Kankakee/Chicagoland, IL [announcer],1992-1995 KECC Springfield,
MO [PD, announcer],1994-1996 WCFL-FM Morris/Chicagoland, IL
[announcer],1996-2000 WBGL FM Champaign, IL [Music
Director/announcer], 2000-Present WBGB-FM 106.5 The
Promise, Jacksonville, FL [Assistant Program Director & Music
1. What are the events that led you to
where you are today and how did you absolutley know God put you
I've known since I was in high
school that some form of media would be my career. I used to be
abaseball fan, and growing up in Chicago I wanted Harry Caray's
job. I thought I could pronounce names better than he did!
Always being eager to learn has enabled me to come as far as I
have. And I'm not done learning yet! I don't think I ever will
be. Plus, being a hard worker that's willing to do things that
are "uncomfortable" and listening to the wisdom of those who've
"been there, done that" has helped me become what I am today. I
owe it all to God, and I thank him for putting me in places
where I've been able to learn from the best in the industry.
Plus, I *literally* started at the bottom and worked my way up.
My first full-time gig was overnight announcer. I held that
position for 1 1/2 years! Those were not the most fun years of
my life, that's for sure...but it sure did help me learn and
grow. From overnights I went on to evenings for 2 1/2 years, and
now I've been holding down afternoon drive for 2 years. In my
mind, I'll always be "paying dues." No job is "below me." I'll
do whatever I'm called to do. No, overnights will not be my
"first choice" in the future, but if it's where God wants me,
I'll go. Working at a commercial station has really changed me
as a person, too. I had only worked at non-commercial
"ministry-oriented" stations in the past. While I wouldn't trade
those experiences for the world, I know that working here at The
Promise has molded me into a different broadcaster and
programmer. There is quite the difference between a
non-commercial and commercial radio station (at least to me).
2. What do you think is the current state of Christian
radio.....(and where is it going) ?
I think the phrase I'll use has
become almost a cliche' in the CCM radio industry, but it's
true: "Christian radio is so much better today than it was, say,
5-10 years ago." It's true, but I'm not satisfied with where we
are now. In my opinion, there is still a long way to go for
Christian music radio. I'm excited to be a part of that growing
process, too. One thing I think Christian music radio stations
are starting to catch on to is that the ultimate goal of many
stations, which is doing great "ministry" on the air goes
hand-in-hand with doing great radio first. I like to borrow a
phrase that my current PD Gary Walsh told me when I first
arrived in Jacksonville [parphrasing]: "I'd go so far as to say
that doing great radio first ultimately glorifies God. Using
radio, and using it well to reach the unchurched/churched is
truly glorifying to God." The philosophy of "giving listeners
what they want, not what the PD 'thinks' they want" is also
catching on across the country, and all that does is benefit our
industry as a whole. All that to say "There's a lot more work to
be done!" And I think in many ways, we're on the right track.
I've learned from some of whom I consider the best in the
business, like Doug Hannah (WAY-FM), Gary Walsh, and John Frost
(Audience Development Group) and others, and the fact that each
of them took the time to help & tutor a young broadcaster like
me has meant a great deal to me. I aspire to someday reach the
level of knowledge they've acquired through many years of
3.What is unique about the
Jacksonville market that most people would not know?
One thing I've learned is that there is a vast majority of
people in this city that have never heard of Christian music or
its artists. You'd think that down here in the "Bible Belt" that
CCM music would be commonplace. But that's not necessarily true,
especially here in Jacksonville. At times I catch myself
flippantly throwing out artist nicknames or "industry jargon,"
not realizing that there is a large number of people who may be
either listening for the first time, or who've never heard of us
before, and are saying "Huh?" or "Who?" There has never been a
strong Christian music radio station in town until The Promise
came along in late 1999. Jacksonville residents here are growing
weary of hearing "blue humor" on the radio, and aren't satisfied
with their children listening to something that promotes bad
behavior/worldly values. Our popular positioning statement is
"We're the radio station that's safe for the whole family." Our
work in this city is cut out for us. There are so many choices
on the radio, and we're trying to be that one station that Mom,
Dad, and their 2.4 kids can all enjoy together. And being that
choice has more to do with how we do radio than it does just
picking the right songs each week.
4. How do you prepare for your afternoon drive show each day?
spirtually, emotionally etc.?
Before each shift (Weekdays, 3pm
EST to 7pm EST) I really try to get in touch with what "Kim"
(our target) is interested in/needs to know. Because I'm a
29-year-old married male with no children, it can be pretty
difficult for me to find information that I can read and then
say "This is something Kim cares about," it's a challenge that
keeps me going every day. I try to picture what Kim is doing
during afternoon drive, and I've discovered she wants something
safe, informative, and fun. She's more concerned with taking her
kids to dance & soccer practice, picking up posterboard at
WalGreens for her teen's English class, and making sure the beef
from the freezer is defrosted in time for the meatloaf &
potatoes dinner she needs to shove in the oven in time for
dinner that night. "Kim" needs something that she feels okay
about leaving on the radio in the car with her kids, and also
won't be embarrassed by should she have to take a co-worker home
after work that day. I try to make sure my "head is on straight"
before I open up the mic. The Promise is a mainstream commercial
radio station that plays Christian music and is seeker-friendly,
so I make sure that I'm able to relate to everybody, not just
the station fans or the "churched."
5.What is the greatest impact
you would like your station to have on Jacksonville?
I would hope that The Promise will continue to impact families
in the city & surrounding areas. We've already seen some of the
fruits of our labor. Sold-out events featuring Steven Curtis
Chapman, Avalon, Amy Grant and other community events prove to
us that we are filling a definite need in this community. Our
numbers show that we share 40% of our listeners with other
secular/mainstream stations in Jacksonville, and while that's an
encouragement to us, we're not content. It's our hope that those
who might never even consider sampling a station that plays
Christian music will continue to give us a try, and hopefully
allow us to provide a safe haven for them as they (hopefully)
attempt to either further or begin their walk with Christ.
6.Has you station done any
unique or exciting promotions you would like to relate to us?
I can think of two, specifically.
The first was our Marriage Vow Renewal Ceremony at Jacksonville
Beach this past Valentine's Day. This was the first time The
Promise put this event on, and we were overwhelmed with the
response. The right atmosphere, the right speaker/minister, the
right games, and an overflow crowd led to quite the successful
event. The second was the Amy Grant promotional tour. Tickets
were only available at three locations in Jacksonville, and in a
matter of days all the tickets were gone. Amy took the time to
do a live interview with us, and the evening with she & her band
was the intimate, free, fun, and inspiring event we'd hoped it'd