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Radio Interview


Chris Gilbreath






Chris's Career Capsule
Started in 1985 at Walla Walla College in Washington state, announcing classical music and very mild CCM.  I Started a CCM show on the local Top-40 station while I was in college, eventually worked into programming and later still, managing that station.  Three years at KBBO/KRSE in Yakima, WA doing Christian music on the AM and mainstream soft AC on the FM. 10 years at Positive Life Radio in Washington state as PD then Ops Dir.  3 years as a station owner, including Christian CHR 97-7 The Fire in Pullman, WA.  Just over a year now at KTSY Boise, ID as Operations Manager.

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

When you get listener calls, emails and letters on a regular basis telling you how God is working through the station, it’s helps you realize that it’s far more than just a business or string of songs.


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

We’re still growing in terms of impact and professionalism.  More recently, I think we’re realizing how important regular emotional connections with the listener are in a time where their money is tight and every expense and every gift is being looked at again.


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

Multi-tasker extraordinaire, and a servant’s heart. 


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

I’ll defer to our music director, Travis Culver, on that one.


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

Prizes that money can’t buy, and a way to participate that engages as many people in as possible. 


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

Assume that we know what we’re talking about when we say we know our audience and their tastes. Our very livelihoods are on the line if we take the music off in a direction that the audience doesn’t want to go.  Understand that in a day of shrinking playlists, one new add makes far more impact on your station sound than it used to, to our benefit or to our detriment.


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

The biggest obstacle is still getting people with a Christian experience to give Christian radio a fair chance at impacting their daily life.  So many of them only stop by Christian radio on their way to church, or when things go really wrong in life.  We also need enough signals to go around in large markets that we can afford to do something that lets the next generation fall in love with “their” version of Christian radio.


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

To be an interesting human being on the air, one that lives the same life as the core listener and can bring a refreshing, relatable view of that life to the table in bite sized pizzas, I mean pieces.


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

Anyone who is coloring outside the lines of music and topicality that most of us have put around our format, but that the listeners don’t see.  The Fuse, Pulse 99.5, the Total Axxess show. 


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

Playing more songs from the mainstream with positive messages, or playing more songs from Christian artists who forgo the Christian music industry and are working in the mainstream.  To paraphrase T-Bone Burnett’s way of putting it, we’ll be back to playing more songs that are about what you can see because of the Light, not just singing to or about The Light. 



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