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Tim McDermott

President/GM

KSBJ

Houston

 

     

To contact Tim click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tim's Career Capsule
I have been in broadcasting for almost 30 years.  I began my professional broadcasting career at WGCB in Red Lion, PA and then in programming at KCFO, Tulsa working with Bob Lepine, Dennis Worden, Paul Martin, Roy Williams and many others.    After working in Waco (KBBW)and Austin(KIXL), I had a desire to be a station manager and at the urging of my dad and as a means to get to that goal, pursued a graduate degree in business.  That road took me out of radio for five years where I practiced public accounting and even worked at the IRS.  God brought both paths together when I was hired by Burt Perrault in 1991 as KSBJ’s Business Manager. Burt later resigned to start  Morningstar and I was named KSBJ’s General Manager in 1992.   I am a licensed CPA and still keep up on non-profit issues by being a field reviewer for ECFA.  I also do Sharathons with ShareMedia around the country.   I have served on the GMA Board of Directors, was past chairman of NCRS, and I helped start Christian Music Broadcasters (CMB) as its founding Chairman. I am current the NRB Radio Chairman and serve on the NRB Board of Directors.

 

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

I believe an organization needs to have a clear purpose of why it exists.  Many Christian stations have spent a lot of time defining “who” their target is (Becky, Jenny, Susan or whomever), but they haven’t spent as much time on “why” she listens and “why” they are there.   I believe the “why” is just as important as the “who,” and to be successful, you have to do both.   Ministry takes place when you serve the why.  Employees feel their jobs matter when they hear reports on the why.  And the business component follows the why.  When I first became General Manager of KSBJ in 1992, each day I would look at the donations that came in   As I did that, I really felt convicted by the Holy Spirit that I was getting it backwards.  If KSBJ would focus on ministry, God would take care of the finances.  I have been here almost 20 years and God has provided every month. 

 

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

I was looking at our audience demographics and noticed that our audience is older now than we were five years ago.  So what was contemporary for a 35 year old is that same sound for our now 40 year old.  Although we are targeting the same younger age, it looks like our audience for contemporary is aging with us.  We will have to watch that.

On the positive side, I think the Christian radio broadcasting is more unified than it was five years ago.   I don’t know if it because we have some common challenges or if it is because we are just five years later in building relationships.    With my work as chair on the NRB Radio Committee, I work with managers/program directors/programmers of all types of Christian stations, and I really believe that we have come to a place of healthy respect for each other and what we do – regardless of format.

 

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

Spiritual leadership is the most important characteristic.    As our staff has grown, my role requires even great focus on this area – for myself and for my staff.  My staff needs to know that I care about them and want them to be successful   I also believe GM’s have to visionary and have a passion for their ministry. It can’t just be a job.  GM’s also have to be engaged with community leaders, business leaders and in our case major donors.  We have to walk in circles of influence and be comfortable there.

 

4. What ways or methods do you think work best to keep your staff motivated?

Hopefully, when you are hire staff, you hire people who are self-motivated.   I would rather slow someone down, then try to speed someone up.   I have a great team of self-motivated people at KSBJ.   My job is to give them the guard rails and let them go for it. Staff buy-in is important for all that we do.  You have to know your station’s purpose and everyone has to be on board and excited about it.  Plus, you need a scorecard to shoot for – more than just ratings and dollars.  A scorecard that includes e-mails, results from impacting concerts and events, prayer requests, praises, salvations, and other life changing stories.  The staff needs to know they are doing important work.  This helps them feel valued.

 

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

I am a big believer that you have to engage your audience.  Our listeners want to be involved in things that are selfless and bigger than them.  So we do projects like that.  Then if you can find secular media partners for those projects they become even bigger.  The CD giveaway just isn’t as effective as helping 1,000 families in your area through the KSBJ giving tree – or taking 100 listeners with you on a mission trip.  Audience connection is a key and good promotions connect with your audience on things they care about.

 

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

The Performance Rights Act has really hurt the relationship between the labels and radio.  This issue will be settled, but the relational cost has been high.  Labels and radio are partners.  I really wish there was more authenticity between us.  For some reason, there seems to be a protection there and I wish I knew how we could fix that.  I know the labels are under a lot of pressure.  At times, I have felt that in their quest for more revenue, they haven’t understood our non-profit model.  More money in donations for us does not mean that we are operating at profit that can be passed on to them.  So we need to work on understanding each other better. 

 

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

There are a lot of legislative battles out there.  I am grateful for the work that NRB does in this area.   Some radio stations seeing these type of things as “going political” or “too alarmists” but if you aren’t at the table, you don’t have a voice.  The impact to our stations from these laws could be devastating.  So our apathy on matters that will directly affect us concerns me. 

 

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

KSBJ is a ministry so it is important that our air personalities be the primary point of connection - both to the audience and to God.   Our purpose statement is “The voice of Hope, connecting people to God.”  We want our air personalities to live along side our listeners – and be open about their faith, challenges and their life.     

 

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

Being active in our industry and having judged a lot of station of the years, I get to see and meet with a lot of great friends from across the country that are doing amazing work.  And it is not just the big stations.  Medium and small markets are doing great work, too.  Off the top of my head, here are a few that come to mind –The KTIS/Minneapolis prayer website, Z88/Orlando’s technology and engineering (that place IS hurricane ready), WAY-FM focused passion for the youth.  KLOVE’s continual growth to being a positive dominant force across the country, KJIL/Meade ’s consistent excellence in a small market, and KLTY/Dallas has been and continue to be the Christian broadcasting standard.    In our own town, KHCB/Houston has been a major force for Bible teaching and music.  Bruce Munsterman, their GM, has reached out to me more than once to help us when we had any kind of broadcasting/technical issue.  He has a heart to serve and that is innovation.   You don’t see that in secular radio and sadly in some markets among Christian stations.

 

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

The future of radio is mobile.  We just launched our second station on HD-2 and mobile devices (NGENradio.com) so I am believer about that.  I also think the broadcasting chip will be added to cell phones. There is a lot of momentum there for that to happen.  I also believe that we will see more US stations helping Christian stations around the world because the need is there is great.  We have lived in our little radio kingdoms for a while and I sense that God has a bigger picture for us.

 

 



 

 

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