Career Capsule: I got my start in radio at the age of 15 at my local radio station. I took over the Morning Show the day that I graduated high school and have never done anything else. My radio journey started in Iola, Kansas at KIKS-FM. Joplin, Missouri at KIXQ and KFSB. West Palm Beach, Florida to WAY-FM, Grand Rapids, MI at WJQK and Houston to KSBJ. This year is my 37th year in radio.
Troy, tell us what’s new at KSBJ.. news, changes, & with YOU… etc?
I am working toward year #4 at KSBJ. I served at APD and MD for Ty McFarland. When Ty left for Seattle in February, I was promoted to Program Director. We have made a few tweaks recently to music rotations, and imaging, but Ty had us set up for success so we haven’t felt the need to make big changes.
Christian Radio has become very competitive… what do you do to stand out from the crowd?
Play the best music, hire strong talent, teach story-telling, creative imaging and great promotions. You will succeed if you work hard to deliver in these areas.
What is the best programming advice you’ve been given? The worst?
Learn everything you can about your listener’s values and infuse your product with those values. Your listener will understand that your station “gets” them. Your station is rewarded with loyalty and your listeners will cheerlead and evangelize to others about you.
The worst? When I was just starting out I had a General Manager tell me that I need to announce every song like I was introducing them on-stage at a concert. That sounds really awkward by the way.
Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?
I don’t have a problem if they are going to serve a segment of the audience that you are not reaching.
What is the ONE thing you must have everyday to do your job?
Prayer! I pray every single day for Wisdom. To think that I can manage this level of a job on my own is dangerous. I really need God’s guidance and help.
Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?
We should continue looking outside the industry as much as possible. I listen to a local podcaster and have always wanted to connect with him because he is such an engaging story-teller. We use a local blogger as a fill-in co-host and she’s amazing on the air. Look for people who tell stories with video on social media or those with a background in theater.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
We have an aging listener demographic, so we need new leaders who spend time pursuing growth. We need to realize that dashboards, podcasts and smart speakers can be huge opportunities for radio. It comes down to understanding that we are in an industry that is more broad than just terrestrial radio.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
Steve Burrows was the local radio guy in Iola, Kansas who took 5 minutes to meet and talk with an 8 year old kid at a restaurant. He inspired me to pursue radio as a life calling. He has no idea how his gift of time impacted my life. Kevin Matthews, Scott Shannon, Dr. Don Carpenter, John Durkee, Les Lanser, and Gary Dunker all played very pivotal roles into who I am today.