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Radio Interview



Chris Lash

President/Operations Manager

WFSJ / Indiana, PA.


Chris' Career Capsule
Started on air in Christian Radio at the age of 13 in Union City, PA. While attending college I programmed stations in Erie, PA, then off to the winters in Buffalo, NY and Pittsburgh, PA.  Went into sales in Punxsutawney, PA and purchased my first station in 1996 in Johnstown, PA.  Retired in 1998 and then returned to run WDAD/WQMU in Indiana, PA.  And then the Lord lead my wife and I to apply for a new LPFM frequency in Indiana, PA.  We put 103.7 WFSJ on air on Feb. 22, 2003 and are off to a tremendous start.  During these years I also got to be a part of Groundhog Day and have been interviewed on The Today Show, CNN, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning,
AND was in the movie "Groundhog Day" starring Bill Murray.

1. How did you wind up at Fish FM?

When the FCC approved LPFM stations, I found the Lord leading me to finally return to Christian radio and apply for one of two open frequencies.  My wife and I prayed, planned and then both left our positions at the secular stations we were working for.  We've been blessed ever since in how WFSJ
came together.  We were already a part of a local Christian music festival called Godstock and wanted to branch that ministry into radio.

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

I have never been more motivated in my life.  The Lord gives us gifts to use for him.  And we are using all of them.  In only a month we have opened doors in local churches, the large state campus located here and with our listeners who share with us daily the impact the station is making on the
lives of their families.  It is truly the most rewarding radio I've ever been a part of.

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

Programming radio to me is an art form.  I want FISH FM to be the best radio station this community has ever heard because its for the glory of God.  You can work hard at it or ignore it.  I spend two to three hours a day just tweaking our sound to keep it fresh.  The incredible programming offered by the Christian Hit Radio Satt. Network based in Nashville, has made it easy.  Their format, staff and ministry are incredible.  What I do is take the local elements that are available to me and make them just as good or better.  Darren Marlar is our promo and station voice and just makes us sound larger than life.  I spend the rest of my time helping my wife Karen with underwriting, daily website updates and non-stop promotions. We have a listener appreciation concert on April 27th and sold it out in only three weeks.  And we've only been on air for five weeks!!

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

Working with the CHRSN network doesn't allow me to be a part of that on a weekly basis.  Programmer Doug Hannah does a great job of song selection.  I however base any criteria on the message in the song, the artist and what appeal will it have to our 18-34 demo.  A perfect Christian song is "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me.  This may be the best song in Christian music of all time.  It has the ultimate Christian message, sounds great and in this time of war could be and should be played on secular stations.

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

So far our promotions consist of ALL family oriented prizes.  A FISH family prize pack includes dinners, movie tickets, baseball tickets and more for the family to enjoy a night out together.  A large part of our ministry is concerts as we open this part of Pennsylvania to music they have never
heard.  Our first concert as I mentioned sold out in three weeks.  Two lucky listeners who attend the concert will win a Creation Survival Kit including tickets to the Creation Festival in June, a tent, suntan lotion, soap, sunglasses, a cooler and much more.  We also are producing a once a quarter
magazine called "The Fish Wrapper" featuring news, and articles about the announcers, the artists we play and more.  This summer we will be doing "License to Swim" where our listeners displaying our car window static stickers will win tickets to Sandcastle Water Park for their family and a grand prize of a swimming pool for their back yard.

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

Give us little stations service.  The labels have always had this as their weakness.  I shouldn't have to buy the cd's from Columbia House to play on air.  The artists should push harder to get their music out to a broader audience including every Christian station that plays music in any way.

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

Getting past the perception that Christian radio is old and boring.  Our community has been shocked and overjoyed by what they've heard on our station.  They really had NO idea how we would sound, because they believe that all Christian radio is about teaching and programming.  Those stations are very important!  However to reach a younger demo for Christ, you have to be non-traditional.  If we don't try to reach a younger audience with this type of Christian radio, they will be forced to go to secular stations because our alternative is not there.  I hope more Christian stations sign on or change to this format in the near future.  But when they do I hope they really work on making them sound better than any secular station in the market.  Remember we are seeking both Christians and non-Christians, and people can have short attentions spans.  Get their attention and make the IMPACT!!

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

This has certainly changed since the war began.  I think being that friend reassuring the audience that God is in control of everything certainly is primary.  At the same time entertaining, informing the audience on the music we're playing, and letting us hear about their lives, their families, their walk in faith and what the Lord has done in their lives.  Anything relatable to the audience is very important.

9. What other Christian radio stations do you consider as inovators today?

Top of the list is WAY FM!  Incredible ministry!  KLTY in Dallas is still setting the mark and the Salem formats also do an incredible job.

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

I see Christian radio stations that play HIT music and stay the course ending up being NUMBER 1 in ratings in their markets.  I'm already saying that WFSJ will be the highest rated station in Indiana, PA in two years.  We need to market ourselves as much as possible.  In all my years in sales, we always told clients how and why they need to advertise, yet we as radio stations don't do it ourselves. Those that do will be #1.


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