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Radio Interview


Scott Michaels

Program Director


St Cloud, MN.



Scotts' Career Capsule
Three years as the Music Director and Production Manager at Christian AC KBVM/Portland, one year as a News Anchor/Reporter at KPAM/Portland, seven months at Christian CHR WCLQ/Wausau as MD/Mornings, and four months as the Interim PD at Christian AC WQCK/Baton Rouge. Now the PD at Christian AC KKJM/St. Cloud, MN. Previous part-time experience includes Oregon Public
Broadcasting, Crawford Broadcasting Portland, Sabin News Network, KXL-AM, KUIK-AM, and Marathon Media Oregon.
1. You recently arrived at Spirit did you wind up there in your current position?

It's been a journey of learning life, love and radio. Every position I've worked has given me something to prepare me for the next, and not just in broadcasting. God's been good in bringing people to teach me things I needed to know...even if I didn't realize it at first. Some of the people I credit for being great role models or teachers include Coy Sawyer & Matt Deane at WCLQ and Darren Ryder at WQCK. Our GM here in St. Cloud, Andy Hilger and I spoke a few months back and had a real positive conversation. Our programming philosophies match and when it came time to make a decision
between a couple offers, KKJM and Minnesota seemed like a great fit for a variety of reasons.

2. What is the most fulfilling aspect to you personally about being a part of Christian radio?

I'd say being involved in the current growth of our format is pretty neat. I think Christian radio, and AC in particular, will continue to see amazing success when executed well. If we continue to "push the envelope" and be creative in our presentation and promotions, I think we'll start to see many
"KLTY-like" results.

3. How is your market unique?

St. Cloud is very unique because of it's close proximity to Minneapolis. Although we're Arbitroned as market #222, we have to sound like market #17. Many of our P2's listen to WLTE out of the Twin Cities primarily, and expect us to sound just as good. Of course we have to do that with a market 222

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

Right now we're a part of the TCM Network out of Nashville so I don't deviate from their playlist much. I'm a big believer in research, both Auditorium and Callout. In the past I've even been involved in running possible new adds by focus groups. Obviously the usual key factors in selecting music are used, artist appeal, overall sound, and how it fits into the rest of the station's musical rotation.

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

Historically we haven't been real active promotionally, but I plan to change that! I'm a big fan of "Guerilla Marketing" and promotions that make a connection with our demo, but don't cost a lot. Right now we're working on providing area families and churches with candy to give out on Halloween.
The catch is that each piece of candy has a card with our logo and positioner attached. The goal isn't to reach the kids, but the parents who (should) inspect each piece before their kids eat it. We're targeting key zip codes in our market and hope to have at least 2000 pieces of candy given out. Total cost is going to be less than 10 cents per piece and it's a great way to brand us with young families.

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

There are too many Christian stations out there that don't understand how to be "mass appeal". There are even some that don't care about being a ratings success. I can think of two great frequencies in top five markets that barely, if ever, show up in Arbitrons because of dismal programming. And both of these markets have a great need for a "seeker friendly" Christian AC station. Owners of christian radio stations need to understand that their station is not a church, and program with that realization.

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

To be a "friend" to the target demo and thus, increase ratings and revenue for their station.

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

Two different groups, all of Salem's music properties and the Way FM Media group. Both of these companies know how to make their stations sound just as good as their mainstream counterparts and (in most cases) have the ratings to back it up. As I work on a three year vision plan for us here at Spirit 93, I look at these stations and think of how we can duplicate their success here.

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

Especially in the top 50 markets I think there will be two types of Christian radio stations. Those that are successful in ratings and revenue...and those that aren't. Salem has shown that Christian AC can be a profitable format, and I think it's likely that other large broadcasters will begin experimenting with the format. The other Christian stations that refuse to become listener friendly will probably find it harder and harder to survive. I think a bog wave is moving across our industry right now, and stations can either see it coming and ride it to success, or have it wash them over and under.


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