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Radio Interview


Jessica Barton

Promotion Director


Carlinville, IL



Jessica's Career Capsule
During high school & college I worked at Pine Creek Church Camp and was certain that I would be going into the camping ministry, but God had other plans for me...I started listening to Christian music during my senior year of college - WIBI was the only station I could get in my dorm room! I did my internship at WIBI for one semester and was hired full time as their Promotions Director in May '05.


1. Personally how do you keep the ministry in the “business”? 

My door is covered with Thank You cards that we receive from organizations that we've partnered with & from listeners who were excited about getting their kids involved in a "call to action" promotion that we did. It's a great reminder that this isn't just a job - it's a chance to have a positive influence in the lives of others.


2. Overall, how is Christian radio different today, from 5 years ago? 

Honestly I've only been listening to Christian radio for about 3 years...grew up in a small town in Indiana where everyone listened to country music. But in the past few years I've seen stations go from just playing music & doing fun giveaways to really connecting with their listeners. Stations are realizing that people don't want to just sign up & win a cruise - they want to nominate their friend, co-worker, or family member & have the opportunity to bless someone. With the help of people like Alan Mason stations are becoming more focused on what their listeners really want.


3. What do you think are the main characteristics of today’s Christian radio PD? 

Being able to balance their workload & staying organized. Our PD, Rob Regal, will be coaching the on air talent one minute & sitting in a promotions meeting the next - he does a great job with going from task to task without losing focus. We joke around in the office about how often Rob uses the word "protocol" but he does a great job of keeping everything organized & creating new systems to help programming & promotions work together to keep the station from becoming too cluttered. 


4. What criteria do you require for a promotion to air on your station? 

The first thing we look at is does it fit through our "Lisa" filter? The time of year - what holidays are coming up? What local events will be happening that would trump our promotion? And they have to be simple - if I can't explain it to the staff then I know the on air talent won't be able to explain it during their short breaks & our listeners won't understand.


5. What kind of promotions work best for Christian radio? 

Promotions that have gained the most interest and buzz at our station are those when we are blessing our listeners OR our listeners have a chance to bless others and share their stories. For Valentines day we gave $500 to one couple to spend on their "Valentine's Dream Date"- listeners submitted stories - staff picked the Top 5 - Top 5 were placed on our website & listeners voted for the winning couple. This gave our listeners 2 chances to get involved and the Top 5 couples were able to spread the word about our station by telling all of their friends to visit our website & vote for them. Our winning couple had never even heard of our station, but a family member told them to enter. They came to the studio after going on their "dream date" and were able to meet the staff, be on air & get introduced to a new station! We were also able to create a list of everyone's dream date ideas to put on our website to share with all of our listeners.


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

Joe Buchanan, our Music Director, works closely with the labels and whenever we ask for CDs, autographed items, or iPods to use for giveaways we never have any problems. 


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

One obstacle that our station & many others deal with is not having enough staff - we all wear so many hats! The more staff a station has the more focused their employees can be at doing their specific jobs. WIBI covers a large geographic area and everything is at least one hour from where our station is located - we are constantly racking up the miles, but if we had more staff the responsibilities could be spread out.


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

I think their main role is to connect with the listener & to be real - be a friend to them. Lori Brown & Jeremiah Beck from our morning show are great at teasing each other & making the show light-hearted. They talk about anything from American Idol to their daughter's music recital. They don't put on a show just to sound good - they are real with each other in a way that our listeners are able to relate with them. People are constantly coming up to our booth at events because they want to meet their "friends" that they heard on air - that shows that we are really connecting with our listeners.


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

Since I've only been in radio for 2 years I'm not sure if I can answer this question fairly. I turn to our network stations, WCIC in Peoria & WBGL in Champaign, when I need help with a promotion & for new ideas. Both stations have been great examples for me to learn from as I grow in this ministry.


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

It's hard to say because I can't even tell you where I see myself in 5 years! God is amazing & He has great plans for Christian radio...I'm just glad to be along for the ride.



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