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Radio Interview

                                     

Ross McCampbell

Asst PD/Midday

WBCL

Ft. Wayne

 

 

Ross's Career Capsule
After graduating from Ohio State, (our web guy had fun with my photo, apologies to #7, Ted Ginn Jr.), I worked on-air, did music research and wrote commercial copy for Salem-owned WRFD in Columbus under Jedi Master Bill DeWees. That was one of the pioneering contemporary Christian music stations in Ohio at the time (mid 1980’s).Then I traveled to east Tennessee and had stints at a couple of secular stations (urban, oldies, country) working on-air, copy writing, programming, production and news. This coming January (2007), I’ll be celebrating 17 years at WBCL (contemporary Christian music) where I’m the Assistant PD and Midday guy. We’re based in Fort Wayne and  broadcast to northeast Indiana, northwest/west central Ohio and southeast Michigan.
 

 

1. Personally how do you keep the ministry in the “business”? 

This was the hardest question for me and the one I answered last. I have a difficult time thinking of it as a business. I understand the question but as a Christ follower, I believe this is what the Lord is calling me to do and I can’t imagine doing anything else and being fulfilled at it.  I don’t have a problem with the “business” as long as it exists to enhance the ministry.  Sometimes I ask myself the following question. Do my consistent tactics/actions/relationships reveal my first love to be God, who happens to have me serving Him via radio or do they reveal radio as my first love, with a format that happens to include mentions of God? I work with some wonderful people with a ministry-first mindset and that helps as well.

 

2. Overall, how is Christian radio different today, from 5 years ago?  

About five years ago, we celebrated the station’s birthday with “25 Stops (in our listening area) for 25 Years.”  At the time we wondered how we could pull off that kind of pace. Our staff looks back at that now and just laughs. It’s no longer enough to occasionally “remind” people about your station. Listeners now have so many choices and live at such a fast pace that you have to get out there often just to let them know you even exist. In turn, that has changed our promotions pace tremendously in five years. I won’t take the time to address changes in technology, music and programming philosophies.

 

3. What do you think are the main characteristics of today’s Christian radio PD? 

As assistant PD, I work closely with our PD Scott Tsuleff and going by his behavior I’d say you have to be parts of each of the following: thinker, tactful, patient, pastor, prophet, humorous, open, brother in Christ and tuna-eater. Except for that last annoying trait, why do you think I’ve been here for 17 years?

 

4. What criteria do you require for a song to be played on your station?

Probably not new information to anyone reading this but we take into consideration the Biblical accuracy of the lyrics, the quality of the vocals and music production, our research, how well the song fits the style of our format and how it’s doing at other stations.

 

5. What kind of promotions work best for Christian radio?

We’re still learning what works best with our listeners and what doesn’t. There are so many types of promotions with different sets of goals for each type that it’s too difficult to give a blanket answer.

 

6. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve Christian radio?

We choose not to be a reporting station to a trade publication and in the past it seemed (and maybe it wasn’t deliberate) that we were being penalized for that choice. However, things are really improving in terms of being promptly supplied with music and  in cooperation with promotions.

 

7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio today?

The production quality of the music is finally as good as anything out there. Arbitron results in many markets indicate that the general population overall seems to consider us as a viable option on their radio and no longer something of sub-par quality to snicker at.  Plus, we offer a life-changing message of eternal value. I sometimes think we might be our own obstacles. Do we run and hide from the ever-changing radio landscape or do we seek and embrace new methods that work and “press on toward the mark?”

 

8. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian radio air personality?

Know who you are first and then keep learning and practicing how to best convey who you are to your listeners. Your listeners then get to know and connect with you and not you doing your best impersonation of someone else in the industry. All of this is of course, in the context of the primary role for a Christian---love God with all you’ve got and love others (on and off the air). This takes a lifetime to learn and practice.

 

9. What (if any) Christian radio stations do you consider as innovators today?

To be honest, it takes enough time for me to try and stay on top of what we’re doing that I wouldn’t be qualified to answer this one.

 

10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?

When I first started in radio, I predicted that compact discs would replace cassettes and eventually records. I quit while I was ahead in the prediction-making department.  I do have a hunch that this internet thing may catch on. 

 

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