The Christian Radio Homepage



Radio Interview


John Hayden

Program Director





Johns' Career Capsule
Having started in Christian radio at age 15 in Kansas City, Missouri,  John worked at KLJC in Kansas City where he served for 17 years and as station manager for the last four years of his tenure there.  He had a two year stint in Michigan serving as Assistant Manger at WUGN before being hired as Program Director for WMBI where he has served for the last four and half years.


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

Chicago is major radio market with over 75 stations competing for listeners.   There are lots of commuters in Chicago either coming into the city each day or leaving from the city to work in the suburbs.  Because of this, basic news and traffic info is a staple on every station. 

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

We have a built in camaraderie with our listeners by being part of the body of Christ.  Meeting listeners at remotes and station concerts is a blessing as they share how the station ministers to them. After every remote broadcast I take part in I tell myself  "we ought to do more of these".  

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

 I love my job. We have a great team and working as PD is a real blessing.  I think God has blessed me with a certain ability to make people feel special and important.  I want each of my team members to feel they are plugged in to where they can best use their talents. 

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

 Like most Light A/C or Inspo stations we look at the lyric and quality of music.  We also report for CRW so that is a big help to both be an influence and be influenced.   

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

 Simple ones.  We've tried some contests in the past that were somewhat complicated and they didn't have a big response.  If you can't explain it on the air in just a few seconds, it is too complicated.    Promotional items that are practical seem to get the best response.  We just had our annual listener golf outing and we gave away cool bottles of sun screen with station logo on them and packets of individually wrapped Chicklet gum with printed station logo.  Promotional items with a purpose- a big hit. 

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

I don't remember ever hearing from our National Music Director that he received a call from a label asking him how we could better be served.   That would be a nice start. 

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

 The pressure to cut costs and yet sound local.  We are going to have to be very intentional in remaining local to keep Satellite Radio from making significant inroads in our listenership. For our station, making some difficult programming decisions will need considered in order to focus on our primary target audience.    

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

There are many but I would say the primary role is "to spur one another on to love and good deeds".  To be a companion.  Radio is SO personal.  We have the ability to get into peoples lives and be with them wherever they are.  We can have a major positive impact on people by helping them see God's will for their lives.  That might mean giving them the helps they need to be a better father, a better mother, a better financial steward,  a more committed Christian, and the list goes on and on. 

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

Those that make programming decisions not based on how much money it will make but how much impact it will have for the Kingdom.  

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

   Maybe the Lord will have met us in the air by then....


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