The Christian Radio Homepage



Radio Interview


Mike Russell 




To contact Mike click here


Mike's Career Capsule
Mike celebrated ten years at WCVO (the River) in November; previous stops include Radio U, & WNZR.


1. How has WCVO evolved over the last few years?

The biggest change was re-launching as 104.9 the River five years ago. Since then we’ve been on a continual journey to better serve our community. One of the best initiatives we’ve launched was the family friendly promise. We’ve pledged that the River will be safe for every member of the family & we back it up by asking our listeners to let us know if they feel we’ve broken that promise. It gives people a real sense of involvement in making the station better.


2. Has WCVO made any changes due to economic situation, been affected in any way?

The typical changes that wise managers of money try to make in similar times, watching income and carefully evaluating expenses. Our management team made adjustments early last year and that has helped us to weather the current situation well.


3. How is Columbus and your surrounding market a unique Christian market?

Columbus is the number one sports town in the U.S. Our research has shown that The Ohio State Buckeyes football team is an important topic even with our core females. Columbus a bright spot in the state, it is the only big city in Ohio that is growing. That gives us many opportunities to reach out to those that are new to town and looking for a place to belong.


4. What criteria do you require for a song to be played on your station?

After it passes the family friendly filter, it’s about quality and the artistic needs of the moment. We’re very picky, we always work to build consensus within the programming team before we make an add.


5. What kind of promotions work best for WCVO?

Ones that give listeners ways to connect with or help others. These include The Family Name Game, Home for the Holidays (flying listener’s family members to town) & Winter Relief (listeners nominating friends in need to receive $500 toward winter heating bills).


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

Labels are doing an excellent job. The promoters that I work with are top notch.


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

A break down in relationship, it is a general problem in the radio industry. We’ve got to be ready and able to change. What we’ve done in the past is not what will work as we move ahead, we need to move beyond providing great music and into building relationships with listeners.


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

To be interesting, a friend to those who listen.


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

I tend to think more of people, Brant Hansen, Tate Luck, Jake Sommers, Dean O’Neal, Jeff Cruz, Beth Bacall. They are all great at building relationships.


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

 I think we’ll see the stations that are truly connected to their listeners grow.



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