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Radio Interview

                                     

Seth "Tower" Hurd

Afternoon Drive Host/Promotions Director/Web Content

WONU

Chicago

 

 

Seth's Career Capsule
Tower entered radio after seeing the medium's negative impact on his past — with a belief it could also be used for good.

 

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

Honestly, because I’ve lived in such close proximity with death.  This is a very odd answer, but I’ve lost a lot of people in my life.  A brother to cancer, a cousin to a car accident , two friends to suicide, and another one was shot at the Mall massacre in Nebraska this past Christmas.  Most 25 year olds feel like they’ll live forever.  I know that, even if it’s 70 years from now, breath will leave my lungs for the last time, and I will have to look God in the face, and answer for my life.  And that moment, coming in 7 minutes or 70 years, affects everything I do. 

 

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

Honestly, I’ve only been in Christian radio five and a half years…so this is a tough question for me to answer. 

 

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

One of my greatest weaknesses as as a member of the Christian radio community is that I haven’t taken as much time as I should to get to know the people in my industry.  Johnathon Eltrevoog, my program director, focuses every decision on what the listener wants, and everything else (station needs, fundraising, record label needs, etc) must fall behind this first criteria.  This philosophy has led to rapid growth here at Shine. 

 

4. What criteria do you require for a promotion to air on your station?

It’s got to be fun for everyone who’s NOT trying to win.  Recently, we gave away a laundry room (washer/dryer/cabinets/flooring/interior design service) by having people send in pics of their nasty laundry rooms.  We took the five worst, and had them as “contestants” on the morning show.  Each contestant was given a white t-shirt

 

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

Paul Goldsmith, who now works for Air1, gave me some of the best promotions advice of my life.  “Try not to do anything that could be parodied on Saturday Night Live.”  In Christian radio, we lean too much on “heartfelt” promotions.  We’ve got to learn how to do promotions that are entertaining (see my last answer).  Nothing sounds cheesier on the air than a promotion that’s meant to be heartfelt (“send us an email of how God has blessed you and win a Bible!”) but falls flat with the listener, because it’s a tired concept.  A big part of the problem is that management doesn’t give promotions directors or air personalities enough time in the week to be creative (this isn’t a problem at my station…my Station manager & PD rock).

 

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

I’d love to see payola make a comeback.  Ok, not really.  Today’s Christian radio needs more CONTENT from record companies.  Audio cuts, video clips for the website.  Today’s music fan wants to be closely connected with the artist.  The artists themselves do a great job of staying in touch via myspace, text, facebook etc.  Record labels and radio have yet to catch up on this tend.

 

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

The biggest obstacle is our own groupthink.  The average Christian radio listener (and music buyer) listens to just as much secular music and radio as he/she does to Christian.  Ten years ago, there was a large group within the church that only consumed Christian media.  That group is shrinking at a rapid pace.  If we don’t learn how to compete in the larger market, if we don’t dig into the fabric of our communities and make a difference, if we don’t, on a daily basis do things that touch the lives of the listeners directly…then it’s game over.

 

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

RadioU does a great job, in large part because Michael Buckingham (their manager) has a great heart for this generation.  I believe the The Fuse in Saginaw, and WONU/Shine.FM in Chicago are both great stations…but they both pay me, so you would expect that answer.

 

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

Heavily localized, heavily integrated into listeners lives (text messages, social networking, whatever new technologies emerge), with the listeners calling the shots, having a hand in the content, getting their voices out there…

 

 

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