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Feature Interview

Jeremy Sweat


Affiliate Relations Manager/SMN


To contact Jeremy click here


Jeremy's Career Capsule

I started in 1992 after being a guest on a local radio program about new on-campus ministries I helped start through the local churches. I was offered a chance to do a youth program for free, and I jumped on it! The show was called RENEGADE! I was on the air with my youth pastor who got the name for the show from a Jeep Renegade that pulled up beside him at a stoplight.

I later took over part-time responsibilities in programming while I completed my degree in marketing. I did some sales, coaching, and a short stent as the PD of a station in NW Missouri, before heading to Nashville.

I came to Salem in 2004, looking to do marketing and part-time radio, but God had different plans. After starting at the network very part-time, one opportunity after another presented itself, so I walked through the open doors. I now have the honor to work with some fantastic talent, artists, and great stations around the country.


Tell us about the Salem syndicated programs (& your role)...

Salem Offers three full-time Satellite music formats including CCM, Southern Gospel, and Contemporary Praise and Worship. We also offer shows by FTP including the New Karen Kingsbury show, Night Light with Andrea, and weekend programming like the CCM Radio Magazine. I consult affiliate stations on promotions and sales opportunities, and help stations improve their sound with our network products.


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

Best  Advice:
The two best pieces of programming advice I’ve been given are, “Play the hits!” and “Connect or die.” If you are doing both well, you give yourself the greatest chance at success assuming you have a favorable signal and market landscape.

Worst Advice:
I talk with a lot of stations every year, so I know the reaction to this already, but the worst advice I’ve heard is, “LOCAL is what it takes to win.” I have seen local not win against syndication. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do things locally, or try and serve the local community well, but local gets credit for things it shouldn’t.

A station that plays hit songs, connects, and understands their listeners is generally having the highest level of success regardless of where the talent originates the content.


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

Longevity - I have won some awards for commercial production, and been published on the topic of global branding, but honestly, I’m most proud of my longevity. I’ve not had to station hop most of my career, and hopefully that means I’ve been valuable to our teams and mission.


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

Any ability to solve problems and meet needs for our radio partners. Stations are very different in their missions and their philosophy. I have to try and communicate how we can work with each station’s identity and personality to create a perfect marriage of mission and execution of the on air product.


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

I think we’ll continue to see a general market transition of Christians moving from secular formats to bring their skills to the Christian radio market. If God wants to continue to use Christian radio to reach people with his hope and love, I think he will also call the next generation of talent.


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

Quality syndication is better for radio than it ever has been! Syndication could very well be what saves many stations that are teetering on the edge of selling out or being divested by their parent companies.

Where I see a lot of stations falling down, is they are spending too much time executing radio when they desperately need to be focused on growing their donor base and underwriting.

Syndicated programming allows stations to grow through proven and tested music and content that they could not otherwise provide. Small to Large market radio can now have the same night time talent on their station as this year’s Marconi award winning station in Dallas, KLTY. Stations can offer New York Times Best-Selling Author and national speaker, Karen Kingsbury, in any day-part of their day, or Dove award winning CCM artist, Jaci Velasquez, Co-hosting their mornings.


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

The usual suspects – A new generation consuming media differently, current and emerging tech that makes information accessible instantly, vastly more listening choices, and radio as only one of many buttons to entertain me in the increasingly connected car.


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

My current program director, Vance Dillard, has brought a wealth of programming knowledge and experience to bear on my career, and former station leaders who sowed into me spiritually and professionally.




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