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Radio Interview



Tom Greene

Program Director

WMHK / Columbia, SC.


Toms' Career Capsule
I began my career in 1985, working at my college radio station in Nashville, TN (WNAZ - the ONLY Christian music station in Nashville at that time!). I also worked at a small, family-owned AM station in Nashville during my college days. After graduation, I worked briefly in Memphis, TN and then moved on to WFCJ in Dayton, Ohio. I also spent several months at WTLT in Columbus, Ohio. In 1991, I began doing afternoons and promotions for WNLT in Cincinnati. After about a year there, I moved to WMHK. I’ve been at WMHK since 1992.


1. How did God put you in His service at WMHK?

I had been working in Cincinnati for several months. Bill DeWees consulted our station at that time and knew I was looking to move on. He had met the former PD of WMHK at GMA and let me know they were looking. He recommended I send my resume so I did. I got a call and actually interviewed at WMHK while on my honeymoon!

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

I have loved radio since my dad took me to visit the local country station when I was about 8 years old. I was one of those unusual individuals who spent a lot of time in my room making cassette tapes and pretending I was a dj. In high school, I felt that God was calling me to serve in Christian radio. It is fulfilling to me for many reasons: I know its where God wants me to be, it is challenging, rewarding, fun and fulfilling work and it makes a difference in the community. It doesn’t get much better than that!


3.How has God used you in your role at WMHK?

It is a privilege and a blessing for me to be a part of God is doing through WMHK. Just this week, I got an email from a listener who said “I never knew Christ before I heard WMHK”. Its an honor to work with such a great team and be a part of something that God is using in such an amazing and powerful way.


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

Obviously, a song must fit stylistically. It must also be lyrically sound and technically excellent. One thing we’ve done for several years is test new songs with focus groups to help us pre-determine their potential success. This has been a useful tool. Of course, all this is meaningless unless it’s a song our listeners WANT to hear. The best way to determine that is to ask them using consistent research methods.


5. How is the Christian market in Columbia unique?

The people in our market are incredibly generous. The financial support we receive from our listeners is amazing for a market this size. As a listener-supported non-comm, WMHK has been 100% funded by listener’s gifts for the last 26 years. And that’s money actually given, not pledged. And, believe it or not, WMHK has never done a sharathon!


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

Many of the labels have come a long way in better understanding of radio’s needs. I think that’s been especially evident in the fact that most labels are allowing more time between singles and giving radio the time it needs to let a song run its full course. Generally speaking I think Christian record labels are doing an excellent job of meeting radio’s needs.


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

It’s been said a hundred times lately but I think the dwindling pool of available, quality air talent is a problem in our industry today. I also think more stations need to focus on learning what their listener’s needs are and then doing everything they can to meet them within the context of their mission instead of guessing or just following the crowd.


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

Making an emotional connection with the listener. A lot of Christian stations are excellent at the basics. I think what will really make Christian radio stations stand out in their markets is learning to relate better to the target audience. That will be what sets us apart. I also think we have to find a balance of entertainment and ministry. Our stations should be fun to listen to, stations that people won’t be ashamed to tell their friends about or listen to at work. But, at the same time, we also have to keep the ministry element in mind. We need to move beyond “throw-away-ministry” and learn to focus more on “lifestyle ministry”, sharing spiritual truth in a way that is relevant and applicable in the listener’s every day life.


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

I have great admiration for our sister station, WRCM in Charlotte, NC. There is a great group of people working there and they’re making a huge impact in that market in spite of signal limitations. Z88 in Orlando is also a great station.


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

I would like to see Christian radio making more of an impact in the mainstream culture, not by compromising but by becoming more relevant to people’s lives. The Bible speaks often of Jesus meeting people’s needs. I think we need to follow that example. But if we’re going to effectively meet our listener’s needs, we’re going to have to make the effort to learn what those needs are.


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