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Radio Interview



Matt Deane

Program Director


Wausau, WI.



Matts' Career Capsule

After graduating from Detroit's Specs Howard School Of Broadcast Arts in 1997, I began my broadcasting career at WLEW in the smallest town in America, Bad Axe, MI.  I started on the night show on the AM Country station, and after two weeks was bumped to Afternoon Drive/MD for the FM Hot AC.  I then moved on to my first PD/MD job in Big Rapids, MI, also taking on Afternoon Drive duties.  I know these are not well known towns, so here's some help.  Take a look at the back of your left hand, kind of looks like Michigan, right?  The top of your thumb nail is Bad Axe.  The knuckle on your ring finger is Big Rapids.  You can't do that with any ordinary state, now can you?!?  In August of 2001 I made the move to Christian radio at 89Q in Wausau, WI.

1. How did you wind up at 89Q?

I had always wanted to work at a Christian station, but the right opportunity had not presented itself.  The first three and a half years of my radio career were spent at two small market Hot AC stations in Michigan.  I found out about the opening here, and applied.  A few weeks later, Coy Sawyer, our GM, called and said that I was the guy for the job.  My wife and I came to visit Wausau and after lots of thought and prayer on the ten hour ride home, we decided to make the move.


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


I love being able to share music and words that aren't just fluff.  The product that we put on the air on a daily basis can impact listeners for eternity.  That's something that most stations can't say.


3. How has God used you in your role at 89Q?


Something that God is teaching me is I need to be open to the "distractions" that come up during the day.  It's very easy for me to become involved in the day-to-day business of running a radio station (which is very important) and not be open to the Holy Spirit's leading in a given situation.  Taking ten minutes with a listener or even a staff member can make a huge difference in their day.  I think God is using me to be an encouragement to those around me.


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

Our situation is a little different than some stations.  We are an affiliate of CHRSN (WAY-FM's satellite network), so we add whatever they add.  We also have a small category of our own songs that we spin locally.  When I look at a song, I want it to be charting well, which makes us a little slower to add.  I'm also looking for songs that sound like they would be played on CHRSN.  I don't want 89Q to sound like we're one station when we're with the network and another when we're live here.  It's a tricky balance, but I think we make it work well.


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

The promotions that work best for us are simple ones that are zeroed in on our target demo.  If we can do something that will effect Jenny (our target listener) in a positive way, it will be a big success.  One example is the Valentine's contest we ran earlier this year.  We asked listeners to share the funny or interesting circumstances that led to them meeting their spouse.  We had hundreds of entries and some great stories were shared.  The grand prize was a weekend away in a suite, with meals and flowers thrown in.


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


Honestly, I think the labels are doing an awesome job.  The only (small) thing I'm not a big fan of is sending a new single out in a sleeve instead of a jewel case.  Give me a case to go with that CD and it makes me a happy camper!!


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


Christian radio needs to decide to be the best station on the dial, not just an alternative.  Even if your station is "safe," listenership will not grow until you make the effort to become the very best station in your market.   


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


I think the most important thing a Christian radio personality can do is to share the love of Christ in a way that is relateable to people who are unchurched.  It's easy to start talking in Christianese, not realizing that someone who is not a Christian has no idea what you're talking about.  Jesus spoke in parables to make the things of God relateable to everyday life.  We need to be following His example if we are going to reach the lost.


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


WAYM in Nashville is doing an awesome job of focusing in on exactly what their target demo is looking for, and giving it to them.  We're very happy to be a part of their Satellite network.


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

Christian radio could be quite different five years from now.  I think it's great so many artists are crossing to mainstream and getting the credit they deserve.  I can see Christian music becoming more mainstream as well, with more Christian artists being nominated for mainstream Grammys and AMA's, and opening (and maybe headlining) major tours across the country.  I think this is a great opportunity for Christian radio to grow as well.  I think we need to continue to support (and pray for) these artists and see this as an opportunity to reach more people for Jesus Christ. 


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