The Christian Radio Homepage



Radio Interview



Chalmer Harper

Program Director


Kingsport, Johnson City, Bristol, TN/VA



Chalmer's Career Capsule
As soon as the microphone was turned on at WEHC, Emory & Henry College, Emory, VA in 1998, I knew I wanted to pursue radio. I spent a lot of time moving through the ranks of my college FM (with 100 watts,) and became General Manager as a junior, a job typically set aside for seniors. From Emory & Henry, I interned at WAY-FM in Nashville, and Love 89.1 in Knoxville. I came to WCQR through a part-time weekend shift. I was hired as an on-air, weekend personality through my senior year at school. Afterwards, WCQR was kind enough to extend a full-time production director/evening talent position as my first job in radio. Since then, I have been WCQR's Afternoon talent, APD, and now, Program Director.


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

I don't think you separate the two. Our business IS ministry.

Everything that we say and do is a reflection of our transformed lives, and we must try to model after the one who transformed us. Jesus formed relationships. Jesus sang. Jesus laughed. Jesus cried. Jesus gave praise. Jesus even had to figure out a budget for his group. If we are true to our calling, then I think the two are inseparable.


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

I think Christian radio has become smarter, and more competitive, because of that intelligence. We are constantly striving to connect to our audience in different ways, and are winning. Christian radio has put aside the days of anything goes for a focused strategic plan. We are beating out formats in our market, because good radio is king! I don't think anyone 5 years ago would've imagine how the "Christian station" in town would be their fiercest competition.


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

A PD needs to have a passion for great radio, the creativity to bring that about, a focused plan with set goals to achieve, great coaching and cheerleading skills, a staff that follows their lead (and wants to see the whole team succeed,) someone who will hold them accountable and challenge them, a learning spirit, and a humble heart.


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

I feel picking songs is an art balanced on research and a good gut check. For me, a song must have incredible lyrics, a great hook, vocal integrity, keep you interested all the way through, and must fit with the format.


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

The best promotions are those that you can offer an experience.

Create something special for (in my case) her. Go beyond the prize closet, and bring the world to lay at her feet. Show her YOU are listening by offering things that she needs, that she wants, and things that she cares about.


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

I think the record labels do a great job, and I appreciate the fact that they work with us. I think we all need to continue to forge open and honest relationships with one another. The greater the friendships, the better this industry becomes.


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

The biggest obstacle that we face is thinking that we know it all, and are doing it right. We must continue to learn and self-examine for the betterment of the station, the community, the listener, and ultimately for God.


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

The main responsibility of an on-air personality is to connect to their audience by relating life in a genuine, friendly way.


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

I would say a select people are innovators, rather than the stations...I will name one person. I had the privilege of being mentored by him...Jason Sharp (former WCQR PD now PD at KTIS/Miineapolis) .


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

Taking the world by storm!



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