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Radio Interview


Ken Farley

Founder/President 

Hit Music Research & AmpedCreative

Nashville

 

To contact Ken click here
 

Ken's Career Capsule
Ken Farley spent fourteen years at KOKF/OKC, twelve of them as PD, before moving to Nashville in 2000 to work as Director of Promotions for ForeFront Record for two years. In 2002 he helped program WCFL/Chicago and also partnered with Jeremy Gonzalez to get AmpedCreative off the ground, a company that he bought out two years later. In 2003 Ken launched Hit Music Research and also began helping consult WNAZ/Nashville which lasted through the end of 2007. Hit Music Research provides  online music research services exclusively for the Christian music industry. AmpedCreative is the home of a variety ol nationally syndicated programs including The Weekend 22 (CHR), The Weekend Top 20 Countdown (AC), The ZRock Radio Revolution (Rock), Music News, (60 daily news feature) The Hype Radio Network (Hip-Hop & R&B) and their newest partnership with The Real ĖďInside The Music-Outside The NormĒ that features candid conversations with artists talking every day life issues. Ken resides in Brentwood, TN with his wife and three children. (his youngest, Kayla, pictured)

 

1. How has Christian radio evolved the last few years? 

I think Christian radio continues to step up itís efforts to serve listeners better by paying more attention to not only what they program on the air but also how they go about doing it.  And recognizing the fact that it not just about trying to get listeners to make an appointment to stop by and pay a visit, itís also about making the effort to figure out how you can best meet them where theyíre at too. 

 

2. Due to economic situation how has Christian radio been affected compared to other (mainstream) formats? 

It sounds like radio formats across the board are having to tighten their belts in some way, whether itís trimming budgets, cutting back on staff or delaying the acquisition of new purchases.  While executives at mainstream commercial outlets are scrambling behind the scenes to deal with drops in ad revenue,  probably many Christian radio stations end up being more public and vocal about their financial situation because theyíre non-commercial and rely heavily on listener donations to stay on the air. 

 

3. Why in your opinion arenít more broadcast owners (large, CC etc) programming CCM?  

I think most Christian radio stations are programmed by people and organizations that have a passion for the format and believe in itís ability to touch lives. For them, itís not as much about the bottom line (though of course thatís important) as it is about impacting the lives of people.  Between the fact that the Christian music format is unfamiliar to many in mainstream radio, they may not be comfortable with the message associated with it, and probably donít see much potential for a significant return on their investment, most choose to stick with what they know and whatís been  proven to work for them.   

 

4. Describe the characteristics of the ideal Christian radio Programmer? 

Intuitive, passionate, teachable, observant, visionary, team player, loyal, good listener, dependable, a servant leaderÖ.. things like that come to mind.

 

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

The ones that genuinely engage listeners in a relevant way.  You donít necessarily have to be giving away a large prize or cash to make it compelling, and some times the intangible things money canít buy work the best.   One of the most memorable promotions we did on The Weekend 22 and The Weekend Top 20 Countdown was around Matthew Westís song ďSomething To SayĒ.  Listeners were asked to call up and share whatever was on their mind. Whether it was serious, funny, it didnít matterÖ just let it rip, and we would pick some of them to air on the next show.  When I went online to check our voicemail at one point we were getting hundreds of calls in a span of minutes from listeners all over the country leaving messages.  It was huge, and what made it so effective was people had the chance to not only express themselves but also be an encouragement to others in the process.  We knew it was truly connecting with people when pretty quickly we started having listeners leaving messages in response to  messages they heard from other listeners.  What was supposed to be a two week promotion turned into something we carried on for the next month and a half.  It wasnít about how great the music was or how cool the host sounded.. it was about and for the listeners.  We did a similar promotion with ďIím Letting GoĒ from Francesca Battistelli that worked extremely well too, where  listeners shared what they were letting go of in their lives.  It was very encouraging to hear people be transparent and inspire and motivate others to consider what they may need to let go of in their lives too.

 

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

Gosh.. I think the labels are doing a pretty good job with the staff and resources they have at their disposal.  Whenever I have the chance to chat with anyone working at a label, theyíre always looking for ways to stay on top of things and take care of the stations that they work with.  They take their job and responsibilities very seriously.  And with the growth of digital single sales and decline of album sales, now more than ever labels are having to more carefully assess each and every song that is selected to be put on a record and serviced to radio. 

 

7. In your opinion what are the advantages/disadvantages of syndicated programming in Christian radio? 

Some of the advantages would be quality plug n play programming that helps fill a need or gap in a stationís schedule,  access to talent and content that maybe a station canít  provide otherwise, and save them time and money from having to create  programs themselves.   I always hope that the programming content we provide through AmpedCreative will compliment what stations are already doing throughout the week.  As far as disadvantages, uhhhhhhh really canít think of any, outside of the fact that on occasion it might make it easier for some stations to not take the initiative to do some things on their own with the talent and resources they have at their disposal. 

 

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

To be a relevant, effective communicator with listeners, whether you feel called to entertain, minister or do both. 

 

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

Hopefully thriving and connecting with more people.  But I think that down the road itís going to take more than just playing great songs and having solid personalities on the air to be successful.  Between the internet, ipods, and everything else at oneís disposal, itís pretty easy for just about anyone to create their own ďradio stationĒ.  I think one of the questions to ask is what are you going to bring to the table that people canít get anywhere else and compels them to spend time with you on a regular basis?  Things will only continue to get more fragmented as new technology and the programming that comes along with it competes for everyoneís attention. I truly believe that the biggest threat and blessing for local terrestrial radio will be high quality streaming via wifi and the internet.  People are already streaming radio stations on their phone and itís only a matter of time before high speed internet access in your car will be common place.  Forget satellite radio.  At that point itís going to pretty much make it a level playing field thatís wide open for anyone and everyone to take advantage of or be a victim of this new frontier.  No longer will you be limited by your geographic location to enjoy live and local radio.  

 

 

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