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Radio Interview

                                     

Scott Tsuleff

Executive Director

WBCL

Ft. Wayne

 

 

Scott's Career Capsule
I graduated from Ball State University in 1980 with a degree in Radio, Television and Motion Pictures.  From 1980 to 1984 I was employed by WMEE & WQHK in Ft. Wayne, first as a news reporter and anchor on both stations and then as co-host of the morning show on WMEE.  In 1984 I followed my desire to get into Christian radio and took a job with WBCL as host of the afternoon show from 3 to 6.  A short time later I was given the responsibilities of music director and program director.  23 years later I still host the afternoon show and still have those MD and PD. responsibilities, though my official title is now Associate Executive Director.

 

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

Well, starts by praying for God’s help in doing that.  We strive for integrity and to remember that this is his ministry and will outlast the current staff if he desires for it to continue, so we try to make choices that we feel would honor and glorify him.

 

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

The music has changed it quite a bit.  I would guess that for many radio stations, if they had listeners who hadn’t tuned in over the past 5 years, those listeners would be surprised to hear what that station is playing today.  I think the distinction between AC and Inspo has also blurred.  But maybe the label doesn’t matter all that much anyway, except for reporting purposes.  A station has to go with the sound and blend of songs that works for them.

I also think that overall, the industry has improved by pushing its talent to be more creative, more relevant, and more relational on the air. 

Better imaging and production work has also led to a better sound for Christian radio.

 

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

It somewhat depends on the staff size of the station, but I think he or she has to be able to multi-task.  They have to be able to pull an air shift and make time to prep for it.  They have to know how to manage different personalities and how to encourage as well as give constructive criticism.  Nobody just wants to be criticized.  They have to be willing to listen to the station a lot and have it on their mind a lot, but hopefully be able to find that someplace in between obsessing over the station and forgetting about it when you walk out the door.  Our families, friends and Lord need our attention too.  That can be a challenging balancing act at times.

 

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

Lyrics, production quality and style all factor in.  Gut instinct has a lot to do with it initially, but then we also test our familiar songs to help us evaluate how much listeners like them or how burned out they are on them.  I also keep an eye on what songs are being picked up by other stations.

 

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

Well I think the sky is the limit as it relates to promotions.  We’ve found, though, that it helps to have a goal for each one.  Is it visibility to those who may not know about you?  Is it connecting with your listeners?  Is it driving people to the website?  Is it building TSL or AQH or Cume?  Is it getting listeners to respond to a need?  Is it to have fun?  Sometime promotions have more than one goal, but it helps to start there in planning.

 

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

I think they do a good job.  I just don’t want them to forget non-reporting stations.  Some stations choose not to report, but they’re still playing the songs and spreading the word about their artists.

 

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

One challenge is to try and remain something people want to listen to.  With satellite radio, internet radio, Ipods, Cable TV, and books on tape---not to mention all of the other terrestrial radio stations in the market---I sometimes find myself pondering the question, “So why would somebody choose us from all of those options?”  I think it’s helpful to ask that question from time to time.

 

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

I think a radio personality should strive to be well rounded on the air, not one dimensional.  Encourage, share about yourself and your family, share Scripture and devotional thoughts, relate to the music and the artists, talk about what’s happening in the news and in your community, interact with callers on the air, have fun with games and giveaways---it all has a place.  Show prep is very important and everything becomes a source for stuff you can use on the air---from a casual conversation to a magazine you’re reading.

 

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

I don’t really hear enough of them to comment.

 

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

Hopefully still impact their communities for Christ

 

 

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