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Radio Interview

                                     

 

Matt Baldridge aka "PK The Preachers Kid"

Program Director

WBJY/WAEF

Albany, GA.

 

Matts' Career Capsule

I'm your classic "started out as a board-op" story. There's nothing like being a board-op to make you appreciate and realize the importance of being a live on-air talent.  There I was, sitting there at the station, letting a VOICETRACK play and then pausing the log to pot up the jock that was out broadcasting live.  I would think, "why can't I throw it out to him"?!?  Another victim to technology!  I didn't give up though, and Seth Andrews (who was PD at the time of Christian AC station KXOJ/Tulsa) gave me my first start back in 1997.  Since KXOJ, I've been with CHR "106.9 Khits" KHTT/Tulsa, CHR "Power 107" KMOQ/Joplin and CHR/R "Power 96.5 Jams" KSPW/Springfield.  I was recently blessed to return to Christian Radio as PD of WBJY and WAEF in South Georgia!

1.How did you wind up at WBJY/WAEF?

Interesting story.  Not too long ago, God started showing me how my compromising on secular CHR radio was not being a good witness.  I mean, I was using the excuse that I was being a "light among the darkness", but God put people in my life to show me that even if my words on air were clean, I was still promoting the message in the surrounding music I was playing.  Kinda hard to talk about good morals when you come out of a song that just told the kids that women are nothing but... well you know.  So, I started getting the word out within the Christian industry that I was interested.  God brought me here!
 
2. What is the most fulfilling aspect to you personally about Christian radio?

Without a doubt, it's the way Christian radio develops relationships with listeners!  Sure, there are radio "groupies" that come along with all secular radio stations.  You know, those who are like "Oh my gosh!  I hear you on the radio.... I think!  What are you giving away?  Have any concert tickets?  I'll do
anything for them!".  With Christian radio, it's different!  I recall listeners at KXOJ events coming
up to our morning show (back then, SETH and MARBLES!) with tears in their eyes telling them how touched they were about a bit they did on the morning show, or something like that!  Only in Christian radio have I seen listeners get so attached spiritually to on air staff and also to the message in the music!

3.How has God used you in your role at WBJY/WAEF?

Ahhh.... the list would be shorter if I listed what He has not used me as!  For those who don't know, both stations are only a few months old at best!  With any station start up, there are many holes that need to be filled.  Until those positions are filled, I'm the "go to" guy!  *sigh*  It's really opened my eyes up to a lot of aspects of radio that I haven't appreciated before such as Engineering, Traffic, Production,
Secretaries, and Janitorial needs!  Actually, there's more than that.  Being that we are the first full time Christian CHR/Rhythmic station that I know of, God has shown me where I can apply my knowledge of secular CHR and use it to HIS advantage.  Why should the devil have all the good music?!?
 
4. What is the criteria that determines if a song receives airplay on your station?

Well, I follow the Christian charts and what kind of buzz a single is getting when it comes to what my AC
station airs.  I'm more choosy when it comes to my CHR/R station.  I feel there is no real "gauge" in our
industry to look at when it comes to how a single could do.  No one, that I know of, is considering spinning KJ-52, Grits, and so on, as much as I am.  So I follow secular charts!  Why is it that when I look at the secular CHR charts I see MAJOR diversity within the top 20 (Pop, Rock, Rap, and so on) and at least 60% of it is leaning rhythmic.  Yet, when I look at the Christian CHR charts, I see AC, Pop, and some Rock!  I want to be a TRUE ALTERNATIVE for our target audience to listen to.  If my target age listener is not listening to secular rock, why would I spin a lot of rock and expect to reach my target?  So I find the Christian "Eminem's" and "50 Cents".  If thats what is catching my target listeners ear, then thats what gets on the CHR/R station.
 
5. What kind of promotions work best for your stations?

Being so new, I can't tell you for sure what works best.  I know that we are having an effect for simply
being local.  The more that we are out in the streets raising awareness of our station the better!  I know
of jocks that won't leave the studio without a "remote talent fee".  Don't get me wrong, I feel that jocks
are worth every penny for the time they put in for the station.  It's just that sometimes, the soul that we
are saving out in the public is more than what the value of a talent fee could bring us.  So, my jocks
are more than willing to go out in the area under both circumstances!  People get tired of 1-800 numbers to call in to win.  People get tired of hearing what some caller has to say across the states.  People need to hear what their own peers in their own area are going through.  Thats local ministry!  That's what is
working so far for us!
 
6. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve Christian radio?

Whew!  My opinion is different based on the two formats.  To begin with AC, my question is, where is the AC format going in the next 5 years?  What happens when we lose the Steven Curtis Chapman's, Michael W. Smith's, and Point of Grace's?  I see AC stations playing more and more recurrent's and gold's across the nation.  I'd love to see more fresh talent come across my desk that will take the AC format in to the next 10 years!  As far as CHR radio, I would like to see labels not so scared to look "outside the box".  It's labels like Gotee and Uprock that are taking Christian Radio to the next level.  I'm excited when I see Forefront and EMI putting out an artist like LIL IROCC WILLIAMS.  We need more labels to back artists like him!


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

We can't be everything to everybody!  Too many stations try to reach 25-54 and 12-24 and end up not
successfully reaching either.  We are also looking over our youth, and seem to have the mindset that "if
it works in Cleveland OH, it will work here!".  We need to take a look around our OWN market's and see where the secular stations are catching ears!  More stations, in my opinion, need to focus on things such as better air talent, better imaging, and a better focus on which target listener they are after!
Christian radio should not be seen as the *yawn* station.  We need to be the BEST SOUND in the market!
 
8. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian radio air personality today?

I've learned that the Christian radio air personality is truly a minister.  Yes, they need to know the
music, and have a good delivery on air.  Most importantly though, they need to connect to my target
audience!  As I mentioned before, in Christian radio, listeners develop a different relationship with the
on-air staff of a Christian station.  They need to be ready at any time to listen and pray with a caller
that may call in to share a problem with them!  It's a God thing!

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

I've actually become a big fan of ACAZA.COM lately.  Too bad they are not broadcasting on air somewhere.  I was heavily influenced by the late, but great Clear Channel owned LIVE 101.5 in Tulsa.  The PD there, Chad Bonham, really kept a ear to the heartbeat of Tulsa, and provided a good mix of what the youth were hungry for.  Wish they were still on the air today!

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

I hope we make more of an impact in the mainstream culture.  Jesus met people's needs. I think we need to follow that example. To do that, lets put the effort out to learn what those needs are.  Not just play
follow the leader.  I pray we make every single work for airplay, not just push it on listeners and be like
"hey there's the new Twila Paris single, better add it!".  What about the great talent's such as Toby Mac,
POD, 12 Stones, Grits, KJ-52, John Reuben, and so on.  I'd love to see them chart too! Look outside the box.  Years ago, PD's thought that Christian Rock wouldn't work.  Then RADIO U took the leap of faith, and shown that it could be successful.  Now you have those PD's following along and duplicating their model.  Well, what about the youth who love Rhythmic?  Why do we all have to wait for someone to prove that something will be successful?  I hope "Hot AC" stations drop from reporting to the CHR charts and stations claiming to be CHR move towards being a TRUE CHR!

 

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