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Radio Interview

                                     

Jill Johnston

Promotion Director

WBCL

Ft Wayne

 

 

Jill's Career Capsule
My radio career began in 2005 as a volunteer assistant to the Promotions Director of The Joy FM in Sarasota, FL.  After relocating to Indiana; I pursued my ministry passion by joining the WBCL team.

My career background has been one of diversity.  From being a secretary in the dean’s office of Huntington North High School, Huntington, IN for 13 years, to reservations consultant for Walt Disney World, to a self employed wedding coordinator.  I feel as I bring a wide variety of tools to the station as its Promotions Director.

 

1. Personally how do you keep the ministry in the “business”? 

Whenever I am out at events/concerts/sticker stops I try to never miss the opportunity to be a ministry tool that God clearly gifted to me by being a part of  WBCL.  When I create a contest some of my criteria of the promotion must be that I ask myself – how will this minister to all listeners in the midst and the one or two that gain something material.  If I don’t feel ministry in what I do for WBCL I don’t want the job.  It would hurt me to think I am not doing the great commission in what I do for the station.  Whatever I do I want to be working for the Lord and not for man. 

 

2. Overall, how is Christian radio different today, from 5 years ago?

I have only been in this ministry (Promotions Director) for a little less than a year.  In the time that I was a volunteer at The Joy FM (Sarasota) until now I have marveled at the music that comes from our Christian artists.  They are feeling the penmanship of God in their writing and in their sharing of ministry through music and testimony. 

I sense that ‘our hands on’ serving the community around us will touch the lives of many through relationships, prayer and continual involvement in our listening areas.  With the added reach of the internet and keeping those that love our station impacted through what we provide, we have the opportunity only God can provide.

 

3. What do you think are the main characteristics of a Christian radio Promotion Director?

To provide a sound perspective or what our mission statement is all about.  Not to provide a ‘great’ prize but to promote a safe, fun, environment to listen to and also to be a part of.  Making the connection with the listening audience in a real way – not just on the air waves.  Getting the station out more and more is my goal.  Finding ways to connect in a tangible way with relationships as we move out of the studios and into the hearts of the listener face to face!!!

 

4. What criteria do you require for a promotion to air on your station?

Crisp, clean, entertaining, and the end goal of ministry.  How can we touch them in a real way through the way we do a promotion.

 

5. What kind of promotions work best for Christian radio?

I like to think that as I walk through this career I will find joy in having a balance that the station can strike as a whole.  Promotions that will engage the listener to be a part of and ones that gives back.  Helping and spotlighting ministries that need a little boost from media and involve the listener so that they are a part of it.  Other types of promotions would involve making the listener feel special and that they are important to us.  I have a lot to learn on this but I am trusting as time goes by that I will be enlightened to find the ones that work best and that we will be KNOWN because of them and the ministry they provide – whichever way. 

 

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

In the short time I feel as if they do a phenomenal job.  I have found them easy to talk with, to TOL with and to work with in promotions that I have done on their artists’ behalf.  I would really like for them to update us when staff changes happen so that we can better serve them.  Being new to the industry I would LOVE to have updated lists of the artists they serve and a little bio on each one (complete with pictures).  I have contemplated featuring them in e-notes or newsletters so that our listeners have the opportunity to get to know the artists better as well as familiarizing myself with them.

 

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

Staying up to date in technology desires of artists, labels, and how that will play into the environment of our listeners.

 

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

Personality!!!  I believe that air personalities have to exude high energy and do it in a genuine way.  I believe that they need to be current on what is happening today, yesterday and tomorrow… not years ago or ‘when I was’.  They need to have the ability to engage the listener in their conversation.  Have them talk to more listeners on a certain subject of today….a new song of an artist, play it and then have listeners call in and tell how they feel;  something that is on the news and a hot (safe) subject, have them call.  Make them feel part and embrace their feelings.  Being flexible and spontaneous are also some attributes I believe that make a good air personality.  I have never been one but who knows what God has in store!!!

 

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

Since my debut has only begun at WBCL I have no personal opinion on any stations other than my introduction into Christian radio from the ‘inside’ with The JOY FM in Sarasota 4 years ago.  I still enjoy listening to them occasionally and the morning team seems to be very ‘on top’ of things both in broadcasting and what is happening in the world around us.   I have to admit that I am partial but it is what it is.  I do have to say that I never want to ever be in competition with any other Christian radio station – we are all under the same pair of eyes!!! J  

 

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

In all honesty, it is scary.  I think that we at Christian radio will need to be very, very intentional about making our individual stations WORTH listening to.  With iPod, XM and Sirius and who knows what else will come I think that the creativity of how to stay above it will need to be thought about now, not then.  We will need to concentrate on the personal side even more due to the non-personal side of the other options that are available.  We have to stay on the other side of voicemail and non-communicative interactions with listeners.  Give them reason to want to have that connectivity rather than the disconnect the other options offer.  

 

 

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