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Feature Interview

Jon Hull

Senior Director Of Mentoring



To contact Jon click here


Jon's Career Capsule

After graduating from High School in 1974, I volunteered as an intern for “Come Together,” a two-hour Christian music show on WTWB in Auburndale, Fl.  This show was the pre-cursor for WCIE-FM, one of the pioneers in Contemporary Christian Music Radio.  In college I did some work at WFSU-FM (the campus NPR station,) and worked as an announcer for WCVC/Tallahassee, an AM Daytime radio station that played AOR (as-in “All Over The Road”) Christian music.  In 1978, after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Florida State University, I began working fulltime at WCIE/Lakeland, Fl.  I served there for more than 11-years, eventually becoming Station Manager.  In 1989, I left WCIE and moved to Northern California to work for K-LOVE as their Program Director and afternoon host.  I think we had four signals at the time, including Santa Rosa, CA where the network was headquartered.  I left K-LOVE in 1992 and became Network PD at The Word in Music Satellite Network, and KBIQ/Colorado Springs.  I also did mornings there (with both Sandi Brown and Therese Romano.)  The Word in Music was one of the first Christian Music satellite networks in our industry.  In 1996, I came to Houston, to be the PD and afternoon host for KSBJ, where my family and I remain to this day.   I’ve been blessed with an amazing opportunity to serve our industry through local radio as well as leadership positions with NGRS, NCRS, CMB, NRB, and GMA.


You've been at KSBJ a long time, how has your role with the station evolved...

There’s a running joke among our staff that I’ve held more jobs at KSBJ than many radio people have in their entire careers.  I look at that as an effort by KSBJ’s leadership to keep me serving in my areas of greatest strength.  As an organization grows, the needs of that organization change.  That’s certainly been the case here.  The fact that KSBJ has believed in my contributions enough to allow me to continue serving is a great gift.  Today, Heide Jones and I lead KSBJ’s Mentoring Outreach.  This allows our station to take what we’ve learned from our collective successes and failures,  and share it with other Christian music stations here in the US and around the globe.  We’ve mentored close to 30-different Christian stations since we started, serving on six of the world’s seven continents (still working on Antarctica!)  While I didn’t think I’d ever do anything I enjoyed as much as being on-the-air, the opportunity to help lead KSBJ’s Mentoring Efforts is something that I look forward to every day.


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

More than 30-years ago, Brad Burkhart told me “what you don’t play won’t hurt you.”  As a young PD, that was amazingly insightful advice.  As far as bad advice, it was probably that guy in college that told me I should “change my voice” when I opened the mic so I’d sound more like a “real DJ.”  If you need proof that was misguided, listen to some of my early airchecks. 


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

To have been able to work for some amazing organizations who had vision for doing things well for the Glory of God.  WCIE was trying stuff back in the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s that was miles ahead of the industry norm.  I got to work with K-LOVE in its infancy and learn what it meant to innovate.  In the four years I spent at The Word in Music we were able to pioneer technology and practices that are still being used by stations today.  And KSBJ – what can I say about the depth of ministry to local communities that exists here?  All along the way, I’ve been privileged to work with some of the most gifted individuals in radio.  Some were people I hired.  Most were hired by people much smarter than I. 


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

A clear understanding of my Biblical compass.  For too many years, even as a believer in Christ, I didn’t look to Him as the source of what matters most to me.  I’m naturally wired as a “pleaser” so when it was obvious that I wasn’t pleasing others, I’d twist myself around to try and fit their expectations.  I’m so thankful for God’s Grace reminding me every day that His expectation is really where I should be focused.  Today, I still want to please – but I’m working to make God the object of my pleasure rather than man.  The Westminster Catechism tells us that “…the chief end of man is to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever.”  I love what John Piper has said about that.  “…and God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.”  I must be reminded of that every day.


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

Mike McVay answered that question for me years ago.  He told a young group of Christian PD’s that we ought to hire those who had “amazing personalities” even if they knew very little about radio.  He said, “Radio – you can teach them.  Personality – we’ll that’s a gift!”  In my 40th year of Christian music broadcasting, I’m convinced he’s right.  When I was at WCIE, the morning guy decided to put the secretary on-the-air one day to help him with a bit.  It was such a success, that he did it again the next day.  Before long, Rita Christie had become one of the most recognizable voices in Central Florida.  At first, she didn’t know much about radio, but she knew everything about being engaging and loving her listeners.  Without the “farm team” in radio today we used to have (volunteers becoming fill-in’s; fill-in’s becoming weekenders; weekenders  getting a shot at overnights; etc…) I believe our best road to finding GREAT talent comes from being observant and identifying people who have a great personality; can be themselves behind a microphone; and have a unique point of view. 


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

Doesn’t that depend on how you use it?  I’ve created syndication, and can see how it provides a valuable, short-term benefit.  I know stations who couldn’t operate today if they didn’t have voice-tracking and syndication in their tool box.  I also see stations who’ve forgotten that syndication can keep you from creating the community involvement and deep connection that is so integral to our mission as Christian broadcasters.   So, the answer to your question is “Yes, syndication is good OR bad for Christian radio.”  It depends on licensee and how they’re fulfilling their calling from God and charter from the FCC.


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

Most of the people I talk with either have to, or feel like they have to, “make bricks with no straw!”  Having to do more with less has become standard operating-procedure in almost every industry – including ours.  I’d love it if more stations would simply say “no” to opportunities that end up over-taxing teams and pulling them off-target.  Were that to happen, local radio could concentrate on doing only the things that make listeners want to spend more time engaging with us.  I’ve encouraged many GM’s to create a list of things that they can stop doing, so that they can take time and resources and devote them to their core-competencies.  It’s a tremendously difficult thing to do.  Without it, I suspect we’ll become even more time-starved and less engaging to radio listeners.


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

Goodness, where do I start?  I’ve been blessed to work for some great GM’s.  Jim Campbell at Radio Training Network, taught me so much about identifying what listeners were looking from Christian radio, and how to deliver it with passion and excellence.  He believed in the power of radio to point people to Christ.  Dick Jenkins at K-LOVE helped me to see that there were people in General Market radio who desperately wanted to work for a Christian organization with vision and purpose.  He believed that broadcast quality, and Christian ministry should walk hand-in-hand.  Mark Pluimer at The Word in Music Satellite Network taught me how to create a broadcast product that could successfully serve radio stations everywhere.  He also taught me how to leverage that product into Christian action for children living in poverty and despair.  At KSBJ, Tim McDermott has taught me (and is still teaching me) that a single-minded determination to follow God is the best discipline a Christian radio professional can possess.  His vision for how one radio station can mentor others (and foster a mentoring mentality within our industry) gives me my professional marching orders every time I hop on a plane, SKYPE with someone, or spend time crafting a reply to a really smart question.     




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