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Radio Interview

                                     

 

Greg Saunders

MD / PM Drive

WQFL / Rockford

 

Gregs' Career Capsule
Dec. 1990 - hired as Part-time announcer at WQFL
Feb. 1991 - Full-time overnights
Sept. 1991 - Evening host + Saturday "Night Shift" CHR show host
March 1994 - Afternoon host
July '94-March '96 - out of radio 
March '96- Present Afternoon host
March '96-March 2001 - Production Director
March '01- Present - Music Director
 
SAME STATION... 12 YEARS !!!

 
1. How did you get to your current position at WQFL?
 
When I applied to WQFL in the early Fall of 1990 I was the Wisconsin district sales manager for the National Motor Club.  Although I thought I might be used in sales at WQFL I was asked to voice a few commercials for a demo tape.  A few weeks later I heard an ad for part-time weekend on-air help and asked that my application and tape be forwarded to WQFL's Program Director Doug Smith.  Doug (now with Westar Media) had the incredible insight (what vision!) to hire me to facilitate the Sunday evening programming. Currently I enjoy being WQFL's Music Director under Program Director Mike Schlote. 

2. What is the most fulfilling aspect to you personally about Christian radio?
 
Knowing that a single song can touch hundreds, even thousands of people at the same time and encourage them toward good works and godly living.
 
3.How has God used you in your role at WQFL?
 
Personally, I've been able to be kind of a maverick around here... bouncing around ideas left and right and helping to find a concensus among the staff to decide what will work with our audience.  For His purposes I have been blessed with just enough organizational skills to keep good ideas on track and pitch the poor ones in the "Refine For Later" file. 
 
4. What kind of songs work best on WQFL?
 
We really stick to what's popular with the culture at large so that answer changes, sometimes every few months.  Right now a Rock/Rythmic edge gets most of the attention with a hip-hop/urban feel close behind.  Next year maybe big "Michael Bolton" style ballads will be all the craze, or maybe Hard Core Polka Rap (one can only hope).  It's our mission to service our listener with God's word and encouragement through today's popular style of music.

5. What criteria do you use when choosing songs for airplay? 
   

I'll just paste my worksheet for ya (copywrite 2001... hehe)

 

7 Point Criteria for adding new music on Positive Hit Radio 101QFL

Music Director: Greg Saunders

___#1 Lyrical Content - of the song AND the cd from which it comes. One "christian" song on an otherwise trashy cd should not be added.  Listener perception is that we are endorsing this artist and their project.

___#2 Emotional Engagement (aka "The 'Q' Factor") - does this song say something our listeners care about... is this song truley a "101QFL" hit song? At first this is an educated guess by the MD but later becomes apparent with research and reaction. (ex: survey response and phone requests).

___#3 Sing-a-bility - when the listener just can't help but sing along with a catchy chorus, score a point.

___#4 Production Quality - if it competes with the current playlist in overall sonic quality, score.

___#5 Uniqueness - a sound so new OR that has not been used for quite some time that sets the tune apart.

___#6 Pop Appeal - "todays" sound done with an excellence that will appeal to the majority of our audience.

___#7 Star Power - when everybody knows your name they usually want to hear the latest.

Summary: A song must get point #1 before further consideration... 4 total points to be elgible (but not guaranteed) for airplay. Although music selection is highly subjective, these guidelines have proven to be an extreemly helpful reminder of our mission statement:

"101QFL is called of God to nurture and encourage the institution of the Christian family through music, entertainment and information. As all Christians we are also called to be salt and light in the world in which we serve."


6. In your opinion why has Christian music risen in popularity recently?
 
Security. People want to have a feeling of security and the only true security comes from knowing the creator of the universe. Add to that better marketing. More retailers are listening closer and responding better to what their customers want. Having the top Christian titles in Wal-mart doesn't hurt either. 
 
7. How can Christian record labels better serve Christian radio?
 
I think they have been doing a good job, at least where WQFL is concerned, servicing us with singles, asking for and listening to our opinions and being patient with us when "there is just no room for another add this week." If there is a partnership possibility where, perhaps, a group of labels could team with stations in each region of the country to do some extensive song testing / library research type project... I'd be all for that. That might help water down the costs for all parties involved. 
 
8. What in your opinion is the primary role of the Christian radio air personailty today?
 
We try to connect with listener lives. Play their favorite music and be the friend that is always encouraging and giving useful information for daily living. None of us on the air are Pastors or Preachers but we all are, as Christians, ministers of the Good News of Jesus Christ. 

9. What (if any) other Christian radio stations do you consider as inovators today?  
 
I can't say that I follow other Christian radio stations very closely.  I applaud Salem's "Fish" format getting in to the major markets of America and WAY-FM's continued growth proves that they are doing an excellent job of professional broadcasting.  I guess as far as innovators go you can't ignore what Radio U is doing. Their high-quality production and audience interaction is very exciting.
 
10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
 
I pray that we (Christian Radio as a whole) are as respected as any mainstream station (or cluster) in the country. I know there are those that say as long as the Gospel is involved that we can never expect to be accepted or respected, but I disagree.  While the Gospel we carry may be rejected by many, our professionalism in broadcasting it should warrant respect. I believe the "Roaring Lambs" philosophy will continue to grow and impact our world in ways many of us have yet to dream about.
 

 

 

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