raised in Syracuse, NY, Mark received college degrees in
Communications and Musical Performance with a concentration in
Voice. He has worked at the Mars Hill Network for 21 years
starting out on the overnights in 1989. Hosted afternoon drive
for 7 years and moved to the morning show in late 2001.
Currently, Mark is heard on Middays from 9:00AM – 12:30PM. Mark
makes his home in Fairmount, NY and is married with two
children. Mark currently serves as Program Director and
Director of Ministry Relations at Mars Hill and still finds time
to sing for the Lord.
evolved over the last few years?
the necessary changes in technology, our format has changed
dramatically over the past 4 to 5 years. We have slowly gone
from a very conservative music format to more of an INSPO/AC
format. We found a need to clear out much of our drive times
for more music/information in the morning and more music
intensive for the ride home. Additionally, with day parting we
are playing more “progressive” cuts.
current social and political situation and the speed with which
news and changing we have created a News Director position and
have expanded our news coverage both on the local and regional
level. It has become very important for our listeners to be up
to date on what is happening locally, state-wide, and nationally
and to know that we are not slanting the coverage.
2. Has Mars Hill Network
made any changes due to economic situation, been affected in any
The Lord has
been so faithful that we have made very few changes to our
operations and are actually going ahead with some expansion
plans. Our support has dropped a bit but God’s people realize
the importance of Christian radio and the part it plays in
broadcasting the Good News as well as helping ministries riase
awareness of their work and mission.
3. How does
connect locally with markets?
We have a ministry team that has wheels and will travel! Our
team often fills the pulpit for vacationing pastors or churches
which are looking for a new pastor. We do many special events
throughout our listening area sometimes traveling 3 hours or
more to minister. On the air we have localized promos and
underwriting for each station. We also have market–specific
programming at each of our stations a couple times each week.
Each station has their own Sunday morning church service from a
local church. These are some ways that we are able to reach out
to our local audiences.
4. What criteria do you require for a song to be played on your
We have a fairly strict policy regarding our music. Our music
director submits cuts to a 3 person music committee who listens
to each song carefully. We ask questions we like:
Is it biblical? Does this song have
a clearly Christian message? Does the musical setting fit the
lyrics? Are the words clearly presented? Is there excessive
repetition. We also consider the testimony of the artist. Are
they living for Christ? It becomes a question of quality over
quantity. A lot of stuff doesn’t get on the air to the tune, as
it were, of about 90%.
5. What kind of promotions work best for Christian radio?
We have done
some neat things recently with the local AHL hockey team and
triple A baseball teams by sponsoring a “Faith and Family
Night”. These have been really well received. We have
extensive children’s programming and have recently partnered
with Word of Life Camp and gave away 4 week long “camperships”.
We have been doing more web based contests which has driven more
traffic to our website. We also partner with local churches in
bringing national artists in for concerts with big promotional
pushes. We have created “PEAK Partners” a way of getting our
information out to the general public at several commercial
locations. P E A K stands for Partners Effectively Advancing the
Kingdom of God. This has worked very well for us.
6. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve
I am very pleased with the way the record companies have come
online by offering music for download for the stations. Music
can be available so quickly now and is extremely accessible.
This is one area that our music director would be better at
answering as the technology has changed so much in the past 6
years since I was the music director.
7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing
Christian radio today?
I think the biggest obstacles to Christian radio are seen by the
general public as being to THEIR advantage. Ipods, mp3 players
and smart phones allow people to create their own playlists
while programmers make their daily and weeklies available for
download as podcasts on the web. More and more people are not
listening to the radio at all. This diminishes the value of the
on air signal and creates less donorship on the part of
listeners. It can and will hurt all of radio as we know it.
8. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian
radio air personality?
Radio personalities are what set us apart from ipods and smart
phones. Our personalities become friends to the listener. We
offer the caring human touch. Sometimes funny, often
challenging, but we always are inviting as if to say to the
listener “you are welcome here.” Announcers are more than just
“jocks” introducing a song or reading a script, we want them to
be “real” and offer them an opportunity to share brief thoughts
with our listeners. I’ve created hat I call “Seed Breaks.”
These are short breaks where the announcer shares some spiritual
truth through some real-life experience. They’ve become quite
effective in sowing seeds.
9. What (if any) Christian radio stations do you consider as
enjoyed Family Life Network out of Bath, NY I think they do a
great job. K-Love, although they lack local content and
presence, do a wonderful job reaching the younger demographic
with music teens and 20’s can relate to.
10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
I think we need
to further embrace the internet with our own alternate audio
streams as well as podcasts of specific dayparts so they become
available when people have the time to listen. Radio has to
become more aggressive overall to focus on localism. People
respond more when they know you are talking to them and you are
the local guy in town. Personalities have got to be seen more
at public events and stations have to do a better job of
“branding’ themselves so they are easily recognizable. We have a
lot of growing to do in the marketplace because my fear is that
in the next five years we are struggling, among the masses, to
be heard at all.