I started working in radio in
1980. I was 15, and got my every kids dream job
at KIKS-FM in Lola, Kansas. I spent the entire
Summer playing the commercials during the KC Royals
baseball games. Once my voice matured..(hehe) I got to
throw in a weather forecast or two and things progressed
from there. The day I graduated high school I was given
the Morning Show gig and have done nothing but radio
since. I moved on to Joplin, Missouri in 1986 to work for
KFSB and KIXQ radio which was owned then by John David,
who I believe is the V.P. of NAB now. Moved to Holland, MI
in 1993 to work at WJQ, left in 1995 to PD WAY-FM in West
Palm Beach, Florida, came back to WJQ in 1996 for a chance
at ownership and management. I now am minority owner,
Station Manager and Afternoon Drive announcer at WJQ.
1. How did you wind
up at WJQ?
I was working mornings at a
TOP 40 format in Kansas, and was a youth director at an
Assembly Of God Church. I realized that the very things
I was trying to get my youth group to overcome
(i.e...drugs, sex, overcoming temptation) on Wednesday
nights, I played songs Thursday morning that promoted
those types of things. I'd never really listened to the
lyrics much, but after paying attention I knew that God
wanted me to do something else. I talked with my Pastor
and he helped me come to the decision to get into
Christian radio. I picked up a magazine from the NRB
and there was only one radio station advertising an
opening. I sent them a tape and was hired at WJQ.
2. What is the most fulfilling aspect to you
personally about Christian radio?
Playing songs that actually
have depth. In secular radio, I never got a call from
someone who was considering suicide and thanking me for
playing Like A Virgin from Madonna. The lyrics do
minister to people. The message is in the music.
3. How has God used
you in your role at WJQ?
I feel like I have a gift
of coming up with ideas that work. I'm sort of known as
the idea guy around here, so whenever we need a
promotional idea, programming idea, or a creative way to
do radio "better" they come to me. We all brainstorm for
awhile, and we usually come up with an idea that works.
We were the first radio station to ever do a "Compassion
International Radio Marathon" It was effective for us,
and now most stations are doing these types of
4. What is the
criteria that determines if a song receives airplay on
We look at the artist, the
lyrics, and we make sure that the 18-39 year old female
likes it. After a song gets a set number of spins, we
do audience research. Our station has always
gotten decent ratings, but after we started researching
the songs that we play, we have gotten some of the
highest ratings in the history of the radio station.
5. What kind of
promotions work best for your station?
The promotions that give
our station the most visibility. We just finished our
Celebration Freedom event for the 4th Of July. We
packed a lake-side park with about 20,000 people for
games, music, and fireworks. We were able to expose our
radio station to a huge amount of people who had never
listened. We don't have the money right now for
billboards and other expensive marketing, so we look
for ways to get our Logo in front of as many people as
possible. That means parades, festivals, and we have
been named the "Official Radio Station Of Unity2003"
which is one of the biggest Christian Music Festivals in
the upper mid-west.
6. How do you think Christian Record labels can
better serve Christian radio?
Realize that the stations
that succeed are incorporating music research. We may
stay on a particular song for months because it tests
well and the burn rate is low, and we may drop a song
quicker because of what our research tells us. Research
is working and we rely on it. I think programmers need
to be more honest with the labels too. Tell them what
we think. Tell them why we won't add a particular
song. If we are honest with the labels, then the labels
can take our Yes to be Yes and our No to be No.
7. In your opinion
what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio
I see many obstacles that
are being overcome. Christian stations are striving to
be more professional. There's more networking. The PD
Forum that Bob Thornton started has been invaluable.
The successful stations are more open to sharing their
success strategies with other stations. You don't see
that in secular radio. As far as obstacles that still
need to be overcome, I read a statistic the other day
that said only 20% of Christians listen to Christian
radio. That's our obstacle. What can we do to get the
other 80% to listen to us? Are we too preachy? Have
they not given us a fair chance to win them over? We
need to find out these things to see the success of the
8. What do you
believe is the primary role of the Christian radio air
Be real. Let the audience
know that you mess up. Sound like you actually live in
the listeners world. Don't talk with Christianese. I
hear some stations whose jocks sound like they've come
from another world. If you want to succeed, just be
9. What (if any) other Christian radio stations do you
consider as innovators today?
I like WAY-FM in West Palm
Beach, some of the FISH stations, and KXOJ.
10. Where do you see
Christian radio in 5 years?
Hopefully we've found out
why 80% of Christians don't listen to Christian Radio. I
believe we will be more polished, better funded, more
relevent, and hopefully closer to the top in Arbitron.
We have what it takes now. Great programmers, jocks,
and a real vision. Let's kick some Christian butt!