? seriously, I get to minister to people and share some really GOOD music.   I get to make a difference in somebody's life! I get to play in a production room right at my desk!  I meet a lot of people who say that I sound just as real as I am on the radio... just shorter... (what does taller sound like?)

 

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

Again, we get to minister to people on the radio, play good music for them and make a difference in their lives!  We've had people meet Christ as a direct result of something we've said or played, we've even prevented a suicide... we've been there in the late night with music that makes a difference... and yeah I know that sounds like a liner, BUT IT'S TRUE!!!  and people come to meet us and tell us this... that we've made a difference in their lives... Talk about a humbling mountain top... I know it's God, but it's just like when I was a 4 year old little kid, Grandpa let me ride the tractor in his lap, and I ran back to tell Mom & Dad and Grandma that I helped Grandpa plow the field!!   yeah, I couldn't reach the pedals, I couldn't turn the wheel, couldn't even hold the tractor straight in the row...I just got to hold onto the steering wheel while he did the all the work...

 

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

Here's the short, quick answers with a caveat:

1. All submitted music must be reviewed by our music committee.
2. Music lyrics must be scripturally sound.
3. Artist's or group's lifestyle should project a Christ-like example.
4. Music style must fit within our Christian Adult Contemporary Format.
5. Music production must meet radio industry standards.
6. Vocal presentation must also meet radio industry standards.
Because slots available for new music are limited, there are occasionally some songs meeting the above criteria that we are not able to play.
Now then, I'm probably opening the worm can, but I will expound on this just a bit to include the reasons why we don't play some music...  (The quote marks are for emphasis and explanation.) We are a "Christian Station."   We play "contemporary Christian Music."   Now, obviously, the station itself hasn't been "saved"  any more than the music has.   But we play the music that best fits our description and our mission statement "to lift up Christ, and encourage the family"  ie: the listeners who are Christian, and we prefer the music to be scripturally sound, evangelistic, encouraging, worshipful and good music overall.   Specifically speaking, we've recently had several new artists submit songs that are not "blatantly Christian"-- in that they deal with life issues, relationships, etc, and the band assured us in emails that they are each Christians.   Here's one (I think it's obvious anyway) reason why we might not play a song. If you're a new artist, sending music to a "Christian" station, why would you send something so vague we can't tell what it's about or who it's about?  That's like me as a guitar player auditioning for a 70's style rock band and playing Etude #12 from  Hector Villa-Lobos or even "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" on a banjo... yes, it shows I have musical depth, and a wide variety of style and can possibly appeal to a wider audience; but there aren't that many 70's rock songs that used a banjo...  The band wants a screaming electric guitar on lead or distorted power chords.... (okay lemme take a deep breath here...you can, too) 
    To continue the analogy of the worm can... let me take the lid off and dump out the worms to show everyone... Even great songs, performed by great artists who "fit" our format don't always get played.   Not every song makes it.   I don't want to pick on MWS specifically, but we didn't add the song "Bridge over troubled Waters."   Looking at our quick list criteria 1,3, 5 & 6 were a definite yes.  But that  particular song itself just was too centrally located in our (and listeners) minds as Simon & Garfunkle... plus it was too vague (scripturally speaking... who's the speaker? God or the singer-- as a friend? Christian Friend, Christian Boyfriend? ), and just..... didn't "click."    As a crossover, maybe;  but not for us.   {Quick note I'm not dissing MWS ... Healing Rain is fantastic!}
    Do we play crossover music? occasionally ...   But what is crossover music for?   A "non-Christian" i.e. secular radio station format.  Again, If it's too vague why bother?   Many cheers and handclaps for artist who do crossover !   If that is your calling then go for it, but why should we play music that isn't "intended" for our format?   We are after all a radio station... we have to follow a format.   (The old ministry vs. business argument again!)  What if a "CCM" or even Christian Punk Rock artist did a Southern Gospel crossover?  Even if they did an excellent job, the music was quality, and the lyrics scripturally correct... it just won't fit the format.    And, I've rambled long enough on this so let's let the worms go.....

 

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

Besides "prizes on the 20s" -- giveaways at :20 after,  one of our neatest promotions is Youth Group Spotlight where we schedule a Youth Group to come in and DJ an hour of Christian Rock and Rap on "the Stir with Whitney."   They contact us, we send them a few rules, suggestions, what time they need to be here, and a playlist to choose from. They get to pick their favorite songs from the list , they send it back,  Whitney has the music ready, they come in and co-host (Whitney runs the board) sharing their favorite songs, what's going on in the youth group, ie they guest host DJ.  We had to quit it for a while and we constantly got requests for it ... we put it back on the air and youth groups are calling back in!

 

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

Hmmmm, off the top of my head in a quick answer... Send us more giveaway CDs and other promo items! Help the artists! Give them a little more freedom to write good music instead of trying to hit #1 every single time, and don't dump them if they don't immediately produce the next five #1 singles on their second album.  Help them grow musically, lyrically, and especially spiritually!  I know of one band (No Names, Please!) that had some pretty good songs, and one of the band members got "saved" during the tour!   ....and then they disbanded after the 2nd (?) album when the fad went away.... Please, quit trying to jump on bandwagons! Let artists be who they are! and don't try to clone them!  In my nearly 20 years of Christian broadcasting, I've seen and heard several artists/bands that were like another, and then either they dumped out or were dropped.   Artists and especially wanna-be's ... work on your chops, and your songwriting but most importantly your ministry.... and I'll get off the soapbox.....

 

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

Again, I'm trying for quick answers, but Obstacles or challenges... the biggest challenges to radio in general are the Satellite Radio services, the iPod and other similar MSDs (massive storage devices...just like cassettes 30 years ago!) and multi station ownerships.   Plus, the high cost of going digital, and we can not forget staying true to the message--while staying relevant to the culture (in the world -- not of it!)

 

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

To connect in a real way with the listener... same as always... if you do just artist, song, album, time and temp, the listener will just go to a satellite service or MSD.  Be real, be you, be personal and talk to/with  A LISTENER not at a bunch of listeners or the audience...

 

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

Well there are a whole lot of good ones and some that are doing ok, so I can't really comment cause I can't really hear very many in our area.   I know about them through this website and trade magazines, but can't really comment.

 

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

Good question!   Hopefully, reaching MORE people.  From what I understand, with digital capabilities one station could conceivably do several formats...  For instance with a digital bandwidth of 90.7 FM, it could be subdivided... 90.70 = AC contemporary Christian, 90.73 = Christian Rock, 90.75 = teaching programs, 90.77 = either Urban Gospel, Hispanic CCM, Bosnian CCM etc... the population is becoming more diverse... Christian Radio needs to keep reaching out!
 

        

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