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Radio Interview



Roger Henderson

VP/Director of Operations





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Roger's Career Capsule
Like a lot of us radio guys, I started hanging out at the local radio station as a teenager.  My very first airshift was at summer camp at the Hastings YMCA Camp in Lake Villa, Illinois When I was 12.  The camp operated a low power FM station that covered the camp grounds.  Remember the FCC Operator Third Class Radiotelephone License?   I sat for the test and by 16 I landed a great after school playing R&B, Calypso and Reggae music in the US Virgin Islands, where my family had by then relocated.  I went to college in Atlanta and worked for several stations there at first on the weekends then evenings and afternoons.  Later I relocated to Jacksonville and was hired by my current station and have been here ever since.


1. How has WCRJ evolved over the last few years?

Our station was started and run by a church when I was first hired. In those days the mission and focus was a lot different. The leadership didn’t care a lot about formatics, which to be honest was a challenge because of my background in secular radio. However they did instill in all of us the importance of purpose, calling and commitment to God’s unique assignment for each of us. The station came under new owners and we played mostly national half hour programs with music in the drive times. Then after several years we became a full-time CCM station.


2. Has WCRJ made any changes due to economic situation, been affected in any way?

How did you guess? I am most amazed how God has sustained us in these tough times. Our GM, Calvin Grabau is brilliant in the ways he’s figured out how to raise the needed revenue in the worse economic conditions we’ve ever faced. As a donor supported station we’ve had to reinvent the wheel in fundraising doing it a lot more often but keeping it fun and being transparent with our audience.


3. How does WCRJ connect locally with markets?

We use a lot on phone interaction, get out and do live remotes, local news and traffic and we have a genius promotions manager who does a fabulous job.


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

Our Music Director, Theresa Ross has pretty much full autonomy with music. Very rarely I’ll ask her what does she think about a certain song if we’re not playing it but we let her have the final say. Our GM sometimes steps in and wants to tweak things. The number one requirement is it must be written, sung or produced by Toby Mac. Just kidding. The chart positioning is the biggest factor. Having appeared locally in concert is another factor.


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

Our listeners like to do fun things with their families. We’ve found tickets for everyone in the family to see rated G movies work well. Often we’ll combine tickets to movies or other events with restaurant gift certificates and make it a “dinner and a movie family night”. Concert tickets, of course. Lately we’ve found techo stuff has been popular like giving away notebook PCs. Being in Florida is a huge benefit since the theme parks like to work with us.


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

I think they do a good job. Plaympe is a great tool and our engineer loves the unmastered versions of songs better. Occasionally, we'll go there to get a song to add and we haven't been permissioned for it for some reason. Of course, once we bring that to their attention somebody usually jumps on it right away to try to fix particular issues piecemeal and if its still blocked, mail us a CD but it's happens enough times I'd rather see a systemic change where there wasn't bean counting on which stations are allowed access to which songs. Maybe they should figure out a way to give us all access to everything since we're all radio stations. Right now there's a song we wanted to add but we can't but it'll probably show up in a few weeks so its not the end of the world. If I'm not mistaken I also understand its not necessarily the labels' fault because they can't create their own service that they control since the idea of distributing songs to radio stations online is patented so they have to work with outside groups under their terms.


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

At present its the economy. In the big picture I actually think things are looking positive. More and more Christian artists are getting mainstream exposure, which only helps our credibility in our respective communities.


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

When I think of the people I enjoy hearing, I think being fun to listen to probably the biggest factor.


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

88.1 The Promise! :-).


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

I don't think 5 years is really long enough to see significant changes but I wonder what impact the new technology will have on radio in the future. HD radio might gain some traction. Online streaming could be bigger as the technology gets more wireless and portable.






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