PD / PM Drive
WBVM / Tampa
I first cracked a
mic at WCIE, Lakeland, FL in 92 working on their Saturday Nite
Alternative show...from there I moved to overnights and after a
brief evening stint at WDYL in Richmond, I returned to WCIE in
late 94 as co-host of the "Morning Good Guys" and MD. The
station was sold in 96 to satisfy church debts and from there
I worked briefly in commercial radio at WQYK-Tampa (country),
moved to WBVM as MD/Evenings from 97-99. Took a break
and produced "Cafe Video" on Pax TV for 3 years. Recently
returned to WBVM as PD/Afternoon Drive August 02.
1. How did you know without
a doubt God would use you in Christian radio?
I had absolutely no idea,
honestly. I always loved radio and grew up on Gary Owens and
Wink Martindale as a young kid and "John Boy & Billy"
throughout my teens. While in college, I stood outside the
doors of WCIE in Lakeland and told God that I thought I could
do it and if he would open the doors, I would serve Him
there. I forgot about that prayer for 3 years
and didn't understand it had been answered until Rick Thomas
offered me a full time gig my during my last semester.
I'm still completely surprised and genuinely humbled when
people share how they've been affected through the ministry
that God has blessed me with.
2. What is the most fulfilling aspect to you personally
about Christian radio?
Radio in general offers an immediate outlet for "the creative
moment." Though I think and plan much more than I did as a
rookie, I'm taken by notion of the intimate immediacy of
radio. Christian radio offers that with the enhancement
of spiritual spontaniety, the ability to speak directly to the
heart of an issue and to offer the listener more than "well,
sorry about that...stinks to be you, I guess."
3.How has your role as PD
changed over the last few years?
I have to confess until coming on at Spirit, I've been the
armchair PD. So while I can't speak to that question
specifically, I would say the biggest personal difference
between this position and past roles has been the added
responsibility to work with my team and to ascertain how best
to take advantage of their native abilites, strengthen
weaknesses, and see them succeed while growing the ministry as
a whole. On a more practical level, technical advances have
affected every position in radio dramatically. Multiple
tasks can be completed quickly. Consequently, more output
is expected than ever before and more hats are being worn by
one person. Keeping up with it all is a huge struggle.
(Anyone see my music index cards anywhere?)
4. How does someone balance
their life in the demanding field of radio?
Anyone have a clue I could borrow? By nature, I am not
a disciplined person but I'm finding more stability in planned
action and routine than in reactionary living. Let's face it,
with small staffs and the opportunistic nature of radio,
routine is tough to stick to but absolutely crucial when
balancing our personal walk with Christ, relationships with
spouses and friends, ministry, and outside interests. My time
is more limited than ever before so I'm striving to prioritize
carefully. On the lightside, MAKE TIME TO HAVE FUN with
non-radio related hobbies. I fish frequently and my latest
passion has been paintball. Form friendships that don't
revolve around your job and find friends that don't
care how great you sounded on your show last week; people with
whom you can let down and truly fellowship with. An early
pitfall for me was tying up my identity with my position.
Identify yourself as a child of God, fully acceptable,
forgiven and loved. Nothing else will make it through the
5. You've recently signed Sean Caldwell on to be your
station voice.....how important is imaging to Christian radio?
Imaging is everything...that's
why we hired Sean. Spirit FM is a station in transition,
striving to break through the "its good enough for church
work" mentality. I'm tightening up the music, getting rid of
program blocks, but the imaging is the signature of the
station. In the Tampa market, over 50 stations vie for ratings
with 6 programming some type of Christian format. We have to
cut through and sound successful. Strong imaging goes a long
way in the battle to stand apart. I've always been impressed
with WAY-FM's imaging in Christian broadcasting
and what Clearchannel does in this market is unsurpassed. Back
to Sean and the work we're doing here. The other day, a
longtime listener commented, "Wow, you guys sound
legitimate." That says it all.
6. When searching for new CCM radio on air talent what
do you look for?
I'm a big proponent of personality. There are many solid
voices in CCM radio these days but it seems like I hear mucho
liner card jocking (in my opinion). I want polish and
discipline but more than anything I want a person who
can participate in the "great conversation"...someone who
takes a prepsheet and turns into more than a laundry list of
Christian artist gossip. My current hero is Glenn Beck, a
former FM morning show guy. Glenn is syndicated on premiere
and puts on a show that is well-informed, compelling and
hilarious to no end. I don't mind if talent doesn't have Jon
Rivers pipes if they're quick on the draw and creative. They
should have a grip on mainstream culture and be able address
it from a Christian worldview that isn't mutually exclusive.
With a young talent, I want to push the idea of word economy
but not quash the creative moment or turn them vanilla.
7. What type of on-air
promotions work best for your station in the Tampa market?
I don't know that a certain promotion works better in Tampa
than say, Seattle. Our objectives are to reward and
involve the listener, to sound interactive, and to increase
time spent listening. We tailor our promotions to include as
many listeners as possible. Rather than fly 4 listeners to
the VEGGIE tales premiere in Nashville, we rented a movie
theater and had a private screening the day it opened for 350
people. For the WOW 2003 CD Brick, we've started a
"listen to win" artist of the day registration contest with
multiple registrations rather than ask trivia questions.
Rather than include 30 registrants, we've included a couple
hundred people in a manner that demands more TSL. Our
listeners feel like they actually have a chance.
8. What advice do you have
for someone wanting to be a Christian radio personality? how
to get started, where to learn, etc
Pray, show up...and keep coming back. Everyone's path is
different. College is an avenue but most of the guys I know
went to a local station and banged on the door until someone
opened it. Once you get a chance it's all about persistence
and passion. Persist in developing your talent even when no
one seems to care...many times they don't but God does and he
sees. Take jobs that stink and acquire a taste for Ramen
noodles and Cheese food product. Be passionate about the
craft and listen to everything on the air that reeks
of success. So much of what I believe about radio and
programming, comes from listening and watching successful
9. What (if any) other Christian radio stations do you
consider as inovators today?
I think WAY-FM has always been an innovator and continues to
be so...particularly as it relates to music philosophy and
personality. I don't know Doug Hannah personally, but I've
been impacted by his articles. Salem has found a way to make
Christian radio rise to the top by employing common sense in
programming. Though I personally fear the homogenization of
the medium, I can't deny the results.
10. Where do you see
Christian radio in 5 years?
"...with two turntables and microphone" (just kidding) I
see the obvious: Christian radio becoming a commercial success
and an acceptable programming option to more mainstream
conglomerates. The question becomes, "What will Christian
radio mean in 5 years?" In many ways, we have become an
institution intent on self preservation for our own sake. If
Christian radio in 5 years means that less stations exist but
more people are being reached, then we're going to have to
make peace with that. If it means less intent ministry and
just another lifestyle choice, I'm not sure we can make peace
© Copyright 2002