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Troy West

Co-Owner, Station Manager and Program Director


Grand Rapids



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Troy's Career Capsule
Started Radio in 1981 as a 15 year old board op for KIKS in Iola, Kansas.  Have also been on the air at KIXQ and KFSB in Joplin, Missouri, WAYF in West Palm Beach, Florida, and currently in my 17th year at WJQK in Grand Rapids, MI. I also voicetrack weekends for KLOVE.


1. Bring us up to date on any changes at WJQK?

The biggest change for us is we have adopted a ministry in Guatemala. Paradise Bound Ministries has  just been granted a license to open an orphanage. It will be the last orphanage the Guatemalan government is permitting for that whole country.  JQ99 will support Paradise Bound Ministries financially,and JQ99 staff members will help lead mission trips, lend web design talent, take over  social media, help with event planning and our General Manager will become the US Director of the orphanage.


2. Describe your local Grand Rapids market?

This is a great place to live and work. Grand Rapids is a very conservative area. We have churches and ministries nearly every block. The people are extremely generous in giving to local and national ministries. Christian Radio does very well here. I think we have 7 Christian stations in Grand Rapids.  3-4 of us are playing almost the same music.


3. How is WJQK touching the listeners?

Our positioner is "Connected and Growing"  We really feel the burden of not just encouraging and entertaining our audience, but we want to help them grow Spiritually too.  We do that with the content we provide on the air, as well as challenging our audience to get out of their comfort zone by going on station sponsored mission trips, praying for each other's needs, and challenging them to be the salt and light in the community.


4. How do you keep the staff motivated?

We provide our staff an incredible place to work. Our facility is beautiful. JQ99 is built next to a lake, with a fountain just outside the FM studio. We have also built a seperate lounge area for the announcer's to "be creative"  The DJ lounge is complete with a marble laptop bar, flat screen TV, sitting area and lots of cool colors designed to look great, but also help spur the next great idea.

We pay our staff really well.  We have good benefits, and the announcers get quarterly profit sharing bonuses.  We encourage each staff member to go on a yearly mission trip. The station not only helps pay for the trip, but also will pay them for the time they are gone so they don't have to take vacation days.

When it comes down to it though, our announcers motivate themselves. They all want to be the absolute best they can be. We have real professionals on the airstaff that are given the opportunity to create and try new things without me micro managing every move.  The result is they each have taken real ownership of their respective shows and the content they are bringing to the table every day is really connecting with our listeners.


5. Where do you find new talent for your station?

We have 7 announcers here and 4 of them had never worked in radio prior to JQ99. We hired one from Blockbuster. One of them wore a sandwich board to a remote that said "Hire Me" on it. One came to us through an internship and one is a Pastor and Motivational Speaker.   I like to look for people who have a background in theater, since we are all performers when it comes down to it.


6. What promotions work best for WJQK?

Our biggest promotion is "Jingle Bell Rock"  We hide a 1/2 carat diamond somewhere in West Michigan and give daily clues as to where you can find it.  This promotion is so big that the last three years the police have been called because listeners looking for the diamond have blocked traffic, disrupted a funeral (oops) and may have caused some damage to an outdoor Christmas display.

When the local Jaycees could not financially continue the Fourth Of July Celebration for our city, JQ99 stepped up and took over the event. This coming Summer will be our tenth year of organzing "Celebration Freedom"  We bring in live bands, kids games, food booths, contests and fireworks. We have been averaging 30,000 people in attendance.


7. Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio today?

We have to stay on the leading edge of technology. Not sure how much longer terresterial radio will be relevant. Sadly, my own children seldom listen to radio anymore. They are getting the music they want through Spotify, and even Youtube.  KLOVE scored a touchdown by partnering with Clear Channel to be on the iHeart Radio app. We all need to look for opportunities like that.


8. There are still some big markets without a CCM station, why do you think that is?

The cost is so great and getting financing for broadcast radio is very hard.


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

I always hated this question because the answer is always the same 3-4 stations. Let me answer this question with "Announcers" that I think are innovating.

I love Wally, I am a huge fan of Jayar Reed, I think Ceci LaBarge is one of the best content providers in Christian Radio, and I really like listening to Johnny Stone. I am sure there are others, but this is the group of announcers I like to listen to.


10. Where do you see Troy West in 5 years?

Well, I'll be here at JQ99. Hopefully, still have what it takes to be on the air, and I am sure I'll be heading over to Guatemala, or Africa for a week or two doing missions.




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