Career Capsule: Thanks to the sale of several stations over the years, I have moved quite a bit. Started in Christian radio in 1987. Yes, Chris Hauser and I talked music when we were both just starting out back then! In 1988 went to work for the 100,000 watt Christian station outside of Washington DC that I grew up listening too called 90Joy. I would have been happy to stay there the rest of my life, but the Lord had other plans. I have worked in Richmond, VA, Fredericksburg, VA, Naples, FL, Miami, FL, and Portland, Maine since, doing mainstream Country, mainstream Top 40, and Christian music formats. I have been in my current position as PD/MD and Morning Show Host for The Journey network, based in Lynchburg, Virginia for 3 years now.
Kenny, tell us what’s new at WRVL… news, changes, & with YOU… etc?
The Journey is just over 3 years old now and one thing I love about our team is that we have a mix of veterans and “new blood”. Three of us on staff have over 30 years of experience each, while some newer additions have never worked in radio before. That mix makes for some fun brainstorming sessions. Everyone can bring new ideas and we figure out ways to make them work within the structure of our station. It also allows us to develop some tried and true ideas, with a new fresh approach that is connecting us with our Journey Family.
Christian Radio has become very competitive… what do you do to stand out from the crowd?
The Journey network is heard in markets all over Virginia, and parts of North Carolina so we have “competition” from several different stations and networks. We may overlap with other stations in some places but some areas we cover do not have any other Christian stations.
At The Journey, we try not to focus on the competitiveness. We try to stay focused on what we are called to do. God has given us an incredible responsibility of broadcasting the gospel and His truth to those markets and we focus on doing the best job we can do, within the framework of our station structure.
What is the best programming/show advice you’ve been given? The worst?
The best advice was to listen to your own air checks!
The worst advice was “you can pull everything you need for a great show, from these prep sheets”.
Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?
I don’t think I would agree with that statement, overall. But if the stations are serving different audiences and have a different “personality” then great. That’s going to attract different segments of our population to a particular station allowing that station to serve everyone better. The “personality” of the station will make the difference there.
What is the ONE thing you must have everyday to do your job/show?
I know coffee is a popular answer for this. I have been doing mornings since 1992 and have never had a cup of coffee. That shocks most people. I prefer actual sleep to be able to think and function.
Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?
They are all around us. God gives us all unique talents and qualities that can translate to the radio world. It’s important for us all to recognize those gifts and help develop them in those that have the passion to serve. My morning co-host Brittany Minard joined us in January from a local television station. Our promotions director joined us having worked in a library. The Journey network is based at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. We are blessed to see firsthand some of those that are studying to enter the broadcast field and we are tasked with advising and mentoring those students to be champions for Christ in their chosen field. There are some very talented LU students that intern and serve here at The Journey that will be entering the workforce very soon.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
Challenges and obstacles are many. So staying focused on quality radio is very important. With so many new technologies, networks, syndication and strategies, it could be easy to be distracted and slip on “the product”. We have to keep our eye on the ball.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
I grew up in Washington DC listening to Howard Stern, Don and Mike, and the Greaseman. I was a bit of a radio nerd and used to buy airchecks from California Aircheck to listen to jocks all across the country. Yeah, no internet in the 80’s! John Records Landecker, Larry Lujack, Don Imus and Gary Burbank were a few that I thought were amazing and those shows vary widely. Classic shows like Scott and Ross, Kid Kraddick and others were all shows I tried to emulate early on.
When I was working in mainstream Top 40, my PD Jon Reed, was a strong influence. He encouraged me to take some chances on the air and gave me the green light. Some of them almost got me fired a few times. Yes, there were apologies before City Councils and Water Boards but it’s all good. It stretched some boundaries for me and I grew as an on air talent from that. I’m currently very thankful to have input and coaching from our GM Mike Weston and KSBJ’s Jon Hull.