The Christian Radio Homepage

 

Radio Interview

                                     

 

Mike "TheSchloMan" Schlote

Program Director/Personality

WQFL

Rockford, IL.

 

Mikes' Career Capsule
  • Worked part time overnights at 88.3 KCCK "Your Jazz Connection" in Cedar Rapids, IA in 1992-1993.
  • Hired by 101QFL part time in 1993.
  • Became full time in June 1994 as overnighter.
  • Became afternoon drive host a month later.
  • Became Music Director in 1995.
  • Moved to morning show in 1996.
  • Became Program Director in 2000 and still host of "Mike at the Mic in the Morning."
  • All of these dates are subject to error because I am very tired as I write this and my memory stinks

 

1. How did you wind up at WQFL?

One of the coolest things that ever happened to me was being hired at the station that carried me through some pretty rough teenage years.  I sent a resume and tape to QFL with the hopes of something opening up.   Next thing you know, after moving back to the area, I hear an announcement that QFL was looking for weekend part-timers.  I was on it like stink on...well, you know.  This all happened back in 1993. 

 


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

Nothing beats being used by God to impact somebody.  To reach people with the timeless, relevant message of hope and eternal life is the deepest joy in this job.

   

 
3. How has God used you in your role at WQFL?

To be honest with you, that is one of the things I look most forward to in Heaven.  To find out what God was able to do through me during my lifetime and my position at 101QFL.  I don't think I will truly know until then.

 

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

As we all know, the first thing that impacts you is the way a song sounds.  If it passes the initial audio test, we can move ahead to check the lyric and the message it carries.  Obviously, it must adhere to Biblical truth and principles whether it is a 'horizontal' relationship song or a 'vertical' praise tune.  We believe that a song can be 'of God' even if it doesn't give the step by step plan of salvation.  As I look at the ministry of Jesus I notice that Jesus Himself didn't just talk about Jesus Himself.  However, everything He said pointed people in the direction of His eternal truth...redeeming truth.  The song then has to go head to head with everything else on the playlist or in the stack.  It needs to sound like it could go to number one on the charts.  Otherwise, why add it?  (I am talking about the Top40 hits that we add.  Of course, there can be a novelty tune that can get some fun listener attention.)  I also want to note the we try to find out as much about the artist/band as we can.  We want to know that they are not ashamed of the Gospel and live lives accordingly.
 

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

We found that our promotion that "Pampered" the woman was wildly successful.  In fact, it was so successful that we did it again the next rating period but modified it by adding her family to the mix.  Finding ways to fill the gaps in her life.  Putting time back into her busy day by taking care of things that can be a hassle or expensive (like groceries, car washes,  trips to the salon, time away with family...etc).  Aside from these larger promotions, we have found amazing success in the form of our 101QFL Breakfast Bus.  I take the morning show on the road each and every Thursday (along with our Promotions Director) and 150-200 people show up each week during the show.  They come simply to say hi and to get their Breakfast Bus Buddy Card punched.  (This is a card that gets punched for every visit to our remote broadcasts and offers you a 10% discount at participating clients.  Once the card is fully punched, they bring it to another live remote and redeem it for free music, shirt, hat, whatever we have that day.)  Add to that our weekly Tuesday mid-day remotes as we head to a different community in the listening area on our "World Tour."  I know remotes can be a pain for stations, especially with a small staff, but the reward is HUGE.  That is why we will do apporximately 150 remotes this year.  This type of on-going promotion works very well for us.


 

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

It's all about large screen plasma televisions.  Man, I tell ya, I think the labels are doing a heck of a job.  From timely releases and delivery of product, to their willingness to work with stations on specific promotions...it's all good.  I do like the trend in promotional concerts and listener appreciation events.  That serves both radio and labels wonderfully well. 

 

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

Christians.  I'm pretty serious about this.  If we, as believers, would get ourselves out of the way of what God could do, just think of the impact.  This requires ZERO compromise of Biblical principle or moral.  Actually, it requires a greater understanding of Biblical principle.  Like Jesus, we need to have an understanding of what reaches people.  This requires an understanding of the pop culture, or at the very least, an understanding of the specific needs of the listener.  It bums me out to hear a station sound the way secular society would EXPECT a Christian station to sound.  One of the best things about watching the life of Christ in the Gospels is that He was NOT what people were expecting and He knew how to reach people where they were.

 
 

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

Be relevant, be relevant, be relevant.  Again I say, be relevant.  I once had a lady call me up in the studio mad at me for talking about Michael Jordan's birthday.  She said, "Do you know what he stands for?!  Do you know what type of lifestyle he has?!  Why are you mentioning HIS birthday?!"   I simply asked her, "Do you know who Michael Jordan is?"  She said, "Yes."  I said, "THAT is why."   It's quite simple, really.  I put signs in the studios at QFL that say, "Be relevant or be quiet."  That sums it up for me.  Of course, that is a very simplistic philosophy, but let's face it, this isn't rocket science.  I mean no insult to the intellect needed to get the job done effectively, but bottom-lining it, if you can be relevant, thereby connecting with your listener, your listener will stay.  They will feel a desire to return because the dj understands them.  It is this very relevance which affords the best opportunity to impact people with the Truth of the Gospel.  I am also convinced that the primary role of the Christian radio air personality should NOT be to NOT offend anyone (did you follow my double negative?).  If that is our primary focus or role we just become a flower on paisley wallpaper.  People won't even notice you.  I don't mind offending people.  Certainly, not for the purpose of horking them off, but rather for the purpose of speaking Biblical truth in love.  There is something offensive about the truth.


 

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

Because most of what I know about other radio stations is not from listening to them, but rather from heresay and reading, it makes this difficult to answer.  I am such a fan of stations whose deepest desire is to do the best radio possible...not the best 'Christian' radio possible.  Those who understand this know exactly what I mean.  I hope all of us can find a way to be innovators in this industry.

 
 

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

I'm pulling for the Rapture.  I would love to see dead air all across America!  Let's hope none of our employees are still here to run the dump.  Seriously, I wish I knew.  All I am hoping for is relevant, connectable radio whether it is 5, 10, or 100 years from now.  For Christian radio to be taken seriously, its methods must change as society changes.  Not the message, but the method. 

 

 

Previous Interviews

 

Copyright 2002 HisAIr.Net