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Radio Interview



Tiffany Thorpe


WVFJ / Atlanta



Tiffany's Career Capsule
I was student Program Director at WBDG in Indianapolis, then on to WONU in Chicago where I was the Music Director and Afternoon drive host.  Then I went to southern Illinois to work at a country station, WIAI, where I was the Midday Host and Public Service Director. From there I went to Nashville to work for Sparrow Records where I was the Manager of National Promotion.  Now I’m the Assistant Program Director and Midday Personality at WVFJ (J93.3) in Atlanta. 

1.What led you to your current position at J93.3? 

The Lord led me here.  God has been so good to me.  From day one He’s kicked doors open for me… not opened them, kicked them in!  I’m very thankful for His direction in my life.  I had been working at Sparrow Records for about 3 years and on a Tuesday afternoon I heard the audible voice of God say, “quit”.  Now, I don’t know how He talks to you, but I’ve never heard an audible voice and I haven’t since.  To not listen, well, not listening to Him was not an option.  So, without even a job at a fast food restaurant to pay my rent I wrote up a letter of resignation.  Grant wasn’t too happy, but once he realized that it really was the Lord’s leading, he was very supportive.  During an 8 month sabbatical (in which I waited tables to pay the rent) I waited for Him to tell me where to go.  I didn’t want to screw it up by getting in the way, ya know.  Finally, after talking with several stations He clearly told me to come work for J93.3.  3 weeks after that affirmation I was here in Atlanta.  During that break He taught that I had never fully trusted Him.  I’d never completely stepped aside and allowed Him to lead me.   Since listening to Him and coming to Atlanta, He’s given me a new affirmation every day that I truly heard His voice.  My favorite affirmation is meeting my husband just 3 weeks after moving here. 

2. What criteria goes into the decision to add music to J93.3?   

J93.3 is a 100,000 watt station and we have a huge coverage area.  Therefore, I can’t play an independent.  I need for my artists to have national distribution so that anyone who’s listening can just go to their closest store and pick up the record.  I stick to artists signed by the national record companies because I know that they have spiritual accountability.  From there, I listen to see if the song would stick out like a sore thumb, is it a heavy metal song?  Also, is it forgettable?  If I can’t look at the title and hum it later then maybe my listeners will forget it too.  I think every element you have should be used as a tool in making your music decisions, I don’t think you should put a song in heavy because you’re getting requests for it or because another station in a different state is playing it.  All tools should be used and I care enough about my station to do the extra work.  Some of those tools are soundscan numbers in my market, what the bookstores are telling me, what the song is doing on the national charts, what my consultant tells me, are people requesting it, etc.

3. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now ? 

I want to be smack in the center of His Will.  If that means still being the APD here, or waiting tables again or being a mommy… I’ll do it. 

4. If you could change one thing in the Christian radio industry what would it be? 

I wish we could all get on the same page at the same time

5. Where does your passion for Christian radio come from? 

Well, not to over spiritualize it but my passion comes from the Lord.  When you know that you know that you know that you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing and where you’re supposed to be doing it… how can you not be passionate about that?

6. Who are your main radio influences? 

Bill DeWees (WONU in Chicago), Grant Hubbard (Sparrow Records) and Jerry Williams (WVFJ in Atlanta).  Bill is the first GM I’ve ever worked for… he invested time in me.  Bill is an amazing talent and he taught me how to do radio the right way from the very beginning.  Grant expects 110% from you; he’s a very tough boss.  But it’s because of those high expectations, that the Sparrow Radio Department is so successful.  You wouldn’t believe how many times, at the risk of insubordination, Grant has told his boss “no” in order to protect AC Radio from a song, an artist or an idea that just won’t fit.  Grant truly cares about making Christian Radio as a whole, better, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get us there.  Jerry Williams is a great boss.  He tells you what’s expected of you and then steps back and lets you do it.  Jerry doesn’t stand over your shoulder and micro-mange you.  Jerry equips me with what I need to get my job done, trusts me to do it, he listens to my ideas and kicks me out of the building when I’m working too late.  Bill taught me the basics, Grant taught to have passion for Christian Radio as a whole and Jerry, we’ll I’d retire with Jerry if he’ll let me.

7. If you weren't in Christian radio what might you be doing? 

Trying to get into Christian Radio.

8. What advice could you give to a young person wanting to enter Christian radio? 

I highly recommend doing internships.  Most anyone will say “yes” to a free worker.  Once you’re in that internship, be willing to take the trash out or work backstage at a concert.  Listen more than you talk and learn as much as you can.   Also, Grant Hubbard gave me the best advice ever and I’ve stuck to it ever since:  “return every phone call”.  Write that down, it’s a gem



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