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Feature Interview

Jim Kirkland

Director Of Radio

Blue Ridge Broadcasting


To contact Jim click here


Jim's Career Capsule

Jim is Director of Radio for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and a chunk of his responsibilities is providing executive leadership to Blue Ridge Broadcasting. Founded by Billy and Ruth Graham, BRB operates 106.9 the Light (WMIT) which, with the 12th largest FM signal in the nation, serves Charlotte, Greenville-Spartanburg, the Tri-Cities of TN and VA and other communities across seven states, from its’ base in Asheville, NC. In 2012, BRB began outreach in Knoxville with the launch of 106.7 the Light (WFGW). BGEA Radio produces two weekly programs and fifteen faith life-application vignettes per month heard on over 660 U.S. stations. In 2011, they launched the 1,600 + message Billy Graham Audio Archives, an on-line exclusive at

Before being promoted to his present role six years ago, Jim was General Manager of 106.9 the Light, and from 2001 to 2005 served as the station’s Program Director. Jim spent over 15 years in general market radio programming with Entercom, Sinclair, Keymarket and Viacom.         


Tell us any recent changes (news) at Blue Ridge Broadcasting...

After 13 years with BRB, my jaw still drops at the volume of feedback our listeners share. The BRB team is amazed and grateful for getting to know how the Lord speaks into lives through the songs, the teaching, and the air talents. It’s truly a gift of grace to read and hear them. More specifically, we’re humbled by 106.9 the Light’s recent two-day Impact Days on-air event (total giving was 4% above goal and up 21% over last year!). We’re also abuzz about our newest teaching programs. Crossroads is a daily offering with Clayton King, and Your Move with Andy Stanley, a weekly. And at BGEA Radio, we’re still pretty giddy over Peace with God, which launched in May with Bill Maier as host. Also delighted to see the receptivity by stations of Decision Minutes, which is 60-seconds of faith-building and life-applying take-away.       


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

The best: “It’s all about the people” – Bob Kaake; “Follow the listener, not the industry” – Barry Drake and Frank Bell. The worst? – I can’t recall. I hope it’s because I didn’t take it to heart.  


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

To finally come to the realization it’s not about me, but rather He who is in me.    


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

God’s wisdom. I pray for it every morning. Proverbs 2 through 4.     


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

Largely home-grown. Keep your ears and eyes open and your intuition in-tune everywhere you live life. Magnetic personalities will come from all corners. When you find a natural talent, invest in them and infuse in them the wonder for audio’s limitless power to move people.    


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

I think that question begs another question: Is creative, relevant, clearly Christ-focused content good or bad for Christian radio? The appeal of content and whether it meets a listener’s felt need trumps the matter of whether the content is local or syndicated.     


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

Christian radio tends to follow its own industry’s agendas and ideas closely. Too closely, at times. Follow the listener, not the industry. We should also be careful of craving the praise of The Industry to the determent of what..and Who..called us to Christian radio. That sounds kind of pious, I know. But I believe that craving can be a station and an individual’s downfall. I just pose as a caution to all of us. Stay humble, stay focused, stay in prayer.  


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

”Hero”, to me, evokes the big influencers of our youth. There were two: the late Stew Robb who did middays at WHBQ/Memphis. He followed Rick Dees’ morning show at 10am. Stew was patient with a kid trying to soak up everything about radio, and used that role of influence to share that nothing was more important than your relationship with Christ. Over the years, I’ve learned Stew made an eternal impact on a lot of people’s lives. The second is Tom Prestigiacomo, who was the first talent I heard who was real; who genuinely worked at reflecting and serving his listener. He held down PM drive on FM 100/Memphis for over 25 years – an amazing tenure on a CHR/Hot AC. Tom came to town before I was old enough to drive and years later, we were PM drive competitors. He was definitely the better air talent…but he didn’t always win. : )




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