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Feature Interview

Rob Dempsey

Operations/Program Director

His Radio Network


To contact Rob click here


Rob's Career Capsule

My start in radio began as a homeless teenager, addicted to drugs and alcohol. A youth pastor who reached out to me during this time introduced me to WCIE in Lakeland, Fl. One night while leaving a bar WCIE was on the radio. I had given up on life. Dave Stewart reached out over the radio. It was as if he was speaking to me. "God loves you" he said "He will never leave you nor forsake you." He prayed the sinner's prayer and at that moment I rededicated my life to Christ. Then I prayed another prayer. "God, I want to do what that guy on the radio is doing." I never believed that prayer would be answered. However, it was. One year later I became a volunteer DJ at WLPJ in North Tampa. God was using me to help others the same way WCIE helped me. Easter Sunday 1988 I began a part time shift at WJIS in Sarasota, Florida. It was here that I learned how to do radio. By January 1989 I became the full time overnight announcer. In the years to come I became well versed in radio. The job duties performed were Traffic Manager, Production Director, Program Director, Station Manager and now Operations/ Program Director for His Radio in the Carolina's and Georgia.


1. Tell us what's new at His Radio. (additions, changes, morning show).. ?

Staff has changed recently in the past 5 years with Brittney Switala as our midday host in our Raleigh studios. Brian Sumner joined the team as Afternoon Drive host and Promotions Director, Jim Mann serves as our morning show producer and Alison Storm just joined the morning show. Alison comes from TV and has brings skills that is helping to make our presence stronger online through Social Media and SEO. 


2. How has His Radio evolved since you joined them?

ot has changed in the last 15 years. We have entered into the digital age with the soon release of a new app that connects people to people and the station, redesigning the website and have been innovative with video. No other station in the nation is doing full video integration like HIS Radio. This is a first. Every break on the morning show is streamed “LIVE” then uploaded onto our “Video Replay” page. There is a lot of movement to our videos. Meaning video helps tell the story with tons of “B” Roll and use of sound bites. Sounds great on the radio and looks amazing to watch. 

Since June 2013 we’ve had nearly 1.6 million hits on our videos. It’s been amazing to watch. This week we’re debuting our Video truck. We can have a compete portable video/radio studio and plan to use this weekly to get out to were the people are spending there time. This Friday we’ll be at a Christian school broadcasting live.

Our goal is to not play catch up. I serve on a team of innovators that thinks forward. 


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

Strategy, strategy, strategy!!! It’s not about having a station that sounds good. It’s about having a relationship and that takes strategic planing. 

Worst - Don’t try to sound like you’re being a friend. Tell them what you want them to hear and know.  


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

Helping to build a team of forward thinking innovators. There is not a better feeling than being in the presence of passionate people who love what they do and want to make a difference in reaching people for Christ. 


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

Show Prep - being in the video world in the morning show prep is more intentional than ever. Because, every story must be done visually as well. Plus, I MUST connect with the team. Meaning, going beyond saying hello in the hallway. It requires going to their office or work space. Sitting down on a personal level and getting to know the people you serve with beyond the ministry shows the reality of who they are and why they serve. Caring for the people you serve with makes a big difference. 


6. Where will future air talent come from?

The talent pool of radio has shrunk. Our last hire had to beyond our talent pool. We hired a story teller from TV news. The next generation as the faces stuck in screens as the swipe with their fingers. We have to be more creative in were our talent is going to come from as we leap forward into the future of what we call radio today.


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

Depends on what your goals are for your station. At HIS Radio we have one air team spread in two markets. Plus, our foot print is in 8 markets. So, we’re syndicated in those markets were there is not a air talent present. It’s really about telling a good story. 

I am über on serving a the local market. But, it does go beyond having a jock show up on location.    


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

I grew up in Tampa Bay. That is were my heroes came from. Late 80’s it was the star of WCIE (Where Christ Is Everything) that reached into my heart as i lived on the streets alone. I was a rejected teenager and Jon Hull, Rita Christy, Bill Scott, Kevin Wallace and Laurie Lynn (Laurie Clark KLTY now). If it wasn’t for Jim Campbell having the vision in Tampa for a station that reached into hearts and serve the local church I have no idea where I’d be today. I owe a lot to Jeff Macfarlane who believed in me and gave me a shot and Allen Henderson who is my mentor and friend.  



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