entered radio after seeing the medium's negative impact on his past
— with a belief it could also be used for good.
Personally how do you keep the ministry in the “business”?
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
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 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…