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Radio Interview


Dean O'Neal

Operations/Program Director





Dean's Career Capsule
I was 12 when I made my radio debut on Country Sunshine 1230, an AM station with a whopping 50 foot coverage area originating from my bedroom. I talked (pestered) my way into my first paying job at 15 doing weekends at a small FM station at William Jewel College in Liberty, Missouri. I have worked just about every format under the sun in Kansas City, Nashville, Daytona Beach and Orlando. I've been the Operations/Program Director of Z88.3 since 1997.

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

Central Florida (Orlando/Daytona Beach/Melbourne) is home to lush green tropical vegetation, beautiful beaches and nice people from all over the US. Actual Florida natives are hard to find! The most unique aspect of our market is that above and beyond the 2.3 million who call Central Florida home, in any given week there are almost 1 million people here on vacation from all over the world!


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

Radio is all I have ever wanted to do since I was a child. The ability to use something that I love so much to carry out the Great Commission is very exciting.


3. Here is your chance to testify on behalf of your station...How has God used WPOZ?

It has always been our heart and purpose to serve the community we live in. In 2004 Central Florida faced the direct impact of three hurricanes. During Charley, Frances and Jeanne, Z88.3 was one of the only radio stations that DIDN'T rebroadcast television audio during the storms. The entire Z staff was under lock down at our studios and Central Floridians were able to ride out the storms with trusted friends via their battery powered radios. After the storms while most all of the TV and radio stations in Central Florida were quick to jump back into regular programming, Z88.3 continued to serve by airing critical county by county shelter, food, water, ice and supply information until county emergency managers declared that the need was over. As the Emergency Alert System LP-1 station for Central Florida we transmitted over 150 activations during the storms which were immediately rebroadcast on almost every radio station, TV station and cable system in the 8 counties of Central Florida. Through serving our community we have heard story after story of how God used a song on the air or the comforting tone of one of the Z jocks to help people and their families through the fear and uncertainty of the storms and their aftermath.


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

Format appropriateness, lyrics, production quality and research history of the artist (if available) all come into play. With a limited number of slots for currents, we take adding a new song very seriously.


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

Promotions that give "Kate" something that she wants but wouldn't or couldn't normally give herself. Promotional events that her entire family can enjoy together are also home runs.


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

All things considered, I think the record labels do a great job of serving us.


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

The biggest obstacle is a lack of vision. The success of stations like Z88.3, KLTY, KSBJ and many others have proven that Christian radio doesn't have to be a 1 share format with minimal impact on their marketplace. With attention to knowing and serving a narrowly defined target listener with quality, consistency and focus, a Christian station can have a major impact in their market and for the Kingdom.


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

To be "real" on the radio. Who you are off the air is exactly who you should try to be every time the mic goes on. This is probably the single hardest thing for most air personalities to get a handle on, but listeners can detect a "fake" and will never truly bond with you or the station if they sense that you are presenting yourself as being something that you are not.


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

89.3-KSBJ is constantly trying to figure out how to have a bigger impact on Houston. It is a healthy obsession since the more lives they touch as a station, the more people are exposed to the Good News! I am inspired by the passion of Tim, Jon and the KSBJ staff.


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

Hopefully owning the female 25-54 demo in every market where CCM radio exists. Since Kate usually controls the radio in the minivan, if you are her favorite station you have also gained access and the ability to impact her husband and kids.


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