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Radio Interview


Richard McClary

General Manager

The Light Radio Network

Essex, VT



Ric's Career Capsule
Born in Chicago, November 12, 1952, Ric grew up in North Dakota and Minnesota. His father was an engineer in the radio and television industry so my love of broadcasting has early roots....At 27, after trying my hand at everything from plumbing to sales, I decided to pursue a desire for a career in radio. Carrying the responsibilities of a husband and father and a full time job, I attended night school at Brown Institute in Minneapolis. I accepted my first job in broadcasting as a News Director at WCMP radio in Pine City, Minnesota. Since then I've worked as a talk show host in Salt Lake City, Utah, a mid-day personality in Columbus, Ohio (WSNY) and until March of 2001 was the morning host and Program Director for K-I-T radio in Yakima, Washington for 13 years. I was also Operations Manager for KIT/KATS and KQSN for three years and was General Manager of a Christian television station before moving to Vermont where I now serve as GM for “The Light” Radio Network in Burlington.

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

We are probably as opposite of "the Bible Belt" as you can get. New England or The Northeast section of the country is "tough soil" as many have said, but God is doing some great things here especially  in the area of unity.  In the three years I have been in Vermont I believe I have seen some "breakthroughs" in how different ministries and churches relate to one another. It may be happening slowly but it is happening. This radio ministry is right in the middle of it all.


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

Knowing that lives are changed because of the message of the Gospel. I spent 20 years in "secular" radio and most of it was without lasting substance. We share the Good News and we build up the Body of Christ. You can't do that in secular radio.


3. How do you personally keep the ministry in the business?

We do ministry because we are called to...we do business because we have to. When our listeners partner with the ministry then we can stay in business. Is that too simplistic???


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

First, lyrics then style or texture. It has to fit with the overall "feeling" or presentation of the station. I just received a complaint letter from a listener who said they will not give to us until we change our music. They want us to play more of the classics, whatever that means. My guess is that they are asking us to go back to playing Ralph Carmichael. Not that that's a bad thing but it certainly does not work for 2005. Music is so subjective I'm sure I will receive a letter from someone saying that until we start playing more contemporary music they will not support us...


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

Giving tickets to concerts or events is the best thing. We are a non-com so we have more restrictions than a commercial station. Our phone lines do not light up when we give a book away but when we give CD's or tickets away we get calls.


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

They can stop being so stingy with their music. In would not hurt them at all to make more product available to stations to give away. After all we are the ones playing the music and doing the promotions...


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

Trying to be too relative to the culture and thereby compromising His message. We are called to share the gospel not just play music or "tickle the ears" of the listener. It is still the Word of God that changes lives not the latest "hit" from (fill in the blank). Music is wonderful and I love it but Christian radio is missing the mark when it's programmers think they can change lives by presenting  more "entertainment" instead of The Word.


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

To be real, not pretentious, not fake religious or pious. It's scary to me to think that an air personality would go into work and go on the air with out being a person of prayer and in deep fellowship with The Lord and be able to share that with his or her listeners on a daily basis. Yet if you listen to some stations you would have to wonder if that is not the case.


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

Believe it or not Moody radio is still more on top of Christian Broadcasting and what that means to "the listeners" than you might think. Of course that is my opinion but I can't help it if it is true.


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

If the rapture happens some stations will still be on wondering who their target audience is and what the major money demographic is...sorry that's pretty negative. In all honesty without a "revival" in the Church I see it steadily hurdling out of control and following the way of the world in marketing and other areas. Some broadcasters will stay committed to the Gospel. Others will not...



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