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Feature Interview

Mike Couchman

Program Director


St Louis

To contact Mike click here


Mike's Career Capsule

Started off doing pirate radio, until I found out what the fine was for getting caught! First REAL station who let me on was an Urban station in my hometown, Lansing, MI. From there, I went on to mainstream CHR, Country, and then CCM stations in cities like Detroit, Las Vegas (twice!), Denver, and now I'm in St. Louis.

1. Tell us about Boost 101.9 (how the name was chosen, its mission etc etc)...

BOOST was started by 99.1 Joy FM. For years, the leadership felt called by God to do something meaningful with Joy FM's original signals. (Joy started on two rimshots before securing a full power/full market signal.) After thought and prayer, God focused them on a station for students (teens, young adults) that also played a role in unifying races in St. Louis. When I joined up last fall, we started nailing down the nuts and bolts of that big picture vision. I'm pretty sure the naming credits go to our imaging voice, Joe Szymanski ( !). We were bouncing around different concepts, and I think he was the first to throw "BOOST" into the convo. The name marries a few of the things both CCM  and mainstream Top 40 listeners want from the formats: energy, encouragement, motivation, etc. With those things in place, finding the right songs and artists for our unique vision led us to a rhythmic CHR approach.


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

Not sure who to credit, but it's such a no-brainer and not done nearly often enough. Experience your station the way your listener does. Driving around. At the desk. WITH distractions. While you're juggling texts, phone calls, your coffee, etc. Without turning the volume UP when a song is done as we radio geeks are prone to do. Sure puts what we do into perspective, both good and bad, and helps you clarify what you need to do to cut through to what really matters for your audience.


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

"Proud" can be a loaded word. I'd rather go with grateful. To have been given a chance to create a new station/semi-new format from scratch here at BOOST would be near the top of my professional gratitude list. Personally, I'm so proud of who my wife and children are becoming thanks to God's work in our lives.


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

Diet Coke


5. Where will future air talent come from?

They'll be drawn TO us. We should always have our eyes and ears open and be watchful for tomorrow's talent, but I've found God almost always draws the right talent to the right station when each side seeks Him. Out of the six weekday shows on BOOST, only three of us have significant experience. The other three somehow found their way to the team by following God's voice.


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

Not really a black and white question. In some situations, it makes sense and makes the product better. In others, it makes the product weaker.


7. Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Boost 101.9?

To state the obvious: dolla dolla bills yall. Christian AC has found great revenue models on the commercial and non-commercial side. No young leaning or progressive Christian format can claim the same. There are small pockets of success, but not enough to create a national (or even regional) movement. And without that....without a viable way to fund and grow such stations, few labels, business partners, etc. will see compelling reasons to create music and products for formats like BOOST. There's a certain return that can be counted on with Christian AC music, and that generally serves to make the product better and better. This doesn't hold true beyond AC.


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

How much time to you have? Clearly, I'm thrilled to work for Sandi Brown, the GM of Joy FM and BOOST. Tenacious and visionary describe her well. Tim Collins at WHMX in Bangor, ME is a great sounding board and voice of reason. Dave St. John from KNWI can speak wise and harsh truths in profoundly gentle, loving ways. Jeff Connell.Tate & Dean at Z-88. Scott Herrold and his bosses, Brad and Chris Staley at SOS Radio in Vegas. SO much wisdom and integrity there. On the mainstream side, I've always tried soaking in wisdom from afar through Elroy Smith, Dave Robbins, Tom Poleman, Erik Bradley, Greg Mack, Electrifying Mojo, and my old airchecks of WHYT/Detroit, among others. I know I am leaving a lot of good people out. I'll toss and turn in my sleep all night over it. Sorry.


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