The Christian Radio Homepage

 

 

Radio Interview

Steve Williams

Marketing & Promotions Director 

WVFJ

Atlanta

To contact Steve click here
 

Steve's Career Capsule
I joined the “Radio Club” in 9th grade at Savannah Christian Prep School. That was it. I was hooked. I went on
to work part-time as a High School student, and even started my own CCM radio show on WKBX 630 AM, a 5k
flame-thrower in Savannah, GA. My younger brother and I produced the show and sold the spots on it too. I went
on to work for Chuck Finney at WKZL in Winston-Salem, NC while I attended UNC-G.. and then nights and APD
at 95SX in Charleston, SC. From there I did mornings and programmed a mainstream CHR in Saginaw, MI, then
moved back to Savannah where I was the 1st “Director of Marketing & Promotions” for a 6-station group that is
now Clear Channel Savannah, followed by a similar position in Greenville-Spartanburg, SC for Entercom
(where I worked right across the hall from Jim Kirkland, now at Blue Ridge Broadcasting)..... I got
back into the PD/Mornings chair for Entercom in Greensboro, and then did the same at Qantum Myrtle Beach
before landing here in the Christian radio world at J93.3. One thing has not changed. I am still hooked. I love
radio. It is still what I would do if I was independently wealthy, and didn't need to make a living. I'll never forget
while I was at Entercom Greensboro, the Operations Manager stopped as we were walking through building,
turned to me and said, “Steve, thank GOD for radio! What would any of us do?!?” and then resumed walking.
Amen!


 


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

Well it is still evolving, but the station started out hanging its image on “The Family Station” slogan. Then we began to realize that the Mainstream AC station here could just as easily say the same thing. At that point, we began focusing more on who we really are. We are the station that gives Christians the support they need through their day, and potential Christians, a look at what living as a Christian is all about, warts and all. Well, that's what we try to do.

 

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

We have become more streamlined. Fewer people doing more. The cool thing is that our listeners are going through the same thing where they work too, so they are right there with us. We also have Jayar from the Joy FM voice-tracking middays from Florida. He is like a breath of fresh air on the station. He sounds really honest and engaging.

 

3. What do you think are the main characteristics of a Christian radio Promotion Director?

A passion for the product (what goes over the air) and a desire to share that with as many people as possible would be the foundation. From there, it's making sure that of all the things that one CAN do, the promotions that one actually does make sense for goals of the station. Cool-headed, creative problem-solving is one of the most important
tools a promotions director can have in their toolbox.

 

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

a) It has to have heart. This format is unique because it is all about the lyrics. That means listeners are not listening to our music for a mood boost, to dance to it, or to “rock out.” They are looking for music that touches their hearts. That's what promotions should do too. b) It should be sellable. We are a commercial station, so whenever possible, we need promotions to result in revenue. Helps keep the power on at the transmitter. c) Keep it simple. d) Does it pass the “who cares?” test? Promotions have to be relevant to listeners before they can even give them room in their consciousness to consider them. We've all got WAY too much rattling around upstairs these days, competing for our attention, so our mental filters are working overtime to determine what gets through and what doesn't.

 

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

In my experience, it is the promotions that give listeners an opportunity to help a friend, or a child while glorifying God in the process. It took me a little while to understand that, coming from mainstream radio, but our listeners really want to help someone else more than they want to win $100.

 

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

Just keep producing better and better music with good, clear Gospel messages. That's really the key when it comes down to it.

 

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

I think that there are two “audiences” that we can serve, There is the audience that listens now, and the audience that might potentially listen in the future. The first audience is much smaller than the second one, in my opinion. We in the CCM format tend to serve the people who listen now, because those are the people who we interact with on the phone and at remotes, that listen through the share-a-thons, and they are a comfortable and safe audience. In doing that, I think that we can sometimes turn our back on the potential listeners, the ones who might give Christian radio a chance if it were more relevant-sounding, more authentic, or in some way broke through the stereotypes that
surround Christians and their music (i.e.,Ned Flanders, the Church Lady, the Seinfeld “Christian Rock” episode). I am not claiming to have the easy solution to this obstacle, but it is, I believe, a very big, very important obstacle for us to cross. It's a Great Commission thing. And it 's a matter of opening up and being accessible to not only seekers, but Christians who are not in the “Christian clique',” if you know what I mean. All radio formats must continually get “younger” in how they sound, or at least it seems that way, because we are all getting older. In other words, if you target 25-44 year olds, after about 5 years, 25% or your audience is new, having moved up from the 18-24 demo. Their tastes don't change too much as they age, so you have to change how you reach them. That means, we need to keep moving, and not let music styles, or how we relate to listeners stagnate if we are to remain relevant. If you don't keep up with that, you can end up with a very old, stale sound.

 

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

All of the above. I think Christian jocks should be as real as possible, and that means talking about the blemishes in their lives along with the uplifting things. It means not living in fear of those super-conservative listeners who love to judge people's hearts. I think the most difficult thing about being in Christian radio is hanging on to the “real you” on the air. What does Casting Crowns call them? “Happy plastic people?” That's not what we want on the radio, if we are to truly be relevant.

 

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

I am not just saying this because they are my sister stations – The Joy FM's (Florida) morning show rocks. It is real, fun, touching, all of the things that any mainstream morning show would be doing well to accomplish. Come to think of it, the rest of that station is also, pretty awesome. Rob & Kristen at His Radio in Greenville do an EXCELLENT job of taking on issues that many morning shows would never touch, and turning them into ministry opportunities. Total
Axxess Live is also a fantastic show, that really is fun, entertaining, and real.

 

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

My favorite answer to that question is, “God knows!” I sure don't. I hope that the format continues to focus on listeners and what we are actually doing in their lives. When I first arrived here at J93.3 exactly 5 years ago, I thought about the high value that Clear Channel and Entercom had put on increasing listenership, because it affected their stockholders, which was their #1 priority as a public company. And then I thought, “Wow, if they were willing to put that much into making money, imagine the stakes here in Christian radio! We are competing for souls, not dollars. We are building the Kingdom, not just a stock portfolio.” I try to keep that in mind, because I don't want to lose that perspective.
 

10.

Previous Interviews

 

 

© Copyright HisAir.Net