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Feature Interview

Garrett Michaels

Network PD/Morning Host


Wausau/Stevens Point/Appleton/Oshkosh/Green Bay

To contact Garrett click here


Garrett's Career Capsule

I started in the late 80's at a small christian station in St. Cloud, MN but since CCM was new and not welcomed where I was, I left and spent several years in Top-40 and Country formats in MN, WI and MI.  I had the opportunity to jump back into CCM in 1994 in WI and never looked back.  I've worn PD, APD, MD and Production hats (many at once), along with 20-plus years of morning radio.  I was blessed to be out near Washington DC from 2010-2013 with Positive Hits PER and was blown away God that he would use a guy from Wisconsin.  We made the move back to the midwest in 2013 and have been working with Share Media Services as a Fundraiser and Consultant and also as the Network PD and Morning Host for the Family Network.  

1. Tell us any recent changes (news) at The Family...

The Family network is one of the largest christian radio networks in Wisconsin with three full-power stations and numerous translators covering several of the top 10 cities in the state, and that place where all football fans long to visit......Lambeau Field in Green Bay!  We are a 30-plus year legacy music/teaching station.  About eleven years ago the Family switched to CCM along with keeping many of the program elements intact.   I came on board to help the network move forward again, and right now we are in the process of moving to offer “Susan” more of the music she comes to us for, and are positioning for future growth and expansion.  As with any legacy station, there are some some sacred cows still in place and other growing pains associated with a hybrid station as we move forward.


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

Best Advice:  It's NOT about you!  It's all about HER!

Worst Advice:  Music testing doesn't matter!


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

Sure there have been awards for morning shows and production/imaging and knowing I've “played with the big boys.”  But honestly knowing that God took a broken guy from the midwest and is still using me today doing something I love more than I ever have.  When others said I was done with ministry....God said I don't think so!   I am SO humbled when He uses my story to impact others, or when I can sow into a staff member and watch the “lights go on.”  Those are the moments that I live for!


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

(1)   VENTI cup of Coffee, (1) Bible app on my iphone and (1) phone interface to record the “stars” of the show---the listener!


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

Starbucks, Best Buy, that spunky youth pastor, that mom who heads the PTA or maybe that junior high student laying awake at night listening to christian radio!  Years ago when I started, my colleauges and I fell in love with radio and worked for almost nothing(c' remember that don't you).  I don't see that passion in the next generation of broadcasters so we need to cultivate the “talent” that we find around us every day!  We need to be actively raising up the next generation of broadcasters.  They are ALL around us! we just need to seek them and invite them in for a “Jesus Adventure!”


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


I agree that live and local wins the day everytime with “boots on the ground” ministry, but (gulp) let's be honest, in some markets the live/local talent just seem to be warm bodies filling a seat.  Syndicated talent (or even a great non-syndicated major market voice tracker) can connect so well, and bring great content break after break, and it's hard not to be excited about it.  The draw back is they aren't at the event, parade, concert and living in the area.  

There in lies the 20-million dollar question doesnt it?  Since we have the best message on the planet, why wouldn't we want to make the best presentation with every break?  For some stations it means all local, some a mix of local/trackers/syndication, and for some with little or no air-staff then syndication is the best option. 

I have tracked for major markets like Chicago, Indianapolis and others and have been able to connect with listeners while living in a different area of the country.  So I get it---and it can be done!  Having syndication will continue to either challenge the live/local teams to keep growing and improving their craft, or make the stations that don't want to keep striving for exellence stay where they are.   


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

I agree with so many of my colleagues with this as it's simple...US!   Not believing that we can do it (we can with God's help), spending so much time trying to be like the “winners” out there, and not being willing to try new things! 

Why is being a “Carbon-copy cookie cutter station,”and thinking that the only way to improve and increase impact is to do what KXXX does have to be the goal?  You can drive from coast to coast and hear the same playlist, imaging voice and the “Drive Through Difference.”  All good things---but let's keep finding new and innovative ways to reach more with the message of hope through our music and programming.  I'm not trying to slam consultants (I'm one too and a couple are my GOOD friends), but each station does have a secret sauce to it and a local flavor that others don't.  It's our job as programmers to find out what that sauce is, mix it well daily and do it the best that we can in our market(s)!  That doesn't mean that tweaking a promotion or imaging statement isn't a good idea.  But let's think out of the box and be ready to keep reaching the next generations of “Becky” with some fresh ideas. 


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

I used to lay in bed in junior/senior high and listen to the jocks ramp songs and engage listeners.  SO many nights my parents would have to tell me more than once to “turn my radio off and get to sleep.”  There were so many talents at the time but shout outs to Chuck Knapp and John Uran in MN for instilling in me a love for this craft.  I bugged a guy named Brian Wright by sending him an aircheck every week for almost a year before he hired me on at my top-40 “dream job”, and it was Brian who taught me so many foundational things including making the “listener” the star of the show over 24 years ago.  Frankie Morea at Positive Hits PER saw potential in me, saw my heart and took a chance on a guy from Wisconsin.  I learned so many things from him and am grateful for my time ministering alongside my friend and brother.  Chuck Finney has helped instill things in me, “re-think” my breaks and has helped me connect deeper to become the talent I am today.  Chuck is the real deal and I'm humbled to call him my friend! 



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