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Radio Interview


Carol Baker

Promotion Director





Carol's Career Capsule
I 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 love!!


1. Personally how do you keep the ministry in the ďbusinessĒ? 

I donít 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.)


2. Overall, 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 secular radio. 


3. What do you think are the main characteristics of todayís Christian radio PD?

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 functions.


4. What 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 personality? 

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.



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