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Radio Interview




Dale Mitchell

Program Director

WBDX "J-103"

Chattanooga, TN



Dale's Career Capsule
Began in hometown of Hopkinsville, KY and worked also in programming-related and production positions in Nashville and Indianapolis before becoming APD/MD and PM Drive at Z-93 in Atlanta for 5 years, then did a sports talk show at newstalk WGST in Atlanta during my last 4 years in the market.  Also served six years as the promo voice of the NBC-TV affiliate in Atlanta, WXIA.  Moved to Chattanooga in 1991 and have been since spending 8 years with Bloomington Broadcasting, then 2 with Brewer Broadcasting before coming to WBDX-J-103 last October.  Have worked as a commercial voice talent for 20 years and have a voiceover service specializing in commercial, industrial, and imaging work for radio and TV.
1. I know you spent quite a while in secular radio. Tell us about the events that led you into Christian radio?

 I have been involved for several years in ministry work while working in general market radio, and I've always been a big fan of CCM music.  I had an interest in working in Christian radio, but the Lord had not opened that door, and He continued to use me in mission field of secular radio.  Then finally last year this station contacted me about coming here and the Lord then orchestrated my circumstances in such a way that He left no doubt that He was placing me here. 

2. What are some of the rewards of being in Christian radio?

 Well for me, it's wonderful to be able to listen to more encouraging music while on the air.  I've been pretty down on General Market music for many years with its continually declining message.  It's also good to be able to be in position to encourage fellow believers in their walk, and to have the opportunity to shine the light of Christ among unbelievers who can investigate the gospel privately through their radios. 

3. How is the Chattanooga market different from others?

This region is often called "The Buckle of the Bible Belt" as there is a heavy Christian presence here.  For instance there are four large Christian colleges within the local dialing area.  Over 20,000 people showed up a couple of weeks back at our local football stadium for a National Day of Prayer event to pray for our city.  Faith is a way of life for more folks in this area than any market I've worked in.

4. Tell us about the music on J-103. What criteria must be met for a song to be added? What's your routine for deciding on music?

The main thing, and it's not a very popular stance today with the CCM industry becoming so much more "business-focused" than "ministry-focused" in the past few years, is that there needs to be a discernible message in the song, even if it's a strongly implied message.  That is the one thing that Christian radio listeners are crying out for.  We want to program to our audience and not to the CCM industry.  I usually listen to the music throughout the week and make my add decisions on Friday mornings, with the new adds hitting the air on Monday morning.  I use several sources of info including charts, listener response, and we also try to do some ongoing music perceptual research.

5. W here do you think local radio is headed.....specifically local Christian radio?

 Local radio has to be very focused on the world we live in today.  There are so many choices out there to compete with radio, and I think Satellite radio is going to be a bigger factor than most folks are willing to admit right now.  Local radio has to keep its finger on the pulse of its listening area and work to keep the product as uniquely local and relevant as possible.  Christian radio needs to be careful to avoid letting the music industry dictate programming, and not to get focused on itself at the expense of staying focused on the Lord and His direction.  Stations are increasingly becoming so intent on "doing great things for God" that they miss Him entirely by simply not listening to Him.  Many are trying so hard to "not sound Christian" so as to appeal to non-Christians as an evangelistic outreach, they are missing the majority of their listeners who are already believers.  Any Christian radio station that believes their sole purpose is evangelism is missing the big picture.  Every station has been blessed by God with means and responsibility to encourage and edify as well.


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