started in the radio business in 1967 on an Easy Listening FM
station – WILE – in Cambridge, Ohio. After two years active duty in
the U.S. Navy keeping the Viet Cong from invading Charleston, South
Carolina – in 1970 I started working at WCSI in Columbus, Indiana. I
did mornings in Columbus and Kokomo, Indiana, and as a newsman in
Indianapolis, at Country Giant WIRE in the mid-seventies.
After moving west to Phoenix, in 1980, I worked for Buck Owens
Broadcasting at KNIX. Then from 1984 through 1999 I worked in
Bakersfield, California doing radio at Buck’s KUZZ, and as a TV
Weatherman at KBAK TV 29 and at KTTV – Fox 11 in Los Angeles. I
also worked as an actor with appearances on “The Tonight Show with
Jay Leno” as a regular member of his cast of folks in the videos
during the monologue. I also did television shows, television
commercials and voice over work. And a really fun job for a trivia
geek – I was a tour-guide at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.
1999 I had an opportunity to get back to doing what I truly loved,
radio. And best of all it was Christian Radio. I came on board
here at KAXL as Operations Manager. It was a learning experience
for me having never worked at a non-commercial station before, and
learning all the Christian artists – many of those were totally new
names to me.
However, God has brought me home and freed me so much in this job.
I have fun each morning. I am so blessed. I get to share my heart
and listen to great music.
Personally how do you keep the ministry in the “business”?
the ministry in the “business” comes from treating the job as a
business as well as a ministry. God deserves the very best I can
give to Him. I want my program to reflect professionalism, striving
to compete with the morning programs on the other secular stations.
I do NOT consider the other Christian signals on the dial here to be
2. Overall, how is
Christian radio different today, from 5 years ago?
In the last five
years I have seen Christian radio working harder to compete in the
marketplace. We do have the best message and the greatest “Love
Songs” on the radio. There is a “beat” to the AC stuff that is the
same as the AC in secular radio. It is a quality sound with top
notch production qualities. The listener who is scanning across the
dial and locks in on one of our songs, I believe, is likely to
sample a little longer because of the positive message in the song.
3. What do you think
are the main characteristics of today’s Christian radio PD?
Program Directors understand that we are in competition with every
other station in the market for listeners. The PDs I have met are
people of integrity. They are men and women who know that they are
working for our Lord. We want the best people we can find (and
afford). We want to put quality on the air and be good stewards of
4. What criteria do you require for a song to be played on your
When we put a song
on the play list, we make sure that it is a song that tells the
message we are working to convey. Not every song has to have the
“Come to Jesus” message that hits you over the head, but at the same
time, I don’t want to air songs that are real obscure in their
conveying the message. I really love the lyric styling of Mark Hall
and Casting Crowns. Their songs are all songs of conviction. Mercy
Me can be so very encouraging. There have been songs that have made
the “National Charts” that I haven’t added simply because there is
nothing in the artists’ bios that would even hint that they are
Christians. Listening to their other songs on their web-sites
didn’t even come close to a Christian message. Just because a
record label says, “Play this song,” doesn’t make me want to run
right out and put it on the air.
5. What kind of
promotions work best for Christian radio?
When it comes to
promotions, once again we like to keep in mind that we are handling
God’s money. Do we want to spend it on prizes for contests? Would
putting up cash prizes add to our listening base? I don’t really
believe it does. We get small items such as restaurant gift
certificates and items from other local business in exchange for
plugging them as providing the prize. One local music store,
California Keyboards, has done a great job in partnering with KAXL
over the years to provide giveaways during Sharathon, and during our
Birthday Celebration. One year we gave away a Yamaha keyboard,
another year a really nice Garrison Acoustic Electric guitar, and
this year they provided us with a “Praise Band” (instruments) which
we gave away to a church.
We also were
blessed with the funds to purchase a Honda Odyssey van. We take it
to church functions throughout town. Our Promotions Director uses
it for her errands, so it becomes a traveling billboard for us. We
also tie in with a local ministry called Jesus Shack that produces
concerts and ministers locally. Local pastors join us on the first
Tuesday each month for our Day of Prayer. In that promotion each
pastor will spend a half hour in prayer on the air for prayer
requests called in by listeners. We do four of those each Day of
6. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve
labels walk a fine line of providing good product to Christian
Radio. However, in the past it was tough to get the latest product
in a timely manner in the smaller (non-reporting) markets. However,
that is changing with web-site downloads available (plaympe.com) and
the JonesTM discs each month. That has saved me a lot of money in
the past few years. I used to go out and buy CDs so I could get the
latest from various artists. I am glad to see that the labels are
making it easier to get the product. Each song is, after all, a
commercial for their product.
7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian
Some of the biggest
obstacles still facing Christian Radio revolve around money. As a
non-com station, we have to rely on donations from listeners and a
limited number of business underwriters. Buying the latest
equipment and paying the staff competitive salaries for the market
place can sometimes suffer because we can’t necessarily get the
“best” of everything. I think we do a good job of squeezing the
most out of each dollar for our equipment needs.
8. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian radio
I believe that the
main job of a Christian radio air personality is pretty much the
same as a secular air personality as far as being a friend to the
listener, being informative and entertaining. But beyond that we
also have a great responsibility to be “Barnabas.” We are to
encourage. We are to uplift the body of Christ. We are to let
people know of His Grace. I do not believe that beyond the message
of Salvation we are to get in to doctrine. That is the job of each
When necessary I
give my story of being a prodigal who came home to the Father.
Anyone who has been in the family and left needs to know that the
Father still loves and wants them back. I had a pastor of a small
church tell me one day that he considers me as his associate
pastor. He tells his congregants to listen to me each morning and
to take to heart the message in each of our songs. One feature that
we do is our “Military Prayer” where we pray for our local (and some
not so local) folks who are serving our country in the military. We
post it on our web-site and every hour overnight and during drive
time we do a thirty-second prayer time for some military folks. The
parents of those service personnel take great comfort in knowing
that their loved one is in our prayers.
What (if any) Christian radio stations do you consider as innovators
I listen online
(and donate to) several different Christian radio stations. KCBI in
Dallas/Ft. Worth is where I got the military prayer idea. KDUV in
nearby Visalia, California, KTIS in Minneapolis/St. Paul and WNWC in
Madison, Wisconsin are stations from whom I have learned a lot.
They have been a great influence on their local markets and on the
radio world, as far as I am concerned.
Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
I think that in the
next five years Christian radio will be a truly strong force in more
markets. I would love to see groups of stations that band together
to play different formats of music (AC/CHR/Country-Southern
Gospel/Urban/Inspo/Talk-Teaching) all under one roof. For example
one non-profit group with each (or a few) of those formats could
share office staff, utilities, rent and all the expenses of running
a business. When you do Sharathon – pool the monies in a big pot
that doles out the money for all the expenses - keep track of which
stations bring in the lion’s share of the budget, so on-air
personnel could be expanded, to attract even more listeners and
Once again, I am so
blessed to be sharing this corner of the radio business with so many
wonderful people. At 3:30 am each day my prayer is that I may be a
blessing in my market… I pray that you may be a blessing in yours as