The Christian Radio Homepage



Radio Interview


Dave St. John

Program Director


Des Moines



Dave's Career Capsule
What a privilege this journey is.  Starting at WOC-AM/ Davenport, IA (“Ronald Reagan’s radio station”), I’ve learned a lot in 7 years of mainstream radio, plus another 12 years of opportunity to learn from people in Christian radio.  God’s put me everywhere from Duluth, MN and Waterloo, IA to West Palm Beach and suburban Chicago.  ‘Home’ has become Des Moines.  We’re raising our family here, and the roots grow deeper every day!


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

It really does start with the question, “what are you trying to accomplish?”  If a station is focused on the business, they have no room to ‘rise above’ the other stations in the market.  However, the beauty of Christian radio is the purpose is to be the conduit connecting people with God.  Focus on this, and listeners will connect and stay close to you.  In other words, the numbers follow as you connect for ministry’s sake.


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

Whether it’s HD or WI-FI, consumers are going to have a dizzying array of options as we go beyond terrestrial radio of the past 80 years.  Large companies are developing the product, and as each month passes, another market welcomes another Christian station.  This will only continue to grow.


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

Great question.  Today’s Christian radio PD has to focus on the objectives set before them by the station manager, and translate those objectives into relevant radio that is attractive and connecting to the listener.  Said another way, “personal agendas need not apply.”  When you accomplish this, you either hit home runs, or find that you and your station’s purposes are living in different countries.  I believe this is the #1 hang up for CHR radio today.


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

Research has shown clear and understandable lyrics are important to our target.  She wants to participate and be drawn in by the music.  Vertically driven songs continue to be page 1 testers.  We seek songs with these elements, done creatively and passionately that results in a song that connects at both an emotional and spiritual level.


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

Oh my.  This has been a big lesson for ‘06….after years of attempting the big and over the top, I understand at a deeper level now that fulfilling a common need is what it’s about.  Our biggest winners have been simple things like a gift card to one of those meal assembly service businesses, or a ‘lunch and learn,’ where we get together with one of the hospitals in Des Moines for lunch and speak on issues like tackling diet and exercise once and for all, or the latest on treating breast cancer.  Christian radio listeners also have big hearts: they love nominating a friend to win.  Great opportunities wait to grow your database and promote new listener awareness in that truth.


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

When all of radio and labels agree that the digital download services are downloading at an acceptable quality level, that’ll be great.


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

Pre-conceived notions from non-listeners, signal strength (for some), and we’re still a ‘new format.’  However, #1 is really having great talent.  You know, having that intangible gift that allows one to read the phone book and engage the listener doing it?  They may be a little off the wall and high maintenance, but great personalities consistently on-air would be out of this world.


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

Connect and share.  It’s been said already by so many great leaders: be real.  There are great talent coaches working in this format that have been instrumental towards accomplishing this.  If you’re a PD, I’d encourage you to get outside help from a leading station or consultant and then make time to aircheck your team to accomplish this!


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

The teams at Shine.FM and Radio U continue to innovate and try new ideas.  Spirit 105.3 also mixes up the tactics in their strategy to keep it fresh, and I appreciate their hard work.  As far as technology goes, Z88.3 hands down.


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

A much more crowded place than we’d planned on 5 years ago.  However, the good news is two fold: there’s always room for more people to get hope into America, and Christian radio already has thousands of stations- yet the best still rise to the top.  Regardless of how many options there are, the best will still rise to the top.



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