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Radio Interview

                                     

Paul Martin

Music Director

WMBW

Chattanooga

 

 

Paul's Career Capsule
After graduating with a Communications degree in college in Oklahoma, I went to Fort Worth, TX to attend seminary.  While in the area, I got my first radio job, KNRB.  It was a great place to learn the ropes.  I also worked briefly at KCBI before going to work at Josh McDowell's radio program.  Missing the on-air role, I took a position as evening announcer at KJLY in Blue Earth, MN.  Later, I was moved to afternoons, then made a long-distance move to where I am now, Moody's Chattanooga station, WMBW.  We also broadcast on WFCM in Nashville and WMKW in Crossville, TN.  Our coverage area extends from around Nashville, down to Marietta in the north part of Atlanta.

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

Because of our coverage area, our market extends from the northern suburbs of Atlanta to Nashville.  In between, you've got small cities, large towns, and some rural area.  So, when doing a promotion, we need to keep in mind several types of listeners. For instance, we're still finding quite a few of our listeners don't have internet access, so we make sure to provide an address in contests, etc.  Additionally, the people of Chattanooga seem to be a very generous community.  Our listeners have really gotten behind some of the missions-type projects we've done.

 

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

When I hear that someone has grown in their relationship to God by listening to the station.  I enjoy entertaining, having fun, and building relationships.  But, I feel we've fallen short if somehow, through that, we haven't pointed people to God.

 

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

One way I do that is by reminding myself Who I'm doing this for.  I need to be in the Word, in that relationship with Him, so that out of the heart, flows the right kind of wellsprings.  I enjoy using fun bits on the air, but try to make sure and balance those with some element of scripture.  Additionally, good conversations with well-grounded friends, people who are real "brothers in Christ" who help me to press on.

 

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

A familiar grid to many: Does it fit our demo musically? Are the lyrics Biblically solid?  Does the lifestyle of the artist, as known, reflect Biblical character?  From a production-value standpoint, is it on par with the rest of our catalog?

 

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

We've enjoyed lots of fun promotions with our listeners.  A few years ago, we had our 30th anniversary.  We had remotes throughout the listening area and gave away tons of CD's, books, and yes, birthday cake!  One of the most remarkable for us is the Shoes for Orphan Souls project, along with Buckner Orphan Care International, where listeners are encouraged to give new shoes and socks for orphans around the world.  Over the past few years, we've continued to grow in the amount of shoes given, so that last year, we received almost 10,000 pairs of shoes and 65,000+ pairs of socks.   US Express, a trucking company based in this area, donated a semi-truck and driver to deliver them to Dallas.  This was with about 85 different volunteer drop-off locations around our region.  This year, we've gotten over 125+ locations already, so it should be exciting to see what God does through our listeners!  Over and over, what I hear makes this happen is that our listeners are able to get personally involved in a missions project.  They buy shoes as they purchase school clothes for their own kids and grandkids, they know a Russian orphan who's been adopted and give shoes in their honor, they pray over the shoes before they bring them to us and write notes to the kids....it's just been amazing to watch!

 

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

I have been very impressed with what the labels have been doing over the past few years, really seeming to ramp up ways to serve the radio stations with singles, giveaways, etc.  By way of encouragement, please keep providing great music.  Find ways to encourage artists in their growth, not just professionally, but spiritually.  Sometimes, I have noticed, as a technical note, some singles have already been compressed & equalized to bring a certain "sound"...when you open up the file in an editor, it looks like one big block...not variety.  Unfortunately, by the time the song gets compressed again for our audio system, processed and modulated before broadcast, it sounds terrible.  We've passed on a few singles because of this.

 

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

One of the biggest obstacles is ourselves!  Are we continuing to hone our skills, sound, promotions, etc. to keep in touch with our listeners, or have we become complacent, just rehashing what's worked before?  Satellite radio will be a big challenge, but I think there will always be room for good local content.  We have to provide something worth tuning into.  Of course, the ipod phenomenon is something to keep in mind.  What can Christian radio provide that an ipod can't?  Relationship.

 

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

Personally, I think the personality should be the guy or gal you feel like is a friend.  As a Christian radio personality, the job is to be a trusted friend, a "safe" friend, and one that reflects the Savior.  The Holy Spirit is described as a paraclete, one who comes alongside.  In a way, we should be like that paraclete, coming alongside our listener to encourage them to look to Him.

 

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

I see touches of innovation throughout the industry.  As I read the trades, websites, etc. I'm encouraged and humbled to see the creativity God has blessed so many people in this industry with.  I read what's being done and think, "Wow!  Wish I'd thought of that!" 

 

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

In some ways, not drastically different than what we've got now.  We'll have some that are trying out the latest technology, other's riding their coattails, all trying to find a way to provide good ministry with whatever resources God has provided for their field.  What I would love to see, is Christian radio taking the lead in creativity and innovation over "mainstream" media...but only if we can use that as a platform for ministry.

 

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