Music Director/Morning Show Host
Career Capsule: I have been in Erie radio since 1996 and have been on many different formats including country, pop, oldies, AC, New Rock, Classic Rock, and produced shows on many am talk stations. Too many call letters beside my name to mention. I have worked just abour every shift from weekend overnights to the morning show. I have been at WCTL since 2011 and the morning show since 2014.
Dan, tell us what’s new at WCTL… news, changes, & with YOU… etc?
We just completed our Golden Opportunity on January 2nd. The Golden Opportunity was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for our listeners to give to help complete the vision of our founder George Smith who envisioned Christian radio in Erie PA. For the last couple decades our signal was in a little town south of us called Union City and the signal wasn’t always good in the Erie area, especially on certain days when a station out of Canada interfered with us. On January 2nd the signal was moved closer to the population center of Erie and is booming! We relaunched on the 2nd with a new morning show, Mornings with Dan and Lori, featuring myself and Lori Clapper who had been doing middays. We also debuted a new station voice, Andy Youso out of Minneapolis. We also launched a sister station, Talkerie.com featuring the Joel Natalie Show, a 3 hour talk show all about the city of Erie.
I personally will be doing a mission’s trip to Cambodia in May to help against human trafficking. My heart is for men dealing with porn addictions and this trip is the next step in what God is calling me to do as trafficking and porn go hand in hand. I’m also excited that my daughter will be going on the trip as well!
Christian Radio has become very competitive… what do you do to stand out from the crowd?
Seeing that WCTL is the only local Christian music radio station in the Erie market, we tend to focus on things from an Erie perspective. We talk about local events, using local liners, interviewing local ministries, talking to local listeners. So I guess my answer is…Local.
What is the best programming/show advice you’ve been given?
There’s a couple things. First, be yourself but be amped up just a little bit. As a professional wrestling fan, it makes sense to me. The most popular wrestlers of all time were just amped up versions of themselves, like The Rock or Stone Cold Steve Austin. Of course I don’t want to be THAT amped up!
The other advise given to me by my boss at the oldies station was “If you have to think twice about saying something, don’t say it”. If that is true on the oldies format, how much more so on Christian radio? It’s actually good advice for life!
Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?
I go two ways with this one. More stations broadcasting the life changing and saving message of Jesus Christ is a good thing. However, there is still the business end of things. Having competition certainly makes one up their game.
What is the ONE thing you must have everyday to do your job/show?
I can’t narrow it down to just one. Coke Zero, a great co-host and an open mind to where God leads the show!
Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?
In Erie, we have a local college station, WERG, that has won awards for being the best college station in America. If we had more stations like that to train people up we’d be ok.
I know I came from secular radio before I had accepted Christ as my savior, who knows who may be the next to do that. We’ve had some people who never worked in radio turn out just fine too.
This is a tough question.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
I think the biggest obstacle for me as an MD is knowing who we are broadcasting to. Are we going for the non-believer who may be seeking something more? If that’s the case, they won’t stop on the station if we play too much worship music. If we are broadcasting to just the believer then playing too much “contemporary” sounding music could be bad. It’s a good mix we need to have. We’ve almost tested ourselves into a corner.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
Nationally Rick Dees was my favorite with his weekly top 40 show. I used to take my radio to church and run out to the car at noon when church ended so I could hear every song, including the Hit Bound song! I’d write them all down and compare from week to week. I also loved his personality and the fun. However, it was mostly the music I loved!
Locally there was Night Norb Anthony on Hit Radio 14 WJET (later Jet-FM 102) that I loved. I would listen every night to the Top 10 at 10 and call in my guess at the #1 song. He was always so nice to me even though I was the annoying little middle school kid. I later found him on Facebook and became friends with him after I left a gushing private message to him! He is still incredibly nice to me