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Radio Interview


Rob Dempsey

Network Operations/ Program Director

His Radio Network




Rob's Career Capsule
My start in radio began as a homeless teenager, addicted to drugs and alcohol. A youth pastor who reached out to me during this time introduced me to WCIE in Lakeland, Fl. One night while leaving a bar WCIE was on the radio. I had given up on life. Dave Stewart reached out over the radio. It was as if he was speaking to me. "God loves you" he said "He will never leave you nor forsake you." He prayed the sinner's prayer and at that moment I rededicated my life to Christ. Then I prayed another prayer. "God, I want to do what that guy on the radio is doing." I never believed that prayer would be answered. However, it was. One year later I became a volunteer DJ at WLPJ in North Tampa. God was using me to help others the same way WCIE helped me. Easter Sunday 1988 I began a part time shift at WJIS in Sarasota, Florida. It was here that I learned how to do radio. By January 1989 I became the full time overnight announcer. In the years to come I became well versed in radio. The job duties performed were Traffic Manager, Production Director, Program Director, Station Manager and now Network Operations / Program Director for His Radio in the Carolina's and Georgia. 


1. Personally how do you keep the ministry in the “business”? 

Focus, focus, focus. I'm learning to stick to following our strategy. I have to remember that at the end of the day it's about lives being touched and impacting today's culture with the Gospel.




2. Overall, how is Christian radio different today, from 5 years ago? 


I'm stating the obvious. We have more competition and it's not just other radio stations or satellite radio. I'm talking Ipod's, internet, USB ports in the car, MySpace, I-Tunes, downloads ....  the emerging technology is unbelievable! I've seen tighter playlists, focused programming, use of strategy, more stations utilizing research, becoming real people on the air ... and we continue to change as the techie world evolves around us.




3. What do you think are the main characteristics of today’s Christian radio PD? 


- Never forget the main thing "GOD"

- Must love their staff

- Love their Station

- Research

- Listen

- Self improvement

- Family a priority

- Never stop learning




4. What criteria do you require for a song to be played on your station?


    - It's got to be a great song! 

    - Has to target our demo. 

    - Artists lifestyle should Glorify God 

    - Fit the AC Format 

    - Have recurrent potential 

Today the level of vocal and production quality is excellent. We require this of the songs played on His Radio. 




5. What kind of promotions work best for Christian radio?       


Promotions that get people talking about the station. Whenever His Radio has a promotion that gets people helping people with a story to tell it's a winner. We funnel promotions through three words ... Belonging, Relevant, Community.... every promotion on His Radio must move a person to a sense of belonging to something good, be relevant in today's world, and give a sense a community.




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


 I've always felt that we have a strong relationship with labels. They're always helpful in promotions when asked. I can think of two things to help radio. Plus, I love the access to Promo Only.


    -  Connect the artist to the radio stations fan with real person information.  I could care less about the inside industry stuff. Give me a story that relates to real people. Allow more face time if the artist is in the market for a concert. This takes work because promoters and management protect artists. They have to in today's world. But, relationship with those you partner with is the key.


    - This is tough because the labels need to do their job in selling records. I know it's tough to schedule singles. Our playlists are tight and great songs play in currents longer. Working a single of an artist with a high testing song already in currents is tough on my playlist. I don’t know if that can ever be fixed.




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


The next generation listeners. I mentioned the world of technology earlier. That's their world. What steps am I taking with this station to be in their future?




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


RELATIONSHIP! The air talent can no longer be plastic people. Reality TV and MySpace are compelling because they invoke a sense of a belonging and relevant community. Today's most successful talent on the air has created that with their listener. My good friend John Frost has helped me understand how every part of this radio station ... music, imaging, promotions, AND air talent must emotionally connect with the people who listen to our station. This reality has rocked my world and forced me to be a better broadcaster. I communicate my faith in a more real and relevant way than I ever had before in my career in the radio ministry.




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


I agree with others interviewed when it comes to Way FM, Z88.3, KLOVE, KSBJ, and The Fish. Even Star 99.1 in New York City makes my list.


I'd like to also highlight growing leaders that we'll see impact us in the next decade. We know some of them already - but to me they are the Hull's, River's, O'Neal's, Thornton’s and Finney's of tomorrow.  Theses leaders such as Jason Sharp, Ty McFarland, Bill Carl, Carmen Brown, Chuck Pryor, Donna Cruz, and Johnny Stone … I’m sure you can add to the list. But, these folks stick out in my mind as passionate broadcasters impacting their culture.  




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


We can survive the emerging technology! The next 5 years depends on what we do today to position for the future. We can take advantage of being that belonging, relevant community. Use the voice piece we have today to build relationships and influence hearts on the main thing - Christ. 




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