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Feature Interview

Tim McDermott

General Manager



To contact Tim click here


Tim's Career Capsule

Tim has been in broadcasting 35 years, 24 of which leading KSBJ.  Previously he worked as a PD in radio in Pennsylvania (he’s from Philly) and also in Tulsa, Waco and Austin.  He still gets to play DJ on the air at KSBJ hosting Enter His Gates, the number one show in radio in Houston on Sunday mornings.    He also has a strong background in business and has his CPA.   Industry wise, Tim serves on the NRB Board and years ago he, along with Dick Jenkins and Wayne Pederson started CMB.  He has spoken at national and international conferences and mentored stations in Europe, South American, Africa and Australia.

1. Tell us what's new at KSBJ, news, changes, expansion... etc.?

KSBJ’s vision is to use contemporary Christian music to unite our world.  Jesus prayed in John 17:21 that we would be one, so we are working to answer His prayer.  I love the fact we get to see that locally and internationally with the work we do.   

As far as what’s next, we have some initiatives I am excited about.  We are going to take our prayer ministry to the next level and start offering a counseling component.   Besides praying for people, we are now going to offer them resources to equip them to meet their needs.   We are also excited about NGEN radio and have just hired a new station manager to take the station to the next level.  He has some fresh new ideas I am excited about.  In our mentoring department, we are looking at adding a bi-lingual person to help us mentor radio stations in Central and South America.  Our mentoring program continues to be a powerful way to impact radio stations across the US and across the world.

I have been here a while and I can tell you that KSBJ has had more favor and connection with leading influencers in our city in the last two years than we have had in all my years combined.   I can’t tell you how many major leaders I have met who didn’t know we were that big and now want to work with us  I really believe God is using these connections to help us impact Houston in a bigger way. 


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

BEST ADVICE: Vince Lombardi’s Famous “This is a Football talk” that he gave to his teams every year.  Brad Burkhart did a seminar with that theme YEARS ago.  The programming point is this - to be great – its’ about doing the basics well.  Too many times we get distracted chasing something new and crazy where success is found in just doing basic radio well.  Our team does that and we are blessed.

WORST ADVICE:  I love praise and worship and still host our praise and worship show every Sunday morning – so I am a little biased here.  But I remember back in the late 1990’s having a strong programming discussion where I was told praise and worship artists like Chris Tomlin don’t work for AC radio.  I was playing his songs on our praise show but they said it would never work during the week.


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

I love my family. Trudy and I will celebrate 33 years of marriage in July.   I am most proud that our three daughters (Darcy, Sara and Michelle) have been able to grow up in the same area all their lives.  In most broadcasting careers, you have to move around a lot which can impact the family.  I have been blessed to have stability for my kids.  I can tell you as a boss to our 75 employees here – I really want that for them, too.


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

Spending time in my prayer closet.  If you come to my office, you can see I really have a prayer closet – and I use it!  I keep my Bible, journals and music in there to worship God.  And I have a prayer tree (thanks to my assistant Kathy McClanahan) which lists all my employee’s names.  I even have a few business cards hanging on the tree from people whom I’ve promised to keep in prayer.  My natural nature is not very good.  I know my reactive tendencies and they aren’t good either.  But when I spend time in my closet, I plug into His spirit to give me what I need for the day.  I can’t tell you how many situations I have turned over to God in that closet.  It’s like my little slice of holy ground. 


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

I was at NRB this year and got to hang out with some of the intercollegiate broadcasters.  I even spent time with one young man, who was a friend of mine’s son that I had met while teaching a married couples class at our church.  He shared his passion and dreams –which were the same ones I had 40 years ago.  So that told me God is still calling and raising up young people with a desire to impact the masses for Jesus Christ.


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

I am a fan of great radio!  I don’t think one or another form is necessarily good or bad in itself.  Each form has a purpose and can do things other forms can’t do.   KSBJ is a local community focused radio station – so we engage primarily from that perspective.  When the flood hit last week, we quickly adapted our programming and content to be relevant to meet that need. That’s the advantage of having local programming.  But we also air syndicated programming like 20 The Countdown Magazine.  I believe a station has to decide what it wants to be and then take into account the resources you have.  Sometimes for great radio, you have add syndicated programming to maintain that great quality and connection.  Good Christian radio is the perfect balance of ministry and business.  It’s not one or the other – its’ both.  If ministry is the only thing, you risk not having sustainable existence.  If business is the only thing, you risk connecting with your audience in meaningful way and therefore even having an audience.  If you have both you can use all the forms of radio to have a sustainable ministry and an impactful great product.


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

Mission drift.  Distractions.  My board preforms an annual evaluation of me. This year I have five specific goals I am working towards.  I have shared with my leadership team that these are my primary foci for the year.  If something comes my way and it doesn’t fit those five goals then I am saying no.  In my mind (and the board may think differentJ), I am having a very productive year.  When we started this idea of Christian radio, we had purpose of why we got in this.  Many of us wanted to change the world through Christian music. With the business pressures of survival and the new world of competition, we can get off course and lose our purpose of why we are doing this and whose kingdom we are really building.  If we had a revival of sorts – in our industry – and a renewed purpose, I believe we would see even a greater impact through Christian radio.  We spend a lot of time on smaller issues and we need to spend more time making the main thing – the main thing. 


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

There are so many people who are awesome in the industry and with whom I respect.  Excluding the people I work with – whom I already think are the best - some of my heroes/influences include:

Bob Lepine – I worked with Bob years ago and I was impressed with his leadership style.  He wrote a lot of articles years ago in CRR which really impacted me.  I have employees tell me who worked for him and me that we are lot of like.   I take that as a good thing. J

Dick Jenkins/Mike Novak – I am very impressed with what Dick pioneered at KLOVE/Air 1 and what Mike has done since then to make it even bigger.  Those guys are good!  Pretty impressive work for the Kingdom.

KLTY – I was up in Dallas last week and listened to them.  Same DJs for all these years.  Wow.  Same great sound.  I have a lot of respect for them.

Dan Patrick (yeah, the sports guy) I think he does the best interviews on radio.  He has such high emotional intelligence and asks powerful questions.  We could learn a lot from him in Christian radio.



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