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Radio Interview


Barry Armstrong

General Manager

Spirit FM Network

Lynchburg, VA.



Barry's Career Capsule
Started at Spirit FM in the Summer of 1992
1. Tell us about your market and how it is unique?
Spirit FM is a cluster, or network, simulcasting over 6 full power stations and 4 translators, with more of each to come. Our current footprint is a good 5 or more hours drive from corner to corner, covering Southern West Virginia, through Southwest and Central Virginia, well into North Carolina. Being local in that coverage area is pretty unique!


2. What is the most fulfilling aspect to you personally about Christian radio?

We have been on for 10 years this past July.  I love meeting families who have been listening since day one, meeting kids who have grown up listening, hearing how the station has made a difference.  And meeting new families, with new kids, listening. This has been very personally fulfilling.


3. How has God used you in your role at Spirit FM?

I am not really comfortable with that phrase.  God lets me be here to watch Him do a wonderful work. Seriously.


4. What is the criteria that determines if a song receives airplay on your station?

I have no idea.


5. What kind of promotions work best for your station?

Consultant Mike McVey said something several years ago, at the A/C seminar in Atlanta, that has really stuck with me.  I don't remember anything else he said that day, but it was something like: "You are the only format that knows where 60 to 70% of your listeners are for at least 2 hours every week.  I would find a way to use that."
Out of that was born our VBS Express.  We try to visit 100 Churches every summer with a brief, memorable, high energy program. We place branded, fun, take-home items in the hands of 10,000 kids.  It is a big undertaking, but I am pretty sure that over the past 5 years my staff has been in more churches, more towns, met more local church leaders and volunteers than possible any other way.


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

I could have answered that much better 15 years ago.  I knew a lot more then.  The business of music and ministry is so sophiticated and complicated now, I really don't know.  If I have to answer, I would say, provide us with authentic, artists who love people and have proven ministry, not just talent and performance skills.


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

Lack of vision.  New media choices. I recently drove a rental car from Michigan to Virginia, about 12 hours, with integrated XM satellite. I did not listen to local radio for the entire trip, except when it lost signal in the mountains of West Virginia.  I said to my staff, "If I was in local radio, I would be concerned about this product... oh. wait..."


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

Facilitate good radio.  Let people like you. 


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

There area a bunch.  KSBJ, KLove, WCQR, WMSJ, WLAB -- a number come to mind. I especially love the small and medium market winners.


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

Great question.  I ask myself that almost everyday.  In the big picture, I see more consolidation, more networking, fewer small players. Vision, talent and innovation will always find a market.


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