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Radio Interview

                                     

Joshua Tanner

Program Director

KYTT

Eugene/Springfield/Coos Bay

 

 

Joshuas' Career Capsule
I started in radio at KYTT-FM at 16 years old, running the board on Saturday nights.  Eight months later, I was offered a chance to do a live Saturday night music show on the station.  Ever since, I have been involved
in Christian radio in one form or another for most of the last 14 years. In that time, I worked about 2 years in high school part time at KYTT. I volunteered at a secular college radio station in La Grande, OR  for about
a year doing a Christian music show and then returned to Coos Bay in 1994 to work part time at KYTT-FM. During my last two years of college in the Medford, OR area, I worked at KAPL-AM, Applegate Christian Fellowship's station.  About three months after graduating from college, I was offered a full-time position at
KYTT-FM as operations manager, where I have worked for the past 7 1/2 years.


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

We are a 31,000 watt commercial FM station that covers most of Southwestern Oregon with our primary signal and five translators, reaching an approximate potential audience of 100,000 to 125,000.  It is a predominately rural area bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west and reaching east to the western foothills of the Cascade Mountains.  The area is characterized by mountainous terrain and evergreen trees with grassy valleys interspersed.  However, despite the fact that we do not cover an urban area larger than 25,000 - 30,000 people, our listeners are very interested in and connected to the Christian music industry.

 

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

The most fulfilling aspect is to watch the Lord use a song or His word being shared over the air to draw a listener to Himself, bring them hope, and see how Jesus changes their life.

 

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

Recently, I had the priviledge of having a young lady call and ask how she could have a relationship with Jesus.  I got to lead her in praying to ask Jesus into her life.

 

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

Our first priority is the lyrics...they must have substance spiritually. There has to be something in the song that points a listener in a direction of being drawn closer to Jesus or encouraging them to live their lives in
accordance with God's word...the song doesn't necessarily have to mention Jesus or God by name, but there must be a spiritual benefit to the listener...we don't generally play songs that are just positive, feel-good songs, but we look for songs that are consistent with things that are scriptural (Phillipians 4:8) and clear in their message (1 Corinthians 14:7-9) of reliance on the Lord and His word.  If a song doesn't pass our lyrical test, then it will not be added, no matter how well it does on the chart or how popular the artist is. Secondly, we examine a song to make sure its musical style is consistent with our musical format and mix. To a much lesser extent, artist popularity, chart action, and album sales are taken into account.

 

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

We do a variety of promotions such as grocery giveaways, trip giveaways, event ticket giveaways, promoting and organizing concerts, and of course on-air music giveaways.

 

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

We would love to have more access to artists in doing interviews and presenting the heart of why they are making music.

 

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

There is no question that competition from satellite music services is a big obstacle to the financial/business side of the Christian radio industry.  However, in my opinion, the biggest issue facing the Christian radio industry is the temptation to allow our focus to be sidetracked from ministering and presenting the truth to our listeners. There is a strong temptation for programmers to compromise truth and clarity in our programming to make our station sound better and acceptable to the world around us at large.  The world around us is focused on the bottom line of how much money a particular programming decision will generate.  It is true that we need to make a living, but I strongly believe
what God's word says about seeking His kingdom first and trusting He will take care of us (Matthew 6:33).  I believe it is crucial for us as programmers not to make programming decisions based on business models, what's popular, or how much money it will generate, but rather to make our
decisions dependent on the leading of the Holy Spirit, who lives in us; and what will minister most effectively and draw our listeners closer to Jesus.

 

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

Air personalities need to be those who befriend listeners, are competent technically in the studio, and can clearly communicate what the listener needs and wants to know in between songs and programming.  They need to be able to identify with their listeners (1 Corinthians 9:22) not only for the
purpose of befriending listeners and enticing them to listen longer, but ultimately to encourage them to draw nearer to Jesus and to encourage them in their walks with the Lord.

 

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

Obviously, my personal exposure limits my answer to this question, but I consider stations like Air One, KSBJ, WAY-FM, and KLTY to be stations that I have noticed have been willing to step out and try new things which have positively impacted Christian radio.

 

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

I believe Christian radio and its influence will continue to grow, despite the competition from satellite radio, to the extent that it keeps its local flavor and ability to provide information that the listener can not get elsewhere. I hope and pray that as an industry we will maintain the difference in our programming that sets us a part as Christian radio...pointing the way to Jesus, rather than becoming just like the other non-Christian stations in our markets who might play "positive" music. 
 

        

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