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John Morris

General Manager


Tampa Bay



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John's Career Capsule
Began as board operator in 1987 at WBVM 90.5 FM after internship at a local Fox television affiliate.  I have been with WBVM ever since wearing titles of announcer, traffic manager, sports coordinator, program director and station manager.  Changed identity of station in 1997 becoming Spirit FM.  Completed a full station move and build out in 2009. 


1. How do you keep the ministry in the business? 

Prayer is number one.  Without the Holy Spirit working through the ministry, we cannot make it. Make sure that you have a committed staff that believes in the ministry, the mission and goals for the station.  Being able to communicate the goals and mission to the listeners is also essential. 


2. How is Christian radio different that it was 5 years ago? 

Itís a different climate economically and we have to be sensitive to our listeners and their essential needs.  We have to be more creative in our promotions and outreach in what we can do for them.


3. What are the main characteristics of a Christian radio GM? 

I cannot speak for anyone else.  If I had to hire my replacement, Iíd say that they need to be Christ-centered in their life and work.  It helps to have good family support at home also. The individual must be well rounded in all aspects of radio operations.  They need to be sensitive to the needs and goals of each department of the station and making sure that those goals mesh with the overall mission vision and goals for the station.  He or she has to be accessible to the staff and listeners.  They must have sound economic stewardship values. Must be a good listener and be fair to all.


4. What ways or methods work best to keep your staff motivated? 

Communicate what you want and expect.  Sometimes thatís easier said than done.  Be fair with them.  Create a level of accountability across the board and treat everyone with that same level of accountability.  Show genuine appreciation often or when warranted.  Have funócelebrate birthdays, have staff cookouts and participate in events. In our economic climate, no one wants to lose a job so that is motivation enough.


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

Knowing what it is that impacts the target listener in their everyday life and give them something that helps them in their daily grind.  Fun contests, lots of outside appearances and things that help protect their kids.  Anything that helps them financially.  Back when gas was sky high, we did gas card giveaways.  When there was a rash of child abductions in the bay area, we did ďsafety schoolsĒ around the area and had huge turnouts.  


6. In your opinion is there any way Christian labels can better serve the Christian radio?  

More access to the artists.  There is a big issue though with music fees to the recording industry that will be a major issue for stations in the very near future.  It is already impacting us with rising licensing fees and with the internet and other technologies for artists to be featured, it seems as though the radio stations are being punished.  We are the ones playing their music.  The labels need to be aware of what we as station managers are dealing with. 


7. What are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio today? 

Losing focus with your audience.  Economic factors, music licensing, keeping listeners tuned to the radio longer.


8. What is the primary role of the Christian radio on air personality? 

Keeping focused on Christ and the mission of the station so that they can bring others along.  People want to be entertained, but they tune in a Christian station to be uplifted and encouraged.  Finding a balance between a  Christ-centered message and entertainment of meeting people where they are.  Showing that being a Christian can be fun and exciting!  Keeping oneself grounded so that they donít become bigger than the station or themselves so that they can stay in touch with the listener.  Living the life they have been called to and not being someone else off mic. 


9. What if any Christian stations do you consider as innovative stations? 

Honestly I donít listen to a great number of them other that whatís in the Tampa bay area market.  We have a fantastic group of managers in this market (I had lunch with them today) and we all have a passion for radio and all reach a different demo, but there is certainly crossover.  The bay area listener has a great variety from which to choose and we all share listeners at some level. 


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

Technology will dictate.  Various platforms of listening, especially though phones.  Iím old school, so I still listen through my portable radio with the telescoping antenna.  Will radios be in cars in 5 years?  Yes, 10 years, probably.  No guarantees after that.  Everything might be web based.





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