Career Capsule: My high school had a 200 watt radio station called 88.1 WSDP, so I tried out my freshmen year. The rest is history. I was part of some amazing teams at Planet 96.3/Detroit, 102.5 WIOG/Saginaw, 96.3 WDVD/Detroit & 93.1 DRQ/Detroit before moving to Tulsa to help launch 100.3 The Kross. I also worked on air at 106.9 K-Hits/KHTT. After 6 years in Tulsa, I moved to Las Vegas as program director & morning show for SOS Radio. We broadcast in 37 cities.
Scott, tell us what’s new at SOS Radio… news, changes, & with YOU?
Community building is a real passion of ours. We love working with our mayor’s office, our police department and churches to tackle social challenges in our city together! We’ve had some amazing opportunities to serve and speak into solutions for addiction, the breakdown of the family, jobs, homelessness and education. Our team is passionate about great broadcasting, but also community building.
This spring, our listeners stocked the Las Vegas Rescue Mission with enough bottled water to meet all the homeless needs for the whole summer. In addition, our listeners stocked Project 150, a non profit that helps homeless teens, with enough ramen cups to meet all their needs for the entire new school year! (The teens come in for the ramen cups and Project 150 is able to introduce them to the deeper services they have to get these students out of the homeless cycle. Our entire office was stacked wall to wall with cases of Cup Noodles for weeks!
We have an an amazing team of creatives at SOS Radio. We’re about to hire another air talent! Keep your eyes open for our job post! God has been doing some BIG things in Las Vegas this year. I’m always willing to have a confidential conversation if SOS Radio sounds like a family you’d like to know more about!
Christian Radio has become very competitive… what do you do to stand out from the crowd?
Service and creativity. Everything we do goes back to our mission. We want to share hope and encouragement. We want to help our city grow closer to Jesus. We want to connect listeners in community. We make it personal.
We live in an age where most of the mainstream AC/CHR/Country stations have embraced consolidation and voice tracking. That’s a serious opportunity for Christian radio stations to actually serve and connect listeners. When the mainstream stations are cutting costs, we can innovate with service minded promotions, better storytelling, digital strategies, service opportunities with the artists we play and special on demand content. Innovation is more than just great ideas. Innovation is also about creating great processes that move your team forward.
What is the best programming/show advice you’ve been given? The worst?
BEST: “If you want to connect with listeners in Christian radio, you have to make prayer a key part of your showprep.”
WORST: “Read the liners.”
Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?
I can’t speak to what other radio stations are doing in the markets where we serve, but I can make sure my heart is soft toward what God is doing in our cities. I just go back to asking myself, “Am I kingdom building or empire building?” That’s the gut check for me.
What is the ONE thing you must have everyday to do your job/show?
Great showprep! I thrive when I’m prepared with a great story to tell.
Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?
It comes from intentional talent development. As content creators, it’s up to us to find great communicators in the podcast world, in our local colleges, in our churches. Look for pastors and students who are great communicators. Challenge your air talent to mentor someone!
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
Fear of taking a risk. There’s a huge opportunity for our radio stations to innovate around our technology. We have amazing content, and we can make it so much more interactive to our listeners. We can build so many fresh on-ramps. I’d love to see radio organizations hiring programmers and digital developers to innovate around our values and storytelling. That’s how we’re going to break through in the digital space. Let’s look at digital as an opportunity to experiment and try some things each year. It’s OK if your experiments don’t hit the home run you hoped for. Learn from what you tried and evaluate it! When you see an external threat, start praying about how you can find an opportunity for growth on the other side of it! Ask God for vision and ask him how to fund it!
Who are your radio heroes and influences? Why?
Bob Thornton – He took a night owl like me and taught me how to do a morning show. Bob challenged me to use digital media to grab listeners online and drive them back to actually listen to our radio station. Bob understands how community makes a radio station special. He’s a great teacher.
Chris Staley – She has an amazing love for her listeners that translates through the halls and over the air. She’s activated a heart for discipleship at SOS Radio that’s become a big part of my leadership passion today. Her love for people has set an amazing culture inside SOS Radio.
Jon Hull – Jon has been a great talent coach to me. He’s a genuine encourager. Jon really helped me develop as a storyteller and fundraiser on the air. He’s been a catalyst to help craft our values and air strategy together.
Jayar Reeves – Jayar is one of the most creative guys in radio. He always challenges me to dig into the characters behind the content. He always has a million on-ramps to invite new listeners into an on air discussion.