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Radio Interview

                                     

Tom Scott

Program Director

WHPZ

South Bend

 

 

Tom's Career Capsule
First job in radio in ’74…WERC, Birmingham, Alabama…cleaning heads on cart decks and driving the “Winner wagon”!

Longest job in radio…8 years, Kicks 106, also Birmingham.

First Christian station…actually it was a country station in Omaha, WOW (Yes those were the calls).  The format may have been country, but the station was chock full of really cool Christian people from the GM to the PD, engineering, news, receptionist.  Great place.

First Christian formatted station…this one…WHPZ / WHPD – Pulse FM.

 

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

FIRST:   Listen…to listeners, to staff, to friends, to God.  Not necessarily in that order. Second:  Pray…for/with listeners, for/with staff…and most importantly for all of Christian radio in this area.  Even those stations we call “Competition”.  I can’t describe how burdened I am to pray for situations that can get competitive…too competitive sometimes.  God has huge plans for all of Christian radio in the little area we call Michiana.  Those plans can be seen every day.  God is moving here.  It blows me away that he would even allow us to see and know that he is at work.  God is already in the business.

 

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

That was about the time God slammed open a door at Pulse FM for me to get into Christian radio.  IMHO, the music’s better, the jocks are better.

 

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

I’m still learning that from many who are far better.

 

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

Lyrically, it must first have a “Vertical element”.  It must point to God.  One of my favorite (Non-original) observations is that music historians divide the collective works of J.S. Bach into religious and secular categories.  Bach himself never made that distinction…everything he wrote, he wrote for God.  That observation adds an interesting angle when we try to define “What is Christian music?”.  Musically, I’m always looking for the song that makes people turn their radio way UP, with eyes wide open, exclaiming “WOW, What is THAT?!”

 

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

Money.  (Kidding.)  About a year ago, we did a contest where we paid people’s gas bills for a month.  Listeners nominated others via e-mail.  They could only make one nomination and they could not nominate themselves.  Total outreach.  The contest was only supposed to last one month with one winner per week.  But about two weeks into the contest, a listener called “The program director” to say that they had been blessed and wanted to pay for someone else’s gas bill (Anonymously) and extend the contest for a week.  Then someone else called in and wanted to do the same thing.  Four weeks basically turned into six, but it was the coolest “Contest” we’ve ever done.  Everyone was talking about it.

 

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

In all honesty, all of the people I work with are doing a great job.  Don’t change a thing.

 

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

Reach & relevancy.  If only a small percentage of church attendees ever listen to Christian music or walk into a Christian retailer, we’ve got to be more relevant.  But I’d like to see us go beyond reaching the people who sit in pews.

 

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

To be a daily, living example of what Jesus can do in a life.

 

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

The thing that makes this tough to pin down is that different stations have different callings.  Those who are seen as innovators, typically are those who make lots of noise with the things they do.  I’m convinced that God wants some stations to be a peaceful place and some to be loud and boisterous.  We all serve the same God, but he has different people that he wants us to reach. The innovators are those who diligently seek God’s will for their audience.  The innovations themselves won’t necessarily be heralded with fireworks and noisemakers.

 

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

 Reaching for tax collectors in trees.

 

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