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Radio Interview

                                     

Jeff Taylor

General Manager

WAY FM

Ft Myers, FL

 

 

Jeff's Career Capsule

I got started in radio 23 years ago and Iíve been in and out of radio ever since.  Iíve worked in the mainstream as the PD at KISS-FM in Fargo and also worked for Z-103.3 in the Lakes Region of Minnesota.  Most of my experience has been in Christian radio working at WSOR/Ft. Myers, Power 92/Fargo and Iíve managed WAY-FM in Ft. Myers for 7 of the last 10 years.  Iíve served in full-time youth ministry and a few years ago I authored the book LIFE SUPPORT: A Prescription For Prolonging The Life Of Your Youth Worker.  Iím one of those rare GMís who actually does a morning show and I love finding ways to connect with real people.  Lord willing, Iíll grow old working for the best company in Christian radio, the WAY-FM Media Group, Inc.

 

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

We serve Market #65 (Ft. Myers/Naples/Marco Island) which is one of the fastest-growing in America,   As a youth and young adult-oriented CHR, we battle an intense demographic skew, with 50% of our market being older than 55.  It makes for interesting Arbitron analysis.  More than 1 in 10 people under 55 listen to WAY-FM during the course of a given week.

 

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

I got started in Christian radio 23 years ago and I worked at a station (WSOR-Ft. Myers) that operated with a clear-cut mission.  Ministry was at the forefront, but in those days we werenít thinking much about focus or strategy.  Since 1995, Iíve worked for WAY-FM and once again Iím part of a company with a mission that drives everything we do Ė encouraging youth and young adults in their Christian walk, and introducing non-believers to Christ.  From a radio standpoint, we accomplish this with an intense belief in the power of focus and a strategy that works.  Having a daily impact in the lives of tens of thousands of people each day with a ďcommon groundĒ approach that focuses on the lifestyle of real people excites me.

 

3. How do you personally keep the ministry in the business?

Our board has given each WAY-FM station a set of operational goals that each local staff creatively finds ways to meet.  These goals are largely ministry-related and they give us tangible ways to remind our listeners that weíre not simply a Christian music station, we really are a ministry, first and foremost.  As a staff, we meet together on a weekly basis to pray for our listenersí specific needs and we also share time in the Word.  Personally, I also appreciate the invitations I receive to preach in local churches, often filling in for vacationing pastors.

 

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

We test our music and we make no apology for that.  We work hard to find out what our target listenerís favorite songs are and we play them often.  There does need to be some inherent ministry value in a song and worship-oriented songs continue to test very well.  We use our Listener Advisory Board to give us bi-weekly feedback on currents that weíre playing.

 

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

Community-driven promotions that serve the needs of people in tangible ways work best for us.  They communicate the heart of our ministry and they also generate a lot of media attention, which is helpful when trying to reach new listeners.  Each year, we collect more than 5,000 toys for needy kids in Southwest Florida.  I think that radio stations make great concert promoters, too!  We also try to be the ďlarger-than-lifeĒ Christian station that does big things like our 88.7 Second Shopping Spree, where a listener can run through a local Christian bookstore grabbing all they can in just less than 90 seconds.  Recently, we gave a contest winner the chance to open for Toby Mac by singing the Natíl Anthem to start the show.  We held auditions ďAmerican IdolĒ-style at the big mall in town and had thousands gathered to hear our would-be singers.  Television news cameras love that stuff, and so do newspapers.

 

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

Iím not the PD so I donít interact much with labels, but I would hope that record companies will grow in their understanding of the fact that stations will stay on a current until listeners grow tired of it being played heavily.  No label release calendar can supercede the wants and likes of our listeners.

 

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

Mainstream stations that see us as a growing competitor.  They are starting to go after OUR listeners instead of vice-versa.  If we donít find a way to connect with real people, we will be largely ineffective in our ministries and our listeners will find us to be irrelevant and theyíll go somewhere else to find what theyíre looking for.

 

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

Be transparent and real, and find non-preachy ways to relate the Christian life to people who come from many different backgrounds.

 

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

KCMS in Seattle remains one of the most successful Christian stations in America.  They have a laser focus and they live and breathe relevance.  Scott Valentine has done a remarkable job there.  I also have a lot of respect for The Fish in Atlanta and Star 99.1 in New York.  As a morning show host, I must acknowledge Kent & Alan at Star 101.5 in Seattle.  Sure, theyíre mainstream, but they have one of the most targeted, focused morning shows Iíve ever heard.  They are models for me.

 

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

Still trying to find new ways to be relevant, especially where technology is concerned.

 

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