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Johnny Stone

PD/Mornings

WAWZ

New York

 

 

Johnny's Career Capsule
My first job was overnights at WDIZ FM in Orlando while during the daytime, I was a photographer in the USAF. Most of my career was in Country radio, working at WYAY FM in Atlanta, WSOC FM in Charlotte, WSUN in Tampa, KSON FM in San Deigo and KYNG/Young Country in Dallas/Fort Worth. It took awhile, but I think God kind of slapped me in the back of the head in 2000, telling me to use the talents He gave me in Contemporary Christian Music. So I went to Chicago when Salem launched The Fish 106.7 and did mornings. After a couple of years, God again let me know that He wanted to use me in the New York Metropolitan area, so I joined STAR 99.1 as morning guy and Program Director.

 

1. Personally how do you keep the ministry in the ďbusinessĒ? 

The best way to keep the ministry in the business is to live it. Donít hide it, but donít shove it down anyoneís throat either. If you are a believer, it just comes out naturally. The Bible has lots of guidelines on how to conduct your life, whether in business or privately.

 

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

Christian radio is dramatically different now than five years ago. The production of the music is on a par with the best produced mainstream music. The imaging of Christian radio stations is getting better as well. Having said that, I do hear stations with really poor imaging. Imaging is the skeleton that the rest of your station is built on, so it is important to work hard at it. Your Christian station should sound as good if not better than anything else on the radio dial. The air talent at Christian stations is getting better as well, relating to the target audience.

 

3. What do you think are the main characteristics of todayís Christian radio PD?

The Christian PD does more than one job. Thatís just something thatís expected in the radio environment today. Lead by example. Never ask your people to do something you wouldnít do yourself. Keep up to date on whatís going on in your market(s). Coach when needed, and know when you have people working for you that donít need lots of hands on attention. Make sure you have the right people on the bus, sitting in the right seats. If you have someone on the bus that doesnít belong on it, you do more of a disservice to them by keeping them instead of letting them go. Laugh, encourage, pray, and stay on your game. You have to win in the hallways before you can win on the airwaves

 

4. What criteria do you require for a song to be played on your station?

Keith Stevens, STAR 99.1ís Music Director and I meet once a week to listen to new music. We also watch the Billboard charts, see what other stations are playing through BDS Radio and use Troy Research to gauge how well a song is accepted by our listeners. We do weekly testing of about 20 songs. The message of the song is also important.

 

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

Give the audience what they want while being entertaining to the people who would NEVER call a radio station. Viral is best, causing people to talk about your radio station to people who donít know you exist.

 

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

The Christian labels are great! They are doing a fantastic job of giving us what we need. Plus, Iím really happy that the artists, for the most part, are keeping their songs to three and a half minutes or less.

 

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

Marketing. You can have the best BBQ party in town, but if nobody knows about it, youíre eating all that meat all by your lonesome! Lots of us donít have the money to market. Thatís why viral marketing is so important. Read the book ďThe Tipping PointĒ by Malcolm Gladwell. Another big obstacle facing Christian stations is the ďsense of entitlementĒ in Christian radio stations. Look at your staff. Is there someone there just because they are a Christian and donít provide anything to further the cause?

 

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

Be real, always tell the truth and never be boring. Read Valerie Gellerís books and implement them. Realize that you are not of this world, but for now, you are living in it and should reflect it with the values taught by Jesus. Do your show prep. Beth Bacall, who does middays at STAR 99.1 has a great prep sheet called SHE PREP. Check out www.sheprep.com . Hey, if you are repeating the lyrics of the song you just played, you need to work harder at show prep.

 

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

There are so many that ďget itĒ that Iím kind of afraid of listing any, because the second I push the send button, Iíll think of a couple I forgot to mention. Letís just say that the ones that keep setting the bar higher on themselves and keep working hard to get better.

 

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

Content is king. So are delivery systems like pod casting, internet radio and radio listening via cell phone. With broadcast leaders like our Station Manager, Scott Taylor, weíll see less voice tracking, more focus on entertaining and a greater connection with the listener. I would like to think that when you scan the radio dial, the best sounding, best produced and best marketed radio stations are Christian radio stations. Also, in five years, every Christian radio station will air Looking Up to Number One!!

 

 

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