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Radio Interview

                                     

Michael Sadowski

APD / MD/ Air Personality

WBGB

Jacksonville, FL.

 

Michael's Career Capsule
1991-1992 WONU 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 Director/announcer]
 

1. What are the events that led you to where you are today and how did you absolutley know God put you there?

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 experience.

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 be.



 

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