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Radio Interview


Bill Carl

Program Director





Bill's Career Capsule
I began my career at WCIE in Lakeland in 93 as a part-timer and over the last 12 years have worked mainly in the Tampa Market in Christian and Country Formats with the exception of a 4 month stint in Richmond a VA at WDYL, a year of traffic reporting, and 3 years with CNI, producing several CCM based programs for Praise TV and Pax Television.


1. Tell us about your market and how it is unique? 

Tampa-St. Pete is unique in the abundance of radio choices in general and Christian Radio specifically.  In addition to a large number of secular stations, we share air with the Joy FM, Moody, and Salem, so there is pretty much a format for every taste. 


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

The idea that, for us, increased ratings mean more than added dividends to some shareholder’s portfolio; growth in audience can actually represent growth in the Kingdom of God.


3. Here is your chance to testify on behalf of your station...How has God used WBVM?

In addition to leading people Christ, Spirit FM has been used of God to build bridges among all Christians. Having been raised Catholic, and now practicing as a Baptist while working for a Catholic owned station, I’ve experienced prejudice from both Catholics and Evangelicals.  Spirit FM is a place where some of that is healed.  When Billy Graham came to Tampa in 98, Spirit FM broadcast services live with the blessings of our local Bishop, Robert Lynch.


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

Before anything else, how does it sound?  Does it sound like something our target listener would stick around for? Others would say lyrics first, but who wants to eat filet mignon if it’s served from the bottom of a dumpster?  I do take lyrics into account insofar as there should be discernible content consistent with Christian worldview and life, either overt or subtle.  Great examples:  we play both “Voice of Truth” and “Dare You to Move”.


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

We’re trying to learn the art of opportunistic promotions.  Last month we found out that a local agency was doing car seat check-ups for free.  Nationwide 82% of car seats are the wrong type or improperly installed. Our target listener definitely has kids so we partnered with the Childrens’ Advocacy Center to give away free teddy bears and Babies R Us coupons to participants.  People with bad seats got new ones.  We got a ton of goodwill and exposure.  


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

I really like working with labels that go out of their way to help when they can, and will point us in the right direction immediately when they can’t.  Sometimes, I wish artist management was a little more radio friendly AFTER the first CD sells and in between concert tours.


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

Lack of available frequencies means stunted growth.  HD radio, IBOC, and net technology will eventually catch us up but in the meantime?  On another tangent, the talent pool is shallow because it’s cheaper to run on autopilot middays, overnights, and weekends.   Talent development demands a place to grow. 


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

Same as the non-Christian radio personality; be a friend, preferably an interesting, encouraging one the listener can enjoy time with.


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

The stations I try to model are not innovators in the sense of developing something new but WPOZ is committed to targeted consistent formatting and execution.  The PD I speed dial when I have a question about anything radio is Dean O’ Neal.


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

I hope to see a Christian radio installed on the console of my dream boat anchored on the reef off Marathon Key.  I’ll settle for stronger exposure to the mainstream and ratings growth that makes the guys at Clear Channel scratch their heads while preparing for a bankruptcy sale.



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