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Radio Interview

Corey Mann

Program Director


South Bend

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Corey's Career Capsule
Top 40 radio for 15 years....student ministry for 5 years...back into radio, (this time Christian AC) for 9 months and counting.

How has WPHZ evolved over the last few years? 

Staff changes...PD Tom Scott left in July 08 after a great 5-6 year run, leaving an empty spot in programming for a few months.  I stepped in that role in January 2009 along with morning drive.  Kimberly Ann is a 20 year veteran in middays with amazing talent, and a massive audience.  Marko has been in the South Bend market for 20 years, he is new to this format, (like me) but is an amazing guy who brings a new, fresh perspective to afternoons.  From an outside perspective, I always thought tempo and pace needed some work at Pulse FM.  It came down this for me, we have an opportunity to talk, and play songs about THE GREATEST MESSAGE IN THE WORLD and we made it boring.  Every song sounded like a ballad.  So I've been working on that.  We are a AC/CHR hybrid, so we lean hot.

I also think there needed to be an element of fun too, so the promotions are are attempting these days have a little more "fun" element to them.


2. Has WPHZ made any changes due to economic situation, been affected in any way?

Sure.  Promotional budgets are scaled way back.  Staffing is scaled back too.  But we are doing what we should all be doing, and should HAVE BEEN doing all along...watching what we spend, making sure we are spending correctly with the resources that are given to us.


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

Let's start with "the gut."  There are just songs that you hear and you know that this song will do well.  I believe that there are artists that do well.  I keep an eye on the core artists of the genre.  Song content is big too.  You cannot go wrong in our community right now with a song that offers hope.  (Recently we were named "6th Worse Place to Live" due to unemployment locally, 18% unemployment.  Our audience is hurting.  Some songs will connect here better than elsewhere.

I also watch itunes.  When people are spending money on music, to me that says it means something to them.  So there will be artists that pop up that I didn't have any idea about, but because of great sales and the way the itunes store is set up, I can go listen and do my homework on that artist.

And of course, you have to put on your "Ok, will a Female 25-34 Like This Song" hat too. 


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

No idea.  In my short time here, I haven't had a "Well, that didn't work" moment but you can always learn from what you have done and polish it up some more.  I can't believe how much access we, (radio) have with artists.  I think we all should take that out for a drive whenever possible.  If an artist is coming to town, put them to work.  I think working alongside an artist in a service project would be pretty cool.

If I learned anything in the secular-radio days, any time you can get out and meet listeners, shake hands, etc....thats a win.


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

The only suggestion I have is lets both keep dreaming up possibilities.  Let's not get stuck in the box of the same ol', same ol'...keep dreaming dreamers!


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

Being content.  The attitude of "Well, thats how we've always done it".  Getting too comfy in our roles.  My biggest error in my previous radio career was that I forgot what being a "listener" was like and thinking that I actually knew the type.  When I left radio, I became a dad-husband-listener again.  That was the most helpful couple of years as far as really learning your audience and their habits.

I think I have an advantage by not only working in secular radio, but also in the "outside world" for a while too. 


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

To be encouraging.  Don't try to be someone you are not.  Finding your voice takes time, and listeners smell a fake.  I'm allowed to have down-days too, and that will come out sometimes.  But being nice is huge!  I say that because in my "Top 40" days...I was not nice AT ALL.  All it takes is one word of encouragement to turn a listener's day around.


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

Sorry, haven't heard one yet.  That includes me.  I've got work to do.


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

Radio has changed so much in the last 5 years, so I'm guessing we'll look back at 2009 and giggle a little more.  I just want to be open to new ideas, new technology, and new artists that are hopefully leading the way in music for our genre.


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