I’ve been in and around radio since 1978, and doing some freelance
voice work since 1985. In the 90’s, I worked for about 6 years at
Focus on the Family. While there, I began to create the idea for
doing a unique imaging package for Christian radio stations, that
would not only have promos for the station, but actually have some
creative features with some spiritual meat to it. .
How was the “Airshow” concept born?
something lacking in the direction of Christian radio about 9 years
ago. Stations needed imaging. No mystery there. But I wanted to
develop imaging with some spiritual “meat.” Not just promos saying,
“this is what we do.” But actually GIVE them something deep and
useful right there in the spot. There were many short features- in
which some great speakers and teachers “talked.” And that is ok. And
there was your basic “station imaging” –sweepers, promos and
rejoins. I saw a need to mesh the 2 together. A powerful, sometimes
funny, sometimes hard-hitting, thought provoking sixty or thirty
second feature really grabs the audience. So our monthly package
mixes a lot of those, along with more standard station promos- and
that is the
AIRSHOW. More than just station promos- but way more than simple
“preachy” short features.
2. What are the services you provide Christian
The Airshow Imaging pack has grown to also include
station support promos for non-coms. And of course voice work. That
is part of our package. I do a lot of that. I just get a kick out of
helping stations sound their best. I also do a fair share of
corporate voice work for radio and T.V.
3. How do you coordinate what you do with the
If you mean
coordinating what we create with what the stations are up to, we
listen to PD's and station managers- and even listeners who email
us. With my ear to the ground we are always tweaking the Airshow
package. We try to create a product that can be utilized by the
widest variety of stations. Listening to the stations AND listeners
is the best way to achieve that. Since we can't cover all the bases
for every station, I also give our stations some free custom voice
work every month. This fills in the gap if the Airshow is missing
something specific for their station.
As for production, what do you think are the
characteristics of effective promos?
Believe it or not, it’s not production quality, but
the content of the copy. So an effective promo for a Christian
station often has to be tying in a spiritual message, or a family
message. If you are a Christian station and you have slick sounding
sweepers and rejoins, and you are talking all about what you do for
families, and being positive and sounding the best, BUT you “bleach
out” the spiritual aspect, you are out of touch with your audience.
Period. The main reason people listen to Christian radio is because
it’s "Christian" radio. You don’t have to sound “preachy.” But you
do need to touch them in a spiritual way. The songs are not enough
in my opinion. The audience needs to hear that YOU as a station are
tied in with the message of your songs. Effective imaging promos can
5. Regarding equipment what in your opinion is
essential in the production room?
A good mic and a good mic processor is where it all
starts. BUT, one of the best tools is, believe or not, a big hard
drive. Load as much stuff on the hard drive as you can- sound
effects, sweepers beds etc. Then you can click and drag instead of
ripping them from CD. I have to put a lot into creating effective
spots every day. A hard drive loaded with listener clips, FX, music
beds, and sweepers saves me a lot of time.
6. Can you mention any new production “toys”
that have got your attention?
basic meat and potatoes guy. I don’t go for the newest toys- though
I like to stay up on it. I have a good mic (A Marshall MXL 2003)
A decent mic processor (Symetrix 528E) And Cool Edit (now Adobe
Audition) I bought a good flash recorder months ago. Now listener
interviews are clean and easy. Nothing else on my radar screen
7. What advice can you give Christian radio
management that may not see the importance of “good” production?
Outsource! Good grief, every station thinks they have
to re-invent the wheel every month. So you have hundreds of
production guys struggling to come up with new imaging concepts each
month. Hire our company, or some others like New Life Productions or
Green Eye creative, BUT go that route as much as possible. You’ll
save a lot of money in man-hours and sound better.
8. Describe the thought process of putting a
I start with a wacky, “out of the box” story or
thought. Maybe a strange human interest story. A town that is doing
a tour of their local land fill. A man who bought a frame at a
garage sale and it contained a $100,000 painting. The crazier the
better, then I look for the spiritual angle- or the “family” or
“station promotion” angle.
9. What (if any) Christian radio stations do
you consider as innovators today?
I like stations that best mix a slick professional
sound with the spiritual aspect of Christian Radio. The best one I
can think of is Reach FM Radio Network operating up and down the
Northeast Coast. They do some outreach in the inner city areas.
Giving away coats in the winter, school supplies in the fall and
Christmas gifts at Christmas. And all of it has an evangelism tie
in. They let their audience know that they are involved in the
community. Other stations do that, but the Reach FM is one of the
10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5
I would like to answer it this way. Where would I
like to see Christian radio in 5 years? I think of the mid-80’s
line, “Where’s the beef?” And I think of a lot of Christian
stations. We have gotten slicker, ratings are up, the sound is more
professional than ever, but listen for hours to some and you’ll
notice they have “bleached out” the spiritual aspect. Because some
“experts” told them their audience didn’t want it. Hmm. When I go to
festivals and concerts and churches and stick a mic in front of
hundreds of people and ask what they like about Christian radio,
about 3/4 of them say they like it because it’s “Christian.” They
like the spiritual aspect. And if you probe, they are talking about
MORE than just the music. If you “listen” to the listeners, you’ll
find that the message in the music is not enough. They like the
message in other ways on the station- as long as it does not sound
preachy. They like it coming from the announcers. They like it on
some short features. So, I’d like to see Christian radio be as slick
and professional as possible- without forgetting the spiritual
aspect. I think that is why people like the Airshow features.
Stations have told us for years that some of their most common
positive comments from listeners have to do with “those spiritual
things you air.” Fortunately, the listeners didn’t get the memo that
listeners aren’t supposed to want anything spiritual these days.