started as an intern at Z88.3 (WPOZ) before ever leaving for
college. I had the summer off, and Melony McKaye (Our previous
Promotions Director) finally gave in and gave me a chance. I went
off to college at Florida State the following fall semester where I
interned for WAY-FM Tallahassee (WAYT). I had the opportunity to
build their promotions department during their sign-on in the summer
of 2004. After graduating from Florida State University (Go
Seminoles- Even though we are having an awful season!), I accepted
the Promotions Director position here at Z88.3. So, I am back in
Orlando, and I would not have it any other way! Promotions is my
passion, and I still canít believe that I get paid to do what I
Personally how do you keep the ministry in the ďbusinessĒ?
know that there really is a good answer to keeping the ministry in
the ďbusinessĒ except to keep praying daily about it and keep on
making a conscience effort to do so. Our staff meets together once a
week for devotions and prayer time which has helped all of us to
stay focused on the ministry. Iíve found that it is easy to become
numb when you get the million emails from churches and organizations
wanting you to be a part of their fundraiser, auction, benefit,
event, and the list keeps going on. Itís hard to say no to these
great events, but there is just not enough staff and time in a
lifetime to make it to everything. You are THE Christian station in
town; in their eyes you should be promoting all things Christian in
your area. Thatís where the business vs. ministry struggle comes in
for me. (Our free web calendar has saved us a lot of trouble. We
point people to our website to post their event for free, and that
way we are giving them an alternative instead of just saying no.)
how is Christian radio different today, from 5 years ago?
I feel like
Christian radio has really come into its own in the last five years
because we are starting to run these stations like radio stations.
Yes, itís a non-profit ministry, but that does not mean that we
canít do GREAT radio. God does expect our best, right? We are
offering family friendly radio, so in my opinion, there is no reason
that a Christian radio station should be any less superior than
3. What do
you think are the main characteristics of todayís Christian radio
Since I am not a
Program Director, I can only comment on what I see from my PD, Dean
OíNeal. He has a passion for Christian radio like no one I have ever
seen. He listens and respects each one of us as employees, and
believes in each of us which ultimately makes us want to be even
better. The passion and attitude that the Program Director has
really does set the tone for the way the rest of the office
criteria do you require for a song to be played on your station?
Scott Smith, our
Music director, and Dean O'Neal, our Program Director, both have a
clear vision for what songs fit here at the Z. Basically they choose
great songs with a powerful message, and then test them regularly to
see if our audience likes them.
5. What kind
of promotions work best for Christian radio?
Itís all about
telling a story! Caller number 9 wins a t-shirt doesnít work
anymore. Our listeners want to hear things that matter. Their
stories are what connect them to the radio station. I have found
that partnering with local medical groups about issues that matter
(i.e.: breast cancer awareness, colon cancer awareness, flu shots,
womenís health, blood drives, etc.) have a greater response than
giving away an all inclusive trip to someone who signs up at a
bumper sticker van stop. Thatís what sets us a part from secular
radio - We have the opportunity to make a difference. Our
General Manager calls it Oprah-radio. That phrase is
constantly on my mind. How can we tell a story and give our
listeners something that is relevant to them? Tickets to a concert
or a new CD just donít cut it anymore for good promotions. People
can buy them, and if they want it bad enough they will. Itís about
giving our listeners what they want instead of forcing them to
listen to what we want.
6. How do
you think Christian Record labels can better serve Christian radio?
From a Promotions
standpoint, I think they are doing a really great job. They teach
seminars at GMA letting us Promotions people know how to approach
them. They are working with us, we just need to be willing to work
with them and approach them the way that they request.
7. In your
opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio today?
In my opinion, the
biggest obstacle is how to reach new listeners creatively without
offending your listeners. It is tough finding that balance that
allows you to reach out to the unsaved, while still relating
to your audience.
8. What do
you believe is the primary role of the Christian radio air
I really believe
their role is to provide a safe environment on-air for families to
listen while in the car, at home or online. But I
also really believe that the air staff should not ďplay it
safeĒ by talking about fluff. Air personalities need to be relevant
to their audience. They need to make a connection with their
audience as a friend not a listener by talking about what is
relevant now. I go back to - telling their story, it connects your
listeners to the radio station. Your listeners are busy, so give
them something that is going to matter to their life.
9. What (if
any) Christian radio stations do you consider as innovators today?
Well Z88.3 of
course!! I know my boss is reading thisÖ
I really feel like
stations that are using consultants like John Frost are ahead of the
game. I know for our station, we are constantly being challenged
about the way we think and do things. I heard Lisa Williams (our
afternoon show host) say one time when I first started at
Z88.3 that she feels like we are constantly setting the bar
higher and higher until eventually we will fly. I believe that the
stations that are actually practicing what John Frost and people
like him are challenging us to do are the innovators of our market.
10. Where do
you see Christian radio in 5 years?
There is no reason for Christian radio to be
anything less in ratings than the 100,000 watt Clear channel, Cox
and Infinity Mega Stations. We are already seeing Christian radio
ratings rise all around the country. Christian radio is already
competing with secular radio in numbers. Give us another five years
to perfect it even more than we have in the last five years, and I
believe you will start seeing Christian radio ranked #1 in 12+
across America. Our demos are trying to protect their children from
the harshness of our world. Christian radio has the product, now it
is just a matter of perfecting the packaging of it.