Scott Thunder interview 11-18-16

Published On November 20, 2016 » 1337 Views» Feature Interview, Interviews

Scott Thunder
Station Manager
WFCM
Nashville

Career Capsule: KCMS 105.3 Seattle; Morning Star Radio Network, Nashville; CCM Communications, Nashville;  KPAM 860 AM, Portland; KTLI Light 99, Wichita; Salem Music Network/The Fish, Nashville; Bible League International, Chicago.

  1. Scott, tell us what’s new at WFCM… news, changes, & with YOU… etc?

After a decade working in the non-profit development world, it is a lot of fun to be back in local radio. We just signed on two new frequencies at 98.7 FM and 1200 AM that allow Moody Radio Nashville to really cover the metro area for the first time. We’ve got a new morning program, “Dawn In Nashville” with Dawn Rae, who is a fantastic Christian communicator and very networked into the Christian community. We’ll be launching a new marketing campaign city wide to relaunch the station…it’s a very exciting time to be here. On a personal note, I’ve recently completed my ordination which hopefully will allow me to serve the body of Christ in a deeper way in the community.

2. What are some programming issues that you find are unique to your market (station/network)?

Nashville is well served with Christian radio…the biggest Christian music networks are here, plus a few AM stations programming Gospel and Spanish. There are a lot of choices here for people who enjoy Christian radio. Our main challenge is to distinguish ourselves and offer something different and valuable. Since we are a hybrid of music and teaching, Moody Radio represents something singular in the market. We have a live and local morning show and solid teaching the rest of the day. We have five hours of live talk programming in the afternoon that engage listeners on a wide range of biblical topics. Our guiding principle is to help people take the next step in their relationship with the Lord. So with what we offer and what we purpose to do, we can maintain a distinct presence in the midst of a crowded dial.

3. Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?

Depends on the market of course. Nashville has a lot of Christian radio for being market #44. A former colleague had a phrase he liked to say… “More isn’t better…better is better.” If I have a station that is offering very high quality and meaningful programming, combined with a signal that gets the programming to the most people, I will be in the best position to continue to thrive if a competitor does enter the fray.

4. What is the ONE thing you must have everyday to do your show?

As station manager, I am essentially a morning show fill in, but did the show solo during the summer while we looked for our permanent host. So the ONE thing I had to have every day was content. I had to be well armed with a lot of talk topics from a variety of angles as the morning show is more of a full service magazine format. I also really focused on delivering the highest quality morning program I could, to show respect for the listeners and honor the Lord. I never wanted to ‘phone-it-in’. Some days were better than others, but I had to give it my very best shot every day.

5. Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?

Think like a talent scout and you can find people everywhere. I was at the dentist and the hygienist who was doing my cleaning had a great voice and an appealing personality. She would have made a great host or co-host because she was a good communicator, plus she lived the lifestyle of our target audience. If you find someone with the right array of personality skills, you can train them in the rules of radio. They don’t always have to come from a broadcasting background, but that doesn’t hurt either.

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

As the ‘nones’ rise and the nominal Christians wane, I think our challenge is to stay relevant for Christians in the future. Are we just providing a quick ‘feel good’, or are we offering something that is helping them live their life in a world where Christians are increasingly marginalized or pressured to compromise? Can we continue to be a compassionate voice for truth while retaining our ‘peculiar people’ identity? And, of course, can we continue to innovate programming and delivery systems in an age of astounding technological advances?

7. Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?

My radio heroes are actually the folks who wrote and produced radio drama in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. I was deeply affected by the radio drama I listened to as a kid, from guys like Orson Wells, Arch Oboler and Rod Serling. They were virtuosos at using the power of imagination to create emotion. Radio was a vehicle for telling stories. I also fondly recall the top 40 personalities in Seattle radio in the late 60’s/early 70’s. They also inspired me with their humor and energy, and influenced me to pursue a career in broadcasting.

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4 Responses to Scott Thunder interview 11-18-16

  1. Laura Warfel says:

    Scott Thunder is a fantastic servant, using his gifts and talents to serve our Lord! I had the privilege of working with him when he was with Bible League International. He was know there for his wisdom and for making our workplace a fun place to be. WFCM and Moody Radio are truly blessed to have him working with them.

  2. Congratulations, Scott!

  3. Tim Cardascia says:

    Congrats Scott. Tim Cardascia

  4. Jack Haveman says:

    Great content, Scott! So glad you’re on the Moody Radio “team”!

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