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Feature Interview

Barry Armstrong




To contact Barry click here



Barry's Career Capsule

Barry Armstrong was drawn to electronics and broadcast communications since childhood. As a teen he hung out at radio stations until they put him to work. In his career he has produced film and TV  documentary programs and a feature length film.  He managed his first CCM radio station, WQFL, Rockford IL, from 1985-1990. After another short stint in Christian TV, he joined the team building Spirit FM, WRXT Roanoke, VA in 1992 and signed that station on in July of 1994. In 2002, He merged WRXT with Positive Alternative Radio. Barry retired from Spirit FM and PAR in July of 2013. In August of 2014 he was hired by Liberty University to reformat and rebrand Liberty's Victory Radio Network.  He is GM and current morning show host of the new Journey Radio Network, with 7 full power and 18 translators in Virginia and North Carolina.


1. Tell us about the transition to The Journey?

WRVL and the Victory Network, (owned by Liberty University) had a 33 year history of teaching/preaching and inspirational music. They had great technical facilities and a huge footprint, but a shrinking audience.

After a year or retirement, in July of 2014 I was asked by Liberty University to lead the format and brand transition. They had been considering a major overhaul for some time. I came on board in August of 2014 and we started planning the new brand and imaging.

The last teaching/preaching programs aired on the day after Thanksgiving and we went all Christmas music the next day. The day after Christmas we “unwrapped” the new Journey brand and format.


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

Best:  Know your target well, consistently play the hits THEY want to hear, talk about things that are important to your listener and get deeply involved in the community.

Worst: Play a wide variety so there is something for everyone.


3. Regarding your career, you became semi retired from radio a few years ago then back came back, how did that decision come about?

We co-founded Spirit FM in 1994 and retired in the summer of 2013. As we approached retirement age, it seemed the time had come for a fresh vision to take over leadership. My wife, Linda, and I poured our lives into that ministry and we are proud of the legacy and friendships God gave us.

We knew that we would continue to be engaged in ministry, but had no idea this (The Journey) was coming. The role I am in now is certainly one of the biggest surprises of my life and I am having an absolute blast.


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

There are many tools I use and so many important relationships that inspire and motivate me. I have a great team and work for an amazing organization... I don’t know how to pick one. If I had to pick, it would be the team. 


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

I don't have any special wisdom here, but I think it's going to get really interesting. Podcasters, Social Media, Youtube? Open auditions? (Check back with me in 6 months on this one)


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

To be honest, I might just be a poster child for syndication! We affiliated with Christian FM, which provides arguably some of the best on-air talent in the nation. Radio is about content and great talent trumps local 80% of the time, in my opinion. Not that you can’t have both, because clearly, many in our format do. Execution is the secret sauce of syndication. And with a great team you can use the best syndication and still be very local.


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

Fewer exclusive markets for one thing. Direct format competition will be more and more of a factor. No one has a franchise on the format.  And the generational issue is huge. The statistics about radio use by 20 somethings and younger are frightening. That is one big reason “multi platform” is so much part of our conversation… indeed, our future.


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

Out format has a lot of amazing innovators and pioneers. These three come to mind. 

Jon Hull was my first mentor, and has continued to be an example and mentor. Jon has always had a good grip on the present and vision for the future. My friend Bob Augsburg, founder of WAY FM. He fought hard for his vision in the early days and was one of the first Christian radio guys to start thinking and planning strategically. Dick Jenkins, founder and past president of Klove/EMF. Because he had the audacity to envision a true nationwide Christian network, and surrounded himself with the team to pull it off. 



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