Career Capsule: Born in east Texas, Andy (nicknamed “Crash”) broke away from his auto dealer family’s roots to follow his dream of a radio career while still in high school. His skit-based shows were highly rated in Dallas, Fort Worth, New Orleans, El Paso, Green Bay, and several other cities. Morning radio fans know him as “Crash and Burns” and “Crash & Company”. Rock, country, oldies; no matter what the station’s music format, Crash always entertained between the songs to loyal audiences of all ages. Crash also enjoys acting when time allows. His performing career has brought him opportunities to work with such stars as Ann Archer, Levar Burton, Michael Moore, Majel Roddenberry, Elizabeth Dennehy, Carel Struycken, John Delancie, George Takei and others.
Crash dropped the last name moniker “Kelly” to his actual last name “Connell” when he joined WORQ-FM in Green Bay in 2013. His wife of 13 years, Katie also works at Q90 FM as community events director and bookkeeping.
Crash, Tell us what’s new with WORQ… news, changes, & with YOU… etc?
Non-commercial Q90 has been around since 1994. God has shown Himself faithful as we have been ministering in NE Wisconsin pretty much hand to mouth every six months. I am enjoying the fruits of the labors of the late Jim “Kid” Raider and other great Christian radio pioneers who graced this building.
In 2010, Q90 changed their “all music” CCM format to include some midday teaching shows, including the very popular, locally-produced” Stand Up For The Truth. And because of that show, we’ve had to step up our game in sharing God’s true gospel in love and TRUTH. We changed our positioning from “The Music Says It All” to “Christian Truth Radio” in January 2015. About a year ago, we were able to finally secure a translator in Oshkosh, Wisconsin at 107.7FM. We also broadcast at 104.1 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. I am a dinosaur. I daypart/dayshift our music. Late at night, it’s CHRISTIAN ROCK.
Q90 FM has also shifted our focus to building strong communities – or, as we say “Q-munity” – as we see a breakdown in community relations throughout our nation. Getting out into the “secular” world and just showing the love of Christ – being the hands and feet of Jesus – has been amazing. We are called to be a light in the darkness and even though we are a small staff of 9 we have been blessed by being obedient to get outside these four walls.
What are some unique characteristics you’ve discovered about your market?
A very strong Catholic and Lutheran influence in our area. We are also unique with 5 or more “religious stations” in the listening area, including K-Love and “The Family” (CCM music stations). Our audience is older, but loyal. I’ve been told, although I can’t prove it, that Q90 has the largest “unchurched” Christian listening audience in our ADI. A very moble audience. Very outdoorsy. Hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, camping… tough to plan concerts and conferences around. And Packer season is always a challenge to work around, too. Our area also hosts “Lifest” every summer and almost weekly up and coming CCM talent at the local venue “Cup O Joy”.
There’s a disconnect in our market between church goers and those who tend to listen to Christian radio. I think many Christians are not sure how Christian radio fits into their daily schedule or they have a misperception that it is all outdated “bible hymns” music. When, in reality, the Christian music market is stronger and more current than it ever has been – add to that that we strive to help listeners carry that feeling of encouragement and hope that they hopefully get on Sunday morning throughout the week.
What is the best programming advice you’ve been given?
Best advice I got from consultant Chris Elliot when he was at McVay Media, “you don’t have listeners, you have a listener. Find out who that listener is, get to know them well, and relate to him/her.” Scott Shannon also told me, and it fit into my personality style, “take care of the little things and the big things will take care of itself”.
I am trying to think of a way to express it appropriately. It was basically “you only have one shot, make it nuclear out the gate. There is no listener loyalty. They’re gonna leave you anyway, just make sure when they leave, you are spent.” That was at a secular station of course — classic rock format.
Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?
I would agree. How awesome would it be if all stations were “Christian broadcasting” in our market? Are other Christian stations “biblically” our competition or are “secular stations”? Who wants us “fighting and competing” with each other, God? or satan? Imagine a Christian rock station, a Christian talk station, a Christian AC station, a Christian rap station, a Christian oldies station, a Christian praise station…. (Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.) ! Imagine if every Christian radio station was in it to bring their community to a loving relationship with Christ, where ratings/reach/cost-per-point didn’t matter. Here at the Q, we point to Christ. We don’t have ANY banners, trade show booths, marques; we don’t promote the Q like most stations do – we promote Christian music; we don’t go out into the community to gain donors – we do it to show those who are perhaps lost and hurting that there is hope; we do it hoping that they will see something different in us and want to know where our light comes from. And we are there, ready with The Answer!
What is the ONE thing you must have every day to do your job?
Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?
Good question. I agree with Jesus in Matthew 9:38. Pray for God’s harvesters. Our general manager Mike LeMay puts it this way, “Pray for the Cause, God will take care of the Effects”. We’re blessed to get intern applications all time with UW Green Bay/Oshkosh in the area, so that brings networking opportunities. Christian radio is a mission field. Us older guys and gals need to be humble enough to be constantly looking for our replacements. Talent is important. Spiritual maturity is paramount. Go through the processes that you know: trade ads, church posters, networking, and trust God and His perfect timing.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
Remaining true to the Gospel. Not everything labeled “Christian” is Godly. It’s hard to be in the world but not of the world. We have an increasingly needed “message” or “product” to a decreasingly interested “market” through a perceived antiquated platform. Most believers do not have any issues or convictions about listening to “secular” programming. For almost 20 years, I was one of them. 3 hours of church a week is what most of us think we need to have a relationship with Christ. Radio listeners compartmentalize. And why not. With a push of a button (or a voice command) I’m on to the next “mood service”. It’s a remnant out there. Listeners definitely do not always turn into donors. Praise God that’s in HIS hands.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
I’ve been behind a mic (on & off) full-time since 1978. I grew up in Dallas, TX listening to AM Radio jocks like Charlie Van Dyke, Tom Dooley, Jeff Davis, Don Imus, Michael Seldon, and Brother Jon Rivers. I guess those where the personalities that I wanted to mimic. When I was 14, a news director, Troy Deneke at KIXS-AM took me under his wing and really put fuel on the flame for me. (He encouraged and worked with me as a music jock because that is how he started before going into news) Years later, he actually was my PD at an oldies AM station. He’s now a real estate agent in our home town of Killeen, TX.