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Radio Interview

Scott Taylor
 

Station Manager

 

WAWZ

 

New York
 

To contact Scott click here
 

Scott's Career Capsule
My career has centered in and around the NYC metropolitan area. While in college, in 1979, I hooked up with Bruce Morrow of 77 WABC fame, and helped his company – Sillerman Morrow Broadcast Group – put two stations on the air in North Jersey and Poughkeepsie, NY. In ’83 I went to work for Greater Media at their New Brunswick, NJ facility – WMGQ - to do afternoons before moving to mornings in ’87. Then in 1994 I came to Inspo WAWZ to do mornings. I added PD stripes in 2000 and helped launched STAR 99.1 early in 2003. Later that year I ended a 24 year run on the air and moved into the Station Manager’s office. I also spent a couple of years shuttling back and forth between NY and Cincinnati as Interim GM for Pillar of Fire’s WAKW. I also serve on the Executive Board of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association.  

 

1. How has WAWZ evolved over the last few years?

A couple of barometers; first “on-air.” We’ve grown to three HD channels, three distinct websites, producing major arena concert events, vibrant community partnerships for lasting impact, increase in audience and, specifically, dramatic increase in Women 25-54 and Women 35-44 in the NY metro.

Secondly, “off air.” The increase in audience continues to drive our staff to excellence. Some departments have been remarkably stable. Being together, and being able to develop history, has created a family atmosphere – and a singular mindset to consider “what’s next?”

While we’ve seen growth in audience and revenue, I think everyone at STAR, from the air staff to the Promotions Dept to Donor Development, Sales, Engineering, Events and the un-sung hero’s of the Business Office see in very tangible ways the way this format impacts the lives of our listeners. 

 

2. Has WAWZ made any changes due to economic situation, been affected in any way?

We did see a drop in some areas, and surprisingly an increase (!) in others. Overall, we’re slightly down but the team has rallied to the challenge. The 2008 Sharathon is one of my favorite stories in the relatively brief six-year history of STAR 99.1. The short version; at the conclusion or our December 2008 sharathon we were at $1.7 mil. Our goal was $2.75. Still a long way off. The following week I spoke to the staff in Chapel, and shared that in my devotions and Scripture reading the previous week-end  - and in the midst of asking God “why?” - I kept coming across the words “trust me.” After the Christmas break we planned for another three-day sharathon, on January 15, 16 & 17, and went into a season of prayer. The response from listeners was overwhelming; we made up the difference and surpassed the goal by $100,000. Our PPM numbers for that week showed the highest cume in the station’s history to that point. That week was a watermark for us in many ways; and we’ve seen steady increase in weekly cume since then. God is good.  

 

3. How is New York a unique Christian market?

NY is a unique market – never mind a unique Christian market. Things are amped up a bit here… time is more precious, people are more driven, money and success are more important, this area leads the nation in density and there is great diversity in the culture. Happily, that diversity is also evident in The Church. In a culture where everything is within walking distance or accessible by car, bus or train, it’s interesting to see people recognize – perhaps more than ever - they are missing something. Hope has been a big focus for us the past nine months, and it’s a theme that resonates with our listeners. 

I’ve been in this metropolitan area all my life and love the entire fabric of this region. At the end of the day though, people are people; they’re lost without that personal relationship with Christ. Right now there is a great appetite for hope. It is our great privilege to serve the radio listeners of this region and invite them into the greater story of God, and the hope of Christ, with great music and terrific air talent.    

 

4. How valuable is an active morning show to Christian radio?

Active shows, personalities that are “fore-front” and engaging listeners, are vital to the success of radio. Not just active morning shows, but active shows across all day-parts. And I believe “live” is key; not only talking “at” listeners between the songs but talking “to” listeners about the things that are happening now, at this moment that effect their lives and bringing them into the conversation.

Some of us can remember when there were just a handful of different formats on the radio dial and TV networks…long before we were looking to our 800 cable channels, a billion websites, mobile satellite, iPods, iPhones or Blackberry’s for entertainment. (Come on, fess up…who else thought getting a “vanity URL” through AOL was the ultimate in world wide web presence!) People have so many choices. If we can remember we’re here to serve they’ll continue to listen.

I believe STAR 99.1 – and this region – are truly blessed. Johnny and Stacey Stone, Beth Bacall, Keith Stevens, Dave Moore, George Flores, Dawn Wheeler, David A Dein, Izzy Knight – these guys are the best. I know the level of their dedication and earnest desire of their hearts to reach people. I wish these guys were in every market. Actually…

 

5. How important are ratings to the success of WAWZ?

Important… maybe as important, but not more important, than “mission.” We are in “broadcasting,” our obligation to the FCC is to serve the greatest number of people. We actively pursue, through our programming, promotions, events, marketing, donor and business development, to serve as many as possible so that we can build relationships. We also have a fiduciary responsibility to the Board as well for the financial obligations of the station. Ratings enables all of it. 

 

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

If I can be so bold, by not contributing to our demise with onerous fees. Broadcasters in this country serve a vital public service. Christian broadcasters contribute at an even higher level of service that I think is un-matched. The “Performance Rights Act” legislation currently running through Congress represents a major threat to our survival. It will eliminate any margins that do exist, drive virtually every music station into a position they will be unable to recover from, jeopardize the level of public service each station can afford to offer when the need is most critical and will likely drive many local radio stations off the air.  

 

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

I’ll speak to music radio; in addition to the threat of fees mentioned above, the attitude that radio is an obsolete medium.  That attitude will, over time, permeate to the listeners, supporters and advertisers. Radio is very strong in terms of listener loyalty and the role it plays in the fabric of life. Conversely, as radio operators we can’t be complacent or ignorant of opportunities to build relationships with listeners. Radio has always had amazingly creative people in its ranks. We need to continue to cultivate that talent and then incorporate additional “delivery pipelines” to our model to meet listeners where they are; whether that’s terrestrial, Internet or mobile.    

 

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

Connect with and serve your listener.

 

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

You asked about stations. Let me take the question a step further; any owner, operator, manager, programmer, air talent, engineer, producer, book-keeper who hasn’t thrown in the towel – and is willing to show up, determined to serve and give and succeed. These people have my undying affection. They are the innovators. What we’re seeing today in broadcasting; the regulatory climate, the growth in other mass media, the shift in listener (consumer) behavior…I haven’t seen conditions like this in my 30 years. But Christian music radio is now more important than ever. We’ve got a message that sustains people in times like these. Do not grow weary.

 

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

Same as where I saw it six years ago – the last time you asked me!  Hopefully not content, but still hungry to grow and serve.

 

 

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