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Radio Interview

                                     

PK "The Preachers Kid"

Operations Manager

WJYF

Ashburn, GA

 

 

PK's 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.  My return to Christian Radio came in 2003 as PD of WBJY and WAEF in South Georgia!  Since then, our company has grown to include WJYF, WTIF AM&FM and WWWD, collectively known as Three Trees Communications!  We've shuffled formats across the stations due to our growth.  WBJY (Christian AC "Free 89.3");  WTIF AM&FM (Conservative Talk "Standing Up For What Is Right");  WAEF (Southern Gospel "90.3 The Cross");  WJYF and WWWD (Christian CHR "The Hook").

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

The answer to that question has changed since my arrival to this area in 2003... it has changed greatly.  Our company services both Albany GA and Valdosta GA.  We are about to enter Macon GA in March with WWWD.  When I first turned on WBJY as a Christian AC and WAEF as a Christian CHR, we were exclusive to the area.  Both stations were very successful.  Since then WAY FM and K-LOVE both have entered the market.  In addition to that, in Macon, both J 93.3 and The Fish have good signals although their focus is on Atlanta.  Sure, it's tempting to see them as our target to take down, but one of the biggest lessons I have learned is that my work is not to beat those stations.  Can you imagine what it would be like for me to stand before our Savior and explain why I tried to squash His servants at K-Love, Way, J 93.3 and The Fish?!  No, my job is to squash the mainstream stations in our market.  Turn listeners from the darkness to the light.  To do that I have to first acknowledge what is attractive to those stations.

 

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

Christian radio's P1 listeners has been, and most likely will always be, current believers of Christ.  I accept that, and find it a blessing to help those who are already believers walk a stronger walk.  The problem that I've had personally is the "ministry" claim that Christian radio claims they have on the lost.  Many Christian radio stations in my opinion have no idea how to reach the HUGE potential of P2 listeners that are lost and not only make them P1 listeners for their station, but also the most important goal, bringing them to Christ.  I believe the most fulfilling aspect about being at this company for me is the ability I've had to not only program our stations to please the ear of the believer, but to also catch the attention of the lost!

 

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

Whew!  We started out on air Easter Weekend 2003 with two non-comm stations LMA'ed from American Family Radio.  Both immediately found support from the market.  In January 2004 we tuned on our first commercial station and moved our Christian CHR format on to it.  The response has been overwhelming.  The success of that station has allowed us to continue our growth with a station in Macon that will debut another Christian CHR station in March of this year.  All the while, the success of these stations has brought more Christian Concerts into the area, raised the awareness and sales of artist products, and blessed countless people. 

 

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

Luckily, during this rapid growth, I've taken on duties as Operations Manager over the company.  So I've been blessed to become just a second opinion in this department.  Cazper is our PD and MD and he makes most of these decisions.  Every now and then I'll open my big mouth and go against his will.  Most of my opinions are concerning our CHR station.  I have a habit to 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) yet, when I look at the Christian CHR charts, I see AC, Pop, and some Rock!  I try to make sure our station is balanced the same as our mainstream competitors. 

 

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

We've got a station vehicle jammed packed with a sound system, two flat screen monitor's, a PS 2, underground light kit, 22" low profile tires with spinners and more!  It's out in the streets every weekday and most weekends!  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.  That's local ministry!

 

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

Again, I'm sure Cazper has much more of an opinion than I do on this question.  Personally I'm excited to see what has developed over the last few years.  Artists like Mat Kearney are doing well on Christian stations!  There's also the crossover success of Stacie Orrico and Switchfoot among others.  I would like to see labels not so scared to look "outside the box".  It's labels like Gotee that are taking Christian Radio to the next level.  I just had a conversation with DJ Maj concerning an idea I'd love to see Christian record labels pick up.  I'd love to see labels follow the idea of the mainstream market by releasing remixes of top charting singles featuring other artists and more!  Singles like "Confessions" by Usher and "Lean Back" by Terror Squad has seen a HUGE CHART LIFE on the Mainstream CHR stations due to the additional versions of the same single!  Hey, mix it up a little.  A huge song such as Barlow Girl's Never Alone would be sweet with a remix featuring a verse from another chart topping artist!

 

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

Christian radio should not be seen as the *yawn* station.  We should not become complacent with a "2" share.  More stations, in my opinion, need to focus on things such as better air talent, better imaging, better promotions!  Utilize stations websites, station vehicles, and take a look at whatever is working for the mainstream competitor in town.  Take their idea's, polish it, improve it, and then make it your own!  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?

Ministry is number one!  I've learned that the Christian radio air personality is truly a minister.  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!  I feel that most Christian air personalities have that quality.  But it goes even beyond that.  Sometimes listeners are not looking to share their problem.  Sometimes listeners are just looking for an "escape" when they turn to the station.  A humorous thought or a funny bit does the trick.  Don't speak "Christianese".  Speak as you would to your brother, sister, father, family.  Sometimes we get mad, happy, sad.  Share that with them.  They'll love you for it.

 

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

I keep a close eye on many stations and respect them all.  I was heavily influenced by the late, but great, Clear Channel owned LIVE 101.5 (Christian CHR) in Tulsa.  The PD there, Chad Bonham, really kept a ear to the heartbeat of Tulsa, and provided a good mix of what the 18 - 34 market was hungry for.  I've also respected the work of Bob Thornton at KXOJ (Christian AC).  I'd like to see more stations and programmers that are not only concerned about reaching current believers in their market, but also to those who don't know the format at all! 

 

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

Remember that song in church that goes something like... "Where ever He leads... I'll go"... I kind of feel that way right now.  Where ever God takes it, I'm up for the ride!  If we are willing to let go and let God, I bet we'll find that things will be different!

 

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