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Radio Interview

 

 

 

Joe Paulo

 

Director of Broadcasting

 

WRCM Charlotte
WMHK Columbia

 

     

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Joe's Career Capsule
My first radio gig was at WBRG in Lynchburg, VA some twenty years ago during my final college years.  After moving to Charlotte, NC to begin my math teaching career in the public schools, I realized my love for radio and the “calling” I felt to it was not going to go away.  At roughly the same time, WRCM was coming on the air and I began working there part-time while still teaching. 

By 1996, there was a full-time opening and Ken Mayfield hired me as the afternoon announcer and Music Director.  Over the next several years, I had the privilege of experiencing many of the different positions at the station from Music to Production to Programming, while at the same time getting to be on the air – first as evening/overnight announcer, then on to afternoons, mid-days, and eventually mornings.

In 2000, I became General Manager of WRCM.  In 2008, I had the privilege of becoming Director of Broadcasting, enabling me to oversee both WRCM in Charlotte, NC and WMHK in Columbia, SC


 

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

My goal is to thrive in the tension between the two – and that is not to say that the two are completely at odds with each other.  Without operating under sound business principles, there will be nothing left to do the “ministry”.  I find it very important for me to balance how much energy and focus I place on both.  For example, by reading more than just business books, I am (hopefully) able to keep a Kingdom mindset on what we are doing week-in and week-out.

 

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

I hope… and believe… that Christian radio is more relevant than we were five years ago.  We have removed ourselves from the pews and, instead, set up on “Main Street.”  Christian radio has gotten better at communicating the things that matter most in life in a way that is less preachy and more in a “caring friend next door” style. 

 

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

I’ll reword this question to answer what I think the main characteristics are of a successful Christian radio GM.  #1 above really touches on this.  A successful GM must recognize where the intersection of ministry and business is and do his or her best to keep the radio station in that spot.  Here are some other things that I believe characterize a successful GM:

·         Let people do the jobs they were hired to do (don’t micromanage)

·         Show appreciation and recognize the good, hard work of others (give credit where it’s due)

·         Take the blame for what goes wrong and give others the credit for what goes right (be selfless)

·         Have goals and a vision and then communicate that to the staff

·         Get out of your office and build as many good relationships in the community as possible

·         And last, but actually first on the list… invest more effort into your spiritual life, your marriage and kids than you do into your job.

 

      4. What ways or methods do you think work best to keep your staff motivated?

This is not a new quote by any means, but it is so true.  Staff members are best motivated when they have been given a responsibility to handle something at which they are good and enjoy & then they are also given the authority to carry out that responsibility.

Of course, finding creative ways to show appreciation for their work also goes a long way.  30 years ago, it might have been enough to say, “Well, you got your paycheck, didn’t you?” to remind staff to stay motivated, but a wise leader realizes you’ll have more productive, satisfied staff if you motivate them in other ways.  It may be a random gift card, a surprise hand-written note in the snail mail, a word of praise in front of other people, a staff retreat, or maybe even an afternoon off that does the trick.  You have to know each person and what uniquely motivates them.

 

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

The best kind of promotions for Christian radio put Matthew 25:31-40 into action.  For too long, we have done things that focused on us and our product and not enough things that focus on our community and making a difference.  Christians and non-Christians alike want to feel good and know that they are making a positive difference in their community and in the world.  We are in a great position to construct promotions that channel that desire into worthy causes.  By doing so, we are living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ even if we don’t declare, “Hey, look over here!  We are living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

 

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

From where I sit, there is a mutually beneficial relationship between Christian record labels and Christian radio.  An MD or PD would be able to answer this question more specifically. 

 

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

·         A dearth of on-air talent

·         This is a generalization, but for non-commercial, listener-supported stations: a Christian culture that is leaning further away from biblical stewardship of personal resources

·         Seeing ourselves as radio stations (transmitters with big sticks) rather than content providers

 

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

The primary role of a Christian radio announcer is to build a relationship with the listener.  We could go on for pages here about how that is best accomplished and, in fact, there are good books and talented consultants who focus on how to do that – transparency, reflecting listener values, etc.  However, the primary role and purpose of a Christian radio announcer is to build a relationship not for the sole reason of having a relationship, but so that in the end, the listener is drawn closer to Jesus Christ.  In fact, the way we view it here at WRCM and WMHK, if there is anything we are doing on-air or off-air that is not designed to contribute to the overall goal of drawing people closer to Jesus Christ, then we should not be doing it.  That most certainly applies to the announcer building a relationship with the listener too.

 

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

Once you begin naming names, you’re always going to leave someone out who deserves to be mentioned, right?   I believe any station that views themselves as competing on the big stage with all the other stations in town, that exceeds the expectations of its listeners, that invests in talent and the framework to win, that does a bit of the unexpected in the listener’s mind, that acts like they are broadcasting to a wider audience than Bible-toting church goers and that look like they are having a blast while doing all of this – those are the stations I view as innovators.

But, having said all that, to now name names, I think any list of the above should include excellent stations like KTIS, WPOZ, and KCMS.  Those guys and gals are doing fantastic work.  We all can learn from their examples.

 

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

Thanks to stations like those in #9 above, by 2015 there will be more just like them.  These will be the true content providers that have adapted and adopted new methodology of delivering the life-changing message of Jesus Christ to people who will need it more than ever before.

There will also be a number of stations who will be stuck in the mode of “but this is the way we’ve always done it” and they will continue doing the same things over and over, hoping for different results.  We can only hope that they will be bought out and taken over by innovators who care to share the Message of Christ more effectively.


 

 

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