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Radio Interview


Brian Wright


Audience Development Group



Brian's Career Capsule
A broadcasting veteran of 30 years doing mornings, VP of programming, group PD for 20 of those years and then joined Audience Development Group

1. Personally how do you keep the ministry in the “business”? 

I believe you can show people your faith by doing your job with the very best of your ability all of the time. When people ask about your career you can then tell them that you could do nothing without God moving dramatically in your life. Ministry should never slow down your business, instead it should accentuate it. 


2. Overall, how is Christian radio different today, from 5 years ago?

It is better at targeting a particular age-cell and life-group. In years past we tried to over serve and be all things to all people. There is still a lot of this that goes on in Christian radio but the better we get at consistency the bigger audiences we will gain. There is no reason why most Christian radio stations can't be at the top of the pack in most markets. I know The Gospel is inherently offensive to some but not to enough people that it would keep us out of the top positions. Instead, it is what we are not doing that keeps us out of the top spots.  


3. What do you think are the main characteristics of today’s Christian radio PD? 

I believe too many PD's don't have the resources or help to get the job done the way they'd like. Many want to win but they rely on hope more than actionable steps. It's not about doing everything right, it's bout doing the right things. For example, I know of countless radio stations where the PD hasn't done a coaching session with his/her talent, including trackers, for many months and some years. Could you imagine how you would feel if your son's basketball team never practiced and only showed up for games. They sure wouldn't win many of those games. Today's PD is multitasking more than ever before and this causes focus and concentration to break down. The PD and the GM need to come up with a mutually agreed upon priority map to avoid this lack of focus.  


4. What criteria do you require for a song to be played on your station?

We advise the stations we consult to establish their overall priorities with our help. This would include, the message of the song and equally important is the impact this song has on the target audience. Just because a song has a similar sound of another popular song doesn't mean that it is going to be liked by the target. The goal is always to play a person's favorite song. This is what is expected from your audience. You usually lose when you play songs that you believe your audience should like but maybe don't.  


5. What kind of promotions work best for Christian radio?

Ones that strike an emotional chord with your audience. These can be "Cause" promotions where you help a family in need or a group of people in need. Promotions that generate appointment listening are very effective as well. Today, increasing Time Spent Listening is a function of getting people to listen on more occasions instead of listening longer per occasion.   


6. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve Christian radio?  

I believe they are doing a very good job at this right now. They could possibly facilitate more core-artist access to radio but I know scheduling can make this very difficult. I've always believed the labels could sell more product if they advertised more consistently on the radio stations that are playing their product. Instead of spending big dollars on artist showcases, they could advertise directly to the consumer who listens to those radio stations.


7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio today?

Lack of revenue to develop and market their product! No other obstacle even comes close. Many have lived by the "Field Of Dreams" strategy which states, "If we build it they will come..." Some will but most won't. One of the biggest reasons Christians don't listen to Christian radio is because they don't know that the station even exists. And if they think one does exist their predisposition is that it can't be very good. We need to educate just like any other product or service. If a station develops their product to align with a significant number of people and markets that product they will win. It always works.


8. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian radio air personality?

To connect with their target audience in a multidimensional way that  leads to a full circumference relationship. We need to be the station that they listen comes to for all things...not just when they want a "spiritual boost." This requires never ending show prep and very good communication skills. All of this requires consistent training to develop and maintain.


9. What (if any) Christian radio stations do you consider as innovators today?

I believe that WCSG in Grand Rapids is up front in this area. This is why they are one of the most successful stations in the country. WMHK is another that I believe to be on the cutting edge. Others including WFRN in Indiana, KAMB in Merced, and WQFL in Rockford Ill.


10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?

The music product is the best it has ever been and we know that we can be the leader in the market so it really depends on what each station does. Where Christian radio will be in 5 years will be the result of the decisions each individual stations make. If we don't do the right things we will be right where we are at today or even move backwards. Remember...What was good enough to get you where you are at today will not be good enough to keep you there in the future.



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