Career Capsule: I was a complete newbie, but thankfully Jim McDermott gave me a chance as a weekend host on KCVO in Central Missouri. I was there four years before getting hired at KXOJ in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I spent 8 years at KXOJ when I met my now-husband, Jeremy, who swept me off me feet and brought me to the mother-land of Christian music, Nashville, TN. I’ve been at 94FM The Fish/Today’s Christian Music for 5 years.
Caryn, tell us what’s new… news, changes, at WFFH & with YOU… etc?
I’m going to be one of the speakers at a conference for Stepmoms in Nashville this July. I’m excited and nervous. If there are any women who need a getaway, to connect with other stepmoms, let me know! And, I’m learning that trying to give up coffee is difficult.
Christian Radio has become very competitive… what do you do to stand out from the crowd?
I’m having flashbacks to when we aired a segment called Church of the Week and I would ask pastors what made their church unique. They all had the same answer. “Friendly people…we’re authentic…amazing worship.” I’m not sure I do anything particularly special. I’m just trying to be consistently good.
What is the best show advice you’ve been given?
The worst? The phrase that’s been on repeat in my head lately is, “Success doesn’t come by what you do occasionally. It comes by what you do consistently.” Being good at the basics and being consistent really are the keys to success. As far as bad advice, I can’t think of any. I guess it wasn’t worth remembering…
Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?
There’s really not a yes or no answer. With more stations there’s more chance for people to hear the gospel. Nashville has four CCM radio stations, including 94FM The Fish, but from a purely selfish standpoint, no. It’s not better. Options ARE good for the listener, but not for the station. The more options the listener has, the more the audience is split, the harder it is to win a large market share. When you play a commercial they don’t want to hear, a song they don’t like or you start fundraising, you lose listeners to the competition, at least temporarily. If the listener feels you fail to reflect their values, you can lose them permanently. As loyal as you think your listeners are, it’s not that hard to say goodbye when you have other choices. BUT, competition can also be good! It’s easy to be number one when you’re the only one. Competition forces you to hone your skills and innovate.
What is the ONE thing you must have every day to do your job/show?
Grande vanilla sweet cream cold Brew with an extra pump of vanilla. I told you coffee was hard to give up!
Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?
It seems like we’re seeing an influx of new talent from the general market, which I think is great. I hope we continue to see younger generations of people who dream of being on-air – that is, as long as they see radio as relevant and that it has a future.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
As I thought about where future Christian radio air talent would come from, I thought about younger generations, and why they might not want to work in radio. One of the things that could be a hindrance is pay. I don’t know many people in Christian radio that don’t have a side hustle. I, myself, do voice over work and image several stations. Not JUST for the pay, but let me tell you, it sure helps! If we want to entice people to work in Christian radio they have to know they can make a livable income and support a family.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
There are SOO many people who have influenced me. My top 3 are:
Lisa Williams – She’s amazing at connecting with listeners. She’s full of wisdom and pours her knowledge into anyone that wants it. Plus, she’s just a wonderful person and friend.
Bob Thornton – My former PD at KXOJ. I learned so much from him and am grateful he took the time (and had the patience) to teach me. He’s one of the people I respect most in this business and consider him my mentor.
My husband, Jeremy – Since we’re both in radio we talk shop All. The. Time. He’s always believed the best of me and has given me confidence to stretch beyond my comfort zone. He’s challenged my thinking on radio, God and life. We keep it professional at work, but much to his embarrassment, I’m going to say it. I love you, Jeremy. (It’s ok hun, everyone knows we’re married.) 😉