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Radio Interview



Kim Carson


WDMN / Toledo


Kims' Career Capsule
I grew up in Detroit Michigan listening to some GREAT radio and playing DJ in my room.  I attended summer school for two years so I could graduate a year early and move to Knoxville Tennessee.  Rockin' Ron Baptist, a former DJ from WDRQ/Detroit and someone who I stayed in contact with over the years, was now the GM at WKVQ/Knoxville.  He gave me my first break and taught me the basics of this business at a time when not many women were on the air.  WKVQ was a secular station that changed format to Christian soon after I arrived.  From Knoxville I worked at WROK/Rockford, WDRQ/Detroit, KJYO/Oklahoma City, WMAG/Greensboro, WVKS/WRVF/Toledo, WAMG/Milwaukee.  I currently program WDMN radio station in Toledo Ohio.


1. How did you wind up at WDMN?

I have been at WDMN for just about 3 years.  I resigned my position across the street at WRVF/Clear Channel where I was doing the #1 rated Love Songs show for the past 3 years and also voice tracking an additional Love Songs show in another market.  I joined WDMN because there were plans to do something innovative...something big in Christian radio that would take this city.  I wanted to be a part of it and bring non-Christians around.


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

The most fulfilling aspect about Christian radio is the positive influence and positive message of the music upon Christians and non-Christians alike.  


3.You have a lot of experience in secular radio...aside from the obvious what are some differences?

Wow!  This is a loaded question...In the past I thought that there were more differences than what there really are.  I'm sad to say that there really isn't much difference at all.  Sure the language in the hallways isn't as colorful as it was at CHR radio.  The topics and/or stunts on the air are not abusive or controversial, in a negative way.  But people are people and as long as they are wrapped up in some skin they're still going to share the same quirks, personality flaws and struggles. Another difference I see is that Christian radio doesn't seem to have the same drive to win as secular radio.  That needs to change "Big Time!"  I am as driven now as I've ever been.  I want to seriously compete with EVERY radio station in this city.  My goal is to WIN!


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

Criteria for airplay takes a couple things into consideration.  I watch the charts (R & R, CRW etc.)  I listen to all new music we receive at the station.  I also go by gut...if I get something that really fits the sound that I am creating I would probably add that.  It doesn't happen a lot of the time but a good example would be "The Prayer" by Yolanda and Donnie.  I am shocked that more stations around the country are not adding it.  I don't know if stations were not serviced on the song or what but for us it has receive more phones than anything I can recently remember.

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

We've given away a car, a cruise to the Bahamas, weekend couple  getaways to Chicago, Toronto, Niagara Falls, concert packs to Festival Con Dios, family packs to amusement parks like Cedar Point, Six Flags, Kings Island, concert tickets to Michael W. Smith, Third Day, Hopeville.  I like to have fun with all this stuff.  Our listeners have sung for their prizes, figured out mystery destinations to win and unscrambled songs. 

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

Wow!  A big sore spot for me.  Christian radio is at such an amazing place right now.  It's exciting to be a part of it.  My main concern is the Christian record labels.  Some of them are REALLY good at what they do.  Product is consistently sent out and follow-ups are always made.  They take it as seriously as the secular labels.  Then there are some that I have to CONTINUOUSLY call, email and  fax requests.  It's strike's impossible to grow Christian radio without the product.  A portion of my week is spent begging for product.  This is crazy.  I never had to do this with this kind of regularity while working at secular radio.  It is the main thing that scares me about Christian radio.  Not long ago I actually wrote to an artist about not being able to receive their product from the label.  My emails were ignored, my voice messages were not returned and no product was sent for over 4 weeks of requests, long after the song had been moving up the charts.  Finally the artist got me the product.  The song ended up being in the Top 3. To have to go to these lengths just to get music is just very sad to me. The quality of Christian music continues to grow access to it must do the same.

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

Biggest obstacle facing Christian radio today is a built in bias against it.  If done correctly non-Christians and Christians alike will embrace it.  I like to let the music send the message.  I don't want the air personalities to get into a religious mode.  I want to preach to more than just the choir.  In fact I want to reach the unsaved more than the saved.  I still remember what it was like before I became a Christian.  I don't want to turn off non-Christians with a holier than thou attitude.  I want to expose everyone to the message in a quality driven,  entertaining way and know that God will put something else in their heart and therefore do the rest.

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

I want the Christian radio air personality today to be well informed concerning events happening around our world.  I want them to be aware of things other than religious events.  I want them to talk about the things our demo is talking about.  I want them to be crafty in putting the message out there, I want them to go trolling for Christians in an innovative way.  I want them to put a positive spin on things that on the surface appear negative.  I want them to offer hope to the hopeless.  I want them to do all this without sounding like a preacher.

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

Christian radio stations that are innovators today?  Of course K-LOVE and the things Chuck Finney and Salem are doing with Christian radio.  Chuck gets it!!!  I still love KAIM too!  More consultants like Mike McVay and Jerry King at McVay media are reaching out to take Christian radio to the next level.  I've been traveling around the country and am somewhat disappointed with radio in general.  It's very milk toast.  Christian radio is at a perfect place right now to fill the void.  It's at its infancy and we are developing it as we go.  What a great place to be

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

I see Christian radio being even bigger and better than it is right now.  With the state of the world where its currently at I believe people will be looking for answers.  Take a look around the country and the formats that are growing.  We as a nation are getting older.  The boomers have tried so many things to fill the void and nothing has worked.  Everyone is looking for the answer.  If Christian radio can provide a quality product that will seriously compete with all the other forms of media, by nature, our product will rise to the top.  The best always rises to the top...maybe not as quickly as we all hope but we all know the end of the story.  We Win!  God Bless...



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