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Feature Interview

Matt McNeilly

Program Director


Ft. Lauderdale

To contact Matt click here


Matt's Career Capsule

This year I celebrate my 19th year in Christian radio which means when I started there was a strange hybrid in radio of carts, reels, CD’s and automation. Although some of those have a nostalgic place in my heart, I definitely don’t miss them. Over the years, I have had a chance to do ministry all over the country through radio and landing in South Florida almost 3 years ago. I am currently the Program Director of ReachFM and I also have the great pleasure of co-hosting The Reach-FM Morning Show with Rhonda Castagna. Prior to coming to South Florida, I had the privilege of living in Nashville, TN and co-hosting The Melissa and Matt Show on WAY-FM.

I am the father of 3 crazy boys (Noah, Isaiah (Zaiah), and Canon), and have been married to my beautiful wife Kelly since 2001.


1. Tell us whet's new at Reach FM, news changes etc?

Everyone at ReachFM is excited for some coming changes, the largest of which is a brand new signal that will cover all of Metro Miami.  This is huge, not just for ReachFM, but for the community in general.  Miami has very little Christian radio (mostly Spanish) and currently does not have an English speaking Christian MUSIC station at all. As you have probably seen in the media and in films, Miami is a lost city and needs the hope and love of Jesus in a big way, so this is truly a Godsend.

Another change for us is, with this new signal, come new opportunities for promotions and support and we are excited to be adding a couple of new team members.  We are looking to fill the roles of Promotions Director and Donor Relations Director to help the overall impact that we can have on Miami. You can find out more about these positions in the jobs section (


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

There have been a number of people that have given me some great programming advice, the best of which actually changed the way that I did radio.  The advice… “Make it about her”.  I know that this is simple and everyone knows this, but before this was brought to my attention I never realized how much I didn’t make it about “her”. There is no better way to connect to your listener than to make it about them and relate specifically to them. So, get to know who your audience is and what they want to hear.  South Florida has a very diverse population from New Yorkers to Haitians to Canadians and Jamaicans, so programming to “her” can be a pretty big challenge, but just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s impossible.


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

This may sound like a funny thing to be proud of, but I am proud that I am still in Christian radio in general. I have had some extreme ups and downs in my career and jumping ship was either the best option or the only option. For example, the economic crisis about 5 years ago affected a lot of people and my family was no different. The network I was working for shut down and I was left to fend for myself. I felt like throwing in the towel, leaving Christian radio getting a good paying job in my hometown… so that’s what I did.

I am very proud to say that God was not finished with me in the ministry that He called me to and 6 months later I was blessed with a job with WAYFM.  This was my rebirth into Christian radio and I couldn’t be more excited about the future.


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

No question… my team. We have a small team here at ReachFM and like many Christian stations, everyone wears multiple hats. There is no way that ReachFM would be where it is today if it were not for them. My team can do really BIG things with very little.

(Oh, also my Bose headphone and a Cliff Bar)


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

I am a big fan of YouTube and have seen some amazingly talented people there. I would not be surprised to see some new talent come from there or other social media sites. I am also seeing interest from a number of mainstream on-air talents desiring to coming over to the Christian arena, which could be cool.


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

I don’t think this is a black and white issue. I believe that syndication is fantastic for certain stations and markets, but can be harmful to others.

Syndication takes most if not all of the local feel away from a station, but is usually hosted by amazingly talented people. You have to decide what is most important for your station.

For small stations with small budgets, it is often a good option because it is affordable and small stations usually have a hard time finding good talent in their price range.

On a side note… If you do Share-a-thons or Pledge drives, syndication can sometimes bite you when you have to cover those hours.  Just sayin’.


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

I hate to say what everyone else has said in the past, but TECHNOLOGY.  It will always be the biggest competitor of terrestrial radio, but if we can continue to be relatable and important to our listeners and use technology to our advantage we will be a viable and relevant media outlet for years to come.


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

Growing up in Southern California, I listened to a lot of Mark and Brian, Rick Dees on KISS-FM and “The Real” Don Steele on K-Earth, but I wasn’t the guy who grew up longing to be on the radio.  So, I wasn’t really influenced by them, but will always remember how cool I thought they were. 

My real influences have actually come from the Christian radio scene. From a consultant standpoint, I have learned more from Tommy Kramer than anyone else. He has changed the way that I present myself on the radio in a big way and I owe him a lot.

As for an influential Program Director… Jeff Connell, hands down. I have never worked with someone so real and passionate about his craft. I have caught myself saying “What do you think Jeff would do?” on more time than I’d like to admit.

When it comes to talent, my time at WAYFM gave me the opportunity to work with the talents on Brant Hansen and Wally.  Although I did not spend much one on one with Brant, I did get to with Wally. Believe it or not, Wally is a wealth of knowledge and experience. I don’t think he realizes how much of an impact he has made on me.



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