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Radio Interview

                                     

Joe Burke

Owner/Program Director

WZFI

Bridgeton, N.J.

 

 

Joe's Career Capsule
I was a nightclub disc jockey for many years. It indeed paid much of way through college and allowed me to support myself. I worked in the defense industry as a computer programmer. Additionally, I substitute taught for sometime and secured a degree in science education.

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

We are the only Christian Hit Music Station but we don't call ourselves that... All our sweepers etc., identify us as a Hit Music Station. Our region is a melting pot of many people. As such, we play a much broader mix of music than most other stations. In addition, we play lots of Indies and our listeners love them.

 

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

The most fulfilling aspect of Christian Radio is knowing that we are broadcasting God's word, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! Now I should mention that we don't only broadcast music, though during weekdays that's pretty much our line-up. On weeknights we broadcast PUBLIC high school games and other more local stuff and on the weekends we air more talk programming. We try to make people think about life in general, even when we broadcast high school games. HOW??? We run short one minute spots during the games that introduce people to Jesus . We are reaching the unsaved by meeting people where they are through high school sports broadcasts and other types of activities,

 

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

We rely on God to keep the ministry in business. It hasn't been easy financially but the rewards are great.

 

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

You pose a difficult question. I think God has given me a pretty good ear for what's good and  what's not, but really I don't want to take any credit for it. All the credit goes back to God. How do we choose what we play? With Indies, I'll go through a stack of about 20 CDs in an hour or so. I try to listen to bits of each and every song on every album and then determine if it's playable on the air (studio quality performance, good harmonics, appropriate music, good lead vocals, etc.). As far as the major labels are concerned, we do listen to our new music prior to giving any song airplay. If it's a good match for our Hit Music Format, we add. We also check the Radio and Records charts to see what's charting ......Sometimes we may miss a good song after it's climbed to the top of the charts, but thanks to Radio and Records, it doesn't happen often.

 

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

We still don't know what works best as we are fairly new to Christian Radio. Our station has been up and running for only about a year and a half. In all honesty, I could probably use a lot of help in this area. :)

 

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

Record labels need to make music available to all stations whether or not they are reporting. I understand that it may be expensive to deliver music to every station throughout the country, but without the cooperation of all the record labels, small stations will lag behind in acquiring quality music. There are new music delivery services, such as PromoOnly.com,  that offer record labels the opportunity to deliver music to stations at greatly reduced costs. Unfortunately, not all labels currently subscribe to the service. In summation, Christian Record labels can better serve  Christian radio by partnering with all stations big and small. :)

 

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

This is another difficult question to answer. Aren't there any easy questions to answer??? Could I tell you my favorite color instead? The biggest obstacles???? I think with the way technology is going, owners of Christian Radio Stations, indeed, all radio station owners, are going to have to become more innovative with their programming and need to be more community oriented. In the near future, we'll have internet radio in our cars.  When that happens, competition among radio station owners is going to jump tremendously. For instance, though there are presently no Christian Hit Music Stations in my area, the minute people can tune into internet radio in  their cars everything will change. I'll then be battling WAY-FM, KLOVE, and all the others. Christian Radio is going to have to be more about the local community. Too much of current Christian Radio is delivered via satellite with syndicated music and talkers. What happens when everyone is broadcasting the same thing? Partnering with local communities is a great way to really reach people...We read in James 2:14-17, "What good is it, my brothers, if a  man claims to have faith but has no deeds. Can such faith save him? Suppose  a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go I wish you well; keep warm and well fed, but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way faith by itself, If it is not accompanied by action, us dead". As many radio networks get larger and larger, it appears that broadcasters in general are becoming more aloof to their local community needs. As Christian broadcasters we need to remember it's not only about preaching but being a friend in need.

 

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

The primary role of the Christian radio air personality today should be......He or she should know the gospel and should be a good witness to his/her listening audience. He or she should be equipped to tell of the good news!

 

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

I don't know if I would call them innovators but I do enjoy Reach FM (WXHL), WJTL, WORD-FM in Allentown, PA, WIBG (great news programming), WSJI, and www.96five.com in Australia.

 

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

I believe in order to survive, Christian radio is going to have to be more local.

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