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Radio Interview


Johnathon Eltrevoog

National Music Assistant

Moody Broadcasting Network




Johnathon's Career Capsule
I began with Mornings, then afternoons, at WWGN/Ottawa, IL. Worked simultaneously at Newstalk/AC cluster WCMY/WRKX/Ottawa, IL. Headed to afternoons, later moved to mornings at WONU/Chicago. Most recently, headed to Moody Broadcasting Network as National Music Assistant.

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

Hard to say now because Moody is such a vast network covering the entire US. But I am most familiar with the Chicago market, and it is very unique. For quite some time, it has been the most competitive market in Christian music, simply because of the number of Christian radio stations that are in town. It makes things especially interesting, because in many smaller markets, Christian radio stations mainly don’t have to compete with one another. And while Christian radio stations never truly claim to be each others’ primary competitors (at least, not outwardly, in my experience), Chicago tends to be a place where you have to think about what the other guys in town are doing because there are several stations in town, all trying to get the same listeners. With the latest changes in town with Salem switching from FM to AM, it has only made things more interesting in town.


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

Short and sweet: to know that the work that you have done after an 8-hour day has affected people’s lives. Even though the job that I am currently in at MBN is not on the air, I know that decisions that we make and carry out affect what people hear all over the U.S., and it’s great to have a part in God’s ministry of Christian radio. I’ve worked a couple of jobs (outside Christian radio) in which I was just happy to walk out of the place after the day was over, dreading the next time work comes along. Not so around here.


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

Probably the best form of self-promotion that Christian radio stations do is airing those “Testimonial Spots” in which listeners tell how God has used their radio station in their own personal lives. If someone wanted to know how God uses Christian radio, all one has to do is tune into a “Prayer and Praise Day” that lots of stations are doing to precede the first day of their Shar-a-thons. God has used Moody Broadcasting for nearly 80 years to teach, inspire, and inform Christians as well as evangelize and make disciples, literally all over the world. I always remember my grandfather referring to Moody Bible Institute as the “West Point of Christian Learning,” and I can claim none of this, but rather just be thankful that God has been willing to use me at his organization in his way…on his air!


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

Sometimes there can be contention about this particular question in the inspirational format…and I have already talked to record promoters who can’t seem to nail it down. Yes, I know that Moody tends to do things a bit different than some other folks, but the most important thing for Moody tends to be the message. We’re interested in the sound, beat, and flavor of the song itself also, but I’ve seen some songs with a good musical base go down the drain because the message wasn’t as clear or strong as we’d like. This is a decision that was put into place long before either our National Program Director or I got here, and it’s something that I respect whole-heartedly. I appreciate Moody’s quest for “integrity” in its music (shout-out to Mark Giles), and I think that makes things all the more worthwhile around here.


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

I can speak for WMBI best because it’s the Moody station that I have been around the most locally. It seems that the promotions that work best for WMBI are the promotions that are highly visible in the city of Chicago. WMBI had a great presence in the Chicago Marathon, at the Chicago Gospel Fest, at the Chicagoland Speedway (with Collin Lambert traveling in a racecar at speeds exceeding 100 mph, making me wonder why I’m not in “Promotions”). Additionally, promotions that work best for Moody are ones that help people, and “promote” the Gospel, not just the radio station.


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

So far, my experience with the record labels has been stellar. Almost everyone that I have come into contact with has been overly graceful and more than helpful. But not everyone. Sometimes some people are just hard to get in touch with. And the strange thing is that the larger labels tend to be the most accessible. I think that the smaller labels need to work just as hard as the big dogs to service and communicate, return phone calls and e-mails, and be ready to do what they can, even though their resources can be understandably limited.


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

Egos. I truly think that Christian radio needs to be different than mainstream radio (obviously in programming), but also in personnel. You ought to be able to tell a difference when you’re working with a Program Director of a Christian radio station as opposed to a mainstream station. That especially goes for on-air people as well. And this has absolutely nothing to do with formats either. I’ve worked the Inspo side and the hot hit/CHR format, and it makes no difference what station you are at: if it is Christian, you need to forget about yourself and focus on your listeners, and the ministry and purpose happening. This may not mean you’re shouting “Jesus!” every time you open up your mic (or maybe it does), but being on the air and/or working in radio is never, ever about you.


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

The actual role of the air personality itself is to be a friend. Call it a buddy, companion, amigo, or just “the person you’re hanging out with,” but a real person. Being someone who listeners can’t help but relate to. Once you start using your “radio voice” or “announcing things” to listeners is when it might be a good time to step back and re-evaluate what you’re trying to do.


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

It was great to work at WONU Chicago to see the innovation being done there in the CHR format. Things are being done there which you won’t hear in many other places. WBGL/Champaign didn’t win the small market Dove Award for no reason. They are really working hard down there and deserve major props. I am amazed by work done at WQFL/Rockford and also WORQ/Q90 up in Cheesehead country.


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

It’s hard not to notice the trend of small (and even tiny) market radio stations beginning to better themselves in areas of programming and technique. Of course the major markets will always continue to get better and better, but Christian radio is made up of a LOT of small radio stations, and I think that over the course of the next five years or so, it will be harder to distinguish the on-air product of your small Christian radio station with some of the larger markets, simply because people are going to be aiming higher, which is a good thing.


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