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Feature Interview

Chuck Finney


Finney Media


To contact Chuck click here


Chuck's Career Capsule

Chuck has over 30 years experience helping radio stations grow audience and deepen relationships with listeners. He led Salem’s KLTY Dallas to record audience levels from 2002-2009 and served as National Program Director for Salem’s Fish CCM stations. Chuck served as Chairman of CMB and is on the Radio Committee of NRB.

Since 2009, he has consulted Christian Music and Teaching radio stations and ministries internationally, helping them reach more people while being Gospel-focused.

He and his wife Lynda live in the DFW area and have two daughters, Caroline and Catherine.

1. There are some stations in large markets doing very well in the PPM ratings, do you see this trend continuing?

Yes! Especially if the music continues to be as outstanding as it has been the past few years. The work that’s being done at stations like Star 99-1 in New York, who just hit an all-time high, is excellent! Houston, DFW, Twin Cities, Denver, Baltimore, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Orlando, LA, Charlotte, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Nashville, Austin, Columbus, KC – all hitting record highs recently. They’re all doing some awesome radio and getting better!


2. Regarding your career, what are you most proud of?

That the Holy Spirit got hold of my heart. Radio was my center. He did radical heart surgery.


3. What is the best programming advice you've been given? The worst??

Best – She’s busy, she’s distracted and she’s not thinking about what I’m playing/saying on the radio. Crawl inside her head and heart and understand what you need to do/play/say to be heard through the noise in her head and heart.
Worst/Most Absurd – Told to me by my friend and mentor CC Matthews. One of his morning DJs on listeners’ comments about the show: “What do they know? They’re just listeners!”  


4. What is the one thing you need to do your job every day?

Pray. Totally makes a difference in how I think, act, speak, listen.


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

I’m pretty encouraged on this. The world has changed and we need to look in new places, but there are quite a few fresh talent ready to jump in. Our biggest area of undiscovered Christian talent are believers who used to work in secular media. One more thing – these days, you won’t find the right answer by just posting an ad. You have to go find great talent.


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

WAY too many to list all of them. Lemme go with three for now.
Bo Wood. My boss and friend at Secret Communications in the mid-90’s. Wisest radio mind I’ve ever worked with and a genuine man of high integrity. He understood heart-connective radio and taught me that a great radio station was about great writing.
Paul Harvey. Never met him but he still managed to teach me how to tell a connective story, great editing, dramatic pause, riveting delivery and how to use our audio medium in the intimate way it works best.
My Dad. He was morning guy Stan Matlock’s newsman at WKRC/Cincinnati in the early 60s. They got a 40 share. Seriously.  He taught me much, including a strong work ethic. Dad still lives in Cincinnati, is still working at 81 and he and my mom are doing great and still an inspiration to me everyday.


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

1) “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” In this age of lots of choice for listeners, we gotta be relentlessly focused on bringing the Gospel in a way she will hear. Still too much non-connective, narrow noise in our format that goes in one ear and out the other. Or worse, she leaves. Every minute matters.

2) Shabby engineering is still a huge obstacle. Still hear way too many Christian stations/programs who are settling for second best on this. Good engineers are worth the investment in optimizing your signal and your studios and keeping you on the air. Jim Hoge is right on this.


8. Do you feel syndication is good or bad for Christian radio?

It’s not a good or bad question. Just one more resource. It’s a market and station-specific question. Is this syndication right for our station in this daypart in this market? Local matters. But listeners listen for heart connection first and if a national talent delivers it better than what you can do locally, it’s a good thing.




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