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Radio Interview

                                     

Tony Weir

Program Director

KLVV

Ponca City/Oklahoma City

 

 

Tonys' Career Capsule
My career would be meaningless without my wife, Heather and our 5 children. I came to KLVV right out of college in 1992.  I moved to Oklahoma in October of that year and KLVV went on the air in December.  It was just Station Manager Doyle Brewer and me (and the Morningstar Radio Network).  We have grown over the years, leaving Morningstar for self-automation in 1999 and now have an on-air staff of 3 full time with some part time and an office staff of 4 full time and 3 part time.  Our last weekly cume (Fall '03) was just over 31,000 and in the month of March we streamed 1 million hours on the Internet.  Pretty good growth over the years. This years Sharathon saw a $70,000 increase in the goal from the previous year, up to $510,000... and our listeners came through to surpass it. Seeing God work through His people in this way is truly amazing. I serve as PD and MD and host the afternoon drive. Big changes are in store for us this Summer as our new 100,000 watt station (on a 1,000 foot stick) will go on the air. We'll be programming 23 hours of music (Hot AC) on the new station (89.7 The House) and our current station will become Praise 88.7 with an Inspirational music format and a few teaching programs. 
 

 

1. Tell us about your market and how it is unique?
 
K L V V sits in the middle of a triangle between Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Wichita, Kansas.  Our signal bumps up against all 3 metros.  In fact, to get our ratings from Radio Research Consortium, we have to work with numbers from all 3 Arbitron Markets.  We serve a good number of small-medium sized towns with our main signal, a full power station/repeater and 5 translators.  We are excited to be offering a second format to these areas later this Summer as already mentioned.

2. What is the most fulfilling aspect to you personally about Christian radio?
 
On a day to day basis, seeing how God uses music to minister to people.  Sometimes I think people think "It's just a radio station."  But I see it as an awesome tool of God.   Most fulfilling is seeing people come to know Christ as Savior.  K L V V events over the years have seen God move in over 4000 lives.  We write in every contract of every concert we do that there will be some sort of gospel presentation and make counselors available.  This has not always been popular but God has blessed for that stand.  Incredibly.
 
3. How has God used you in your role at KLVV?
 
I think I was willing to do what had to be done, especially in the early years with very limited staff.  God does great things through people who are just willing.
 
4. What is the criteria that determines if a song receives airplay on your station?

I think AC is an artist driven format.  I think people have artists that they love and that's who they want to hear.  We have to be sensitive to new artists, of course, and we're seeing a lot of new artists these days.  A new song from a core artist is almost always "out of the box" with me.  I'm a big proponent of songs that you can learn easily and sing along to.  I like big hooks and catchy phrases.  Sting once said "I write one "hit" for every album that sells the record and then people buy it and hear what I have to say."  I don't have a problem with that.  Deep songs are generally not radio songs.  I don't think "Becky" has time to sit and listen to lyrics or read a liner sheet and "contemplate meaning."  She wants a song that has a simple message and even better, might make the kids behave and maybe sing along and have fun together.  The great popularity of worship songs shows that "simple" plus a few deep lines can come together.  We play quite a bit of Worship on our station.  I like the fact that a good part of the audience already knows the song and is now hearing their favorite artist sing it.  
 
5. What kind of promotions work best for your station?
 
All of our concerts are great experiences.  Getting the listener excited at an event is always good.  We've had great success with Kid DJ Day.  Being small market, this kind of an event is extremely do-able.  Letting kids come to the station, sit in with the DJ for a couple of minutes.  We give them a tape of their "performance," put them on the webcam so Grandma in Indiana can see & hear them over the Internet.  Months afterward, anytime you see a kid that was there, that's the first thing they talk about, " I was on the air with you!"  Our Summertime Water Park parties always do well.  Each year for our Summer Giveaway, we involved the entire staff, either giving a new grill and coming to your house to cook steaks.  Giving a new mower and weed eater and coming to take care of your yard.  Something where we interact with the listeners in their surroundings.  This past Summer we gave a family a Day at the Lake with boat and jet ski rides and a catered picnic (and a huge cooker to take home).  Our station has made some great friends through these kind of promotions.  With the incredible increase we have seen with Internet listeners, we have tried to gear many web site promotions toward things they are able to participate in.  An on-going Caption Contest at our site has become very popular.  We talk quite a bit and share testimonies from Internet listeners and our "hometown" listeners seem amazed (as we are) that THEIR radio station is reaching around the world with the message of Christ.
 
6. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve Christian radio?
 
Speaking as a non-reporter... I'd just like to get the music on time.   I do get frustrated when songs are charting and even playing on "20" that I don't even have in the building.  (And it's not a large percentage that I don't get.)  But it is embarassing to have to beg for a song when I thought the #1 job of a promoter was to get their artists' music into the hands of people who want to play it.  I'm still wondering why they're not making singles available for download for stations.
 
7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio today?
 
I worry about the constant flux of the record companies.  There just seems to be no stability.  How can unstable companies truly promote and help the careers of these artists, especially new artists?  
I don't think personal MP3 players are going to be a huge impact on "Becky" but for stations with younger audiences... hey... I'm sitting here with my Dell Digital Jukebox with 1500 songs (half it's capacity) at my fingertips.  I am ALWAYS listening to my favorite songs.  What do I need or want radio for?  I would think we need to be ready to find the answer to that question.
 
8. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian radio air personality today?
 
Not to sound trite... but "a friend."  I think the personalities that "work" are the ones that make you feel good, maybe even "special."  Make you feel smart for tuning them in.  If not to provide a laugh, at least a smile.  Someone just like them.  They're enjoying the music right along with the listener... and, because he/she has a great job as a DJ, he's privy to some interesting information about the music and the artists.  But, he doesn't lord it over them, he's excited to share something that he knows the listener is excited about too.  And let's not forget the opportunity to remind listeners that they are not alone in their service to Christ.

9. What (if any) other Christian radio stations do you consider as innovators today?
 
I try to keep an eye on KSBJ as much as possible (not as much as I'd like).  Not because, objectively, they are a station with big numbers and Sharathons, but because it just seems like God's hand is firmly on them.  I try to watch the Fish stations as well.  They were an inspiration in a way for our new station The House.  We really felt like the connection with a name could really work well as it has for them.  And it's hard not to see what KXOJ is doing.  Bob Thorton seems to be everywhere.
 
10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
 
I think asking a 5 year question at this time in history is too dangerous.  Who knows what possibilites and new technologies are going to come along in the next few years.  I hope that Christian Radio and the music industry are well prepared and flexible to adapt.  (It is obvious that the entire recording industry (not just Christian) was NOT prepared for the public demand for downloadable music.)  With the available technologies, what people "need" radio for is becoming narrower and narrower.  We have to really work to discover what "need" may still be there and maybe... more than ever... be so good at what we do... that people "want" us to be the ones to deliver the music, the information, etc.


 

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