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)
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
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
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
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