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Radio Interview


Ryan Gagne

Program Director


Augusta, ME



Ryan's Career Capsule
From the age of 15, I've always had a desire to work in radio.  I've dreamed of working for the biggest station near my hometown of Oakland, ME.  I would practice being DJ, playing CD's at home and announcing on my computer system for fun.  At 17, I accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and my desire to work in radio withered away for 3 years.  I started getting into Christian music, my first CD, PETRA "Beat the System" then DC TALK's "Jesus Freak".  At age 20, a pastor friend of mine told me of a brand new Christian station looking for DJ volunteers.  I started volunteering at WWWA-FM in January 1999 and was hired full-time in November 1999 as an "everthing guy".  In March of 2000, I was promoted to Program Director and have held that position since.


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

Being in the Augusta, ME market is very unique.  Augusta being the state capital, there's a lot going on and there's a lot of Maine heritage located here.  When I talk to people and say I'm from a radio station in Maine, it seems a lot of people think that there's not a whole lot going on here.  But Maine and the Faith community is growing quickly here and Maine is blessed to have Christian radio from North to South with about 8 stations (2 of them under our ministry)


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

Christian radio is so unique compared to mainstream radio.  I've volunteered at mainstream radio stations and my perspective here is that it's not all about ratings; yeah we want more people listening, but want them to be encouarged by the music, the thoughts and most important use this radio station as a tool to point people to Jesus in a fun, worshipful way!


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

This station started out as a mix of all genres of Christian music.  In 2001, I saw the importance of worship in my own life and how it's demonstrated in lives around me.  Modern worship music seemed to draw listeners into our station, so we streamlined that particular format and has been the niche here in Maine & New England with Worship 95.3 FM.  We hear testimonies day in and day out of how blessed people are when they listen to worship from artists they know and love.  We've seen people come to Christ, testimonies of marriages being saved and God is using WORSHIP 95.3 now by allowing our signal to expand into more areas of Maine & New Hampshire.  We're extremely excited about that.


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

A few things.  First, is it a song that will be enjoyed 10 years from now.  That's the beauty of having people in our mid-30's who work & volunteer here and they can give their input of a song.  Usually wiyh artists that people know & love like Third Day or Michael W. Smith it's easier but we like to throw some new artists into the mix as well and see what the respose is.  Second, does it point you to God.  In other words, is there some worship elements in the song that will draw you to the Father.  Finally, if it mixes well with our classic mix ("Awesome God", "Trading My Sorrows", etc), then it will definately get considered.


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

They have to be fun, simple and relate to our core audience.  If the promotion allows the listener to do less work to get more, that seems to be successful.  The bigger the prize, the more incentive they have to enter.  Promotions that are "out of the box" wacky ideas can grab attention to our core.


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

We have to remind ourselves that we need to help each other.  What can our station do to help them?  Overall, I think Christian labels work very hard to make sure radio stations play their music.  Some labels I work with are very generous with their giveaways so our listeners can be blessed.  Being in a small market can be very challenging.  Often times, I don't get quick reponse from bigger labels when I shoot emails to them about promotion ideas, new artist info, etc.  Understanding they have a marketing focus in the top 50 markets, I take that into consideration.  Overall, my desire is for our team at WORSHIP 95.3 to continue to have a strong relationship with record label reps and let them know that we are working to help EACH OTHER.


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

I listen to a lot of Christian radio stations over the internet, when I visit out of town, etc.  I would say trying to keep a balance of the way we speak on the air & the station's sound.  Sometimes I hear stations that in an hour, don't mention the name of Jesus at all, other stations tend to preach or sound like they're "talking down" to you.  We have to find that balance where we have to glorify the Name of Christ yet present it in a way that a seeker would be interested in what you have to say.


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

To be the listener's friend.  Yes, we do the daily song announcements, time checks, etc.  However, what can we do to make the person listening be more encouraged and say something that will keep them listening or give them another reason to come back?  It differs for each station depending on the audience you're trying to reach, but we all need to be transparent and real.


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

I am a HUGE fan of WAY-FM.  I love their ministry.  They make themselves known as "Christian Hit Radio" and as a Christian station, but their approach is awesome!  They can encourage their Christian audience but make it very appealing for the seeker.  Also, AIR1 is up there as a personal choice!


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

Just to see how God is using artists in the Christian circuit now into mainstream outlets, I see Christian radio making more of an impact especially in a time where people are searching for answers.  Face it, we're living in a tense time with all the wars going on and issues are become desensitized to people, I believe God is using Christian radio as an awesome tool now and will have more of an impact to draw people to Him and to keep encouraginging those in their walk.


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