Career Capsule: Music has been in my blood since birth thanks to my Puerto Rican upbringing and with my Dad being an ordained minister so was my faith in Jesus. Those two things fueled my desire not just for radio, but faith based radio. I started as an intern at Spirit FM 90.5 in Tampa, FL and worked up to Mornings before leaving for KSBJ to help them launch NGENradio in Houston. After that I spent time at WAY-FM, Nashville as their network afternoon show host before coming back to KSBJ, Houston again.
Carlos, tell us what’s new at KSBJ … news, changes, & with YOU… etc?
We launched a new website, HopeOnDemand.com. Videos, Podcasts and that sort of thing all in one convenient location. If you need something quick for your shows with content from your favorite CCM artists, it’s an easy place to start.
How has your KSBJ show changed during the pandemic?
Adaptation and flexibility is something Covid-19 is teaching us all. When everything first broke we tossed out the playbook we’d been working with and drew up something fresh and new. Let’s face it, Covid has brought us to a new place with our schedules, workplace, and so much of our everyday life. If we didn’t adjust our show accordingly I feel we’d miss the mark a little. So we’ve stopped a few benchmarks that no longer fit, adjust the feel of a few others and used this opportunity to create some fresh and new benchmark/bits that better fit her world right now.
What is the best programming/show advice you’ve been given? The worst?
Some of the best advice has come from Rob Wagman. Rob told me to stop trying so hard to be the “Carlos” I think our target demo mom wants to hear and just be me. I threw off some personal guardrails I thought she needed and became a more true version of my actual self on the air. It came with its fair share of bumps in the road, but it has really helped me grow into a better communicator and more defined radio personality. Bad advice…I had someone tell me, “you should listen to so-and-so and be more like them.” Now I do believe you can glean from other shows of course. I learned a lot working alongside The Wally Show at WAY-FM, about how to find the funny in everyday life. Brant Hansen is someone you can learn about what being a true version of yourself can look like on the air. But you should ultimately strive to discover what it is YOU have to offer the world through radio and become the best version of yourself before trying to be the next Wally or Brant or anyone.
You and your partner Morgan at KSBJ have a great chemistry, what is the secret to making it click with a co-host?
I have no idea how I have been so lucky to have worked with some of the best partners in radio. Abby (formerly at Spirit FM, Tampa), Brittany Whatley (formerly with me at KSBJ and now with CMB) we did a show on NGEN with Drew Wilson for a hot minute and it was so much fun. Joy at Way-FM and now Morgan back at KSBJ. All such strong talents and each able to stand on their own two feet and helm a show on their own. But one thing I learned early is that while I am NOT the best overall radio talent, my best talent is making my partner shine. On-air pairings are a little like marriages. Success in every marriage starts with sacrifice and honoring the other. I hate it when I hear a show and the guy has to have the last laugh or the final word. Tommy Kramer preaches, take the first exit!!! But on some shows it’s not the first exit, it’s the final word from the primary male host. So I’ve always put the show first, my co-host second and then I find my way around after that. That’s the big secret I guess. I try to help my co-host win as often as I can.
What’s your opinion on podcasts… is it necessary to have one, are they a threat to radio… etc?
If you’re going to have a podcast then have a niche and have it be something you are actually passionate about. Then have a clearly defined and well thought out plan and execute it. But don’t kill yourself just to make one. I think Podcasts are important to the future of radio and you as a personality, but don’t just make one to make one. Have an idea, have a plan and then go for it.
Where will new up and coming air talent for Christian Radio come from?
No idea. We don’t groom talent like we used to and more of the younger generation wants to be YouTube stars or TikTok famous. But they are out there, we just have to be better about looking for them and actually wanting to help them succeed.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
Time. We get less and less of her time during the day. We now compete with a 100 other sources. Cell phones, in car connections like spotify, podcasts. My biggest fear is when they take the steering wheel out of the car. When she becomes completely hands free, will she still choose radio for her time? That’s why I believe podcasts and other forms of media need to be something every station and every show starts delving into. The day is nearly here where your first touch point to her life isn’t going to be her radio dial. Some will argue that it already is here. Facebook and Instagram pages are not enough anymore either.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
Radio heroes. Bill Carl is always my numero uno. He let a kid come play in a radio station and honestly took him under his wing. I wouldn’t be in radio today without him. WCIE before the JoyFM got the call letters and back when it was in Lakeland, FL. From Tampa I could just barely get the signal and I loved those early days of Christian radio, those were big influences on me. And finally growing up in Tampa and listening to 93.3 FLZ (called the Power Pig before that). MJ and BJ in the morning, Jennifer Jordan, Bubba the Love Sponge at night (he was a total shock jock and got me in trouble with my parents for listening to him). But that whole crew could take radio to places in my mind I never thought radio could go. It was more than just telling a good story, it was making the story come to life in big, often over the top ways. I learned a lot from them and still do something on my show today because of them.
I’m a father of 2 amazing boys (Dominic and Judah), husband to an out of this world wife (Amber) and I’ve been doing what I love (radio) for over 20 years. Through it all, God has been good and I am grateful for this amazing journey He has me on.