Career Capsule: I went to college at MVNC (now MVNU), looking for a degree in a field that would allow me to make lots of money! So, I took classes in computer technology and, for fun, I thought the broadcasting classes would be cool. But while working at the campus radio station, WNZR, I felt God’s leading into radio, which worked out much better because I wasn’t quite as adept at computer tech as I had hoped to be! As my excitement over this new dream grew, I found myself, still a student, working at three radio stations; WNZR (full-time), mainstream WQIO (part-time), and WTLT, a Christian station in Columbus (part-time). (Yep…it was tricky, making sure the right station’s call letters came out of my mouth when I’d open the mic!) After graduating college, I was hired as station manager of WNZR. A couple of years later, my wife and I moved to Cincinnati, to help put WNLT (now a K-Love signal) on the air, but, unfortunately, after about a year, their financial struggles forced them to let the staff go. At that point I began working part-time at WARM 98, a Cincinnati mainstream station, and at the same time I had begun working at Christian AC station 93.3 WAKW (later to become STAR 93.3). I left the mainstream station after a year or so, because working full-time at STAR 93.3 was keeping me plenty busy, and that’s where I stayed for the next 21 years. In 2013 God decided it was time for a new challenge in my life, and He brought me to the Strong Tower Christian Media stations: WFCJ (93.7 The LIGHT) and WEEC (HOPE 100.7), where I am honored and excited to be a part of helping to grow these two life-changing radio stations!
Daryl, tell us what’s new at WEEC/WFCJ … news, changes, & with YOU… etc?
We went through format changes shortly after I transitioned to Program Director on both stations. The stations have been on the air since 1961 with a mixed format (preaching and music). We are grateful for the ministry that has happened through the years but as we move forward, our goals are to reach even more people with the hope we have in Jesus. WFCJ is now called 93.7 The LIGHT, https://937thelight.com/ an all teaching/preaching station that covers all of Dayton and Cincinnati. WEEC is now called HOPE 100.7, https://myhope1007.com/ an all music station. We have new morning hosts for both stations, Julie Pierce started when the format change happened on HOPE 100.7 and Lauren Kitchens started recently on 93.7 The LIGHT, March of 2021.
With all the changes implemented at your stations last year, how do you feel the response has been so far?
Since we’ve started targeting a different demo, it has been challenging because, as you probably know, change is hard on everyone, and some people are happy to tell you that they aren’t too thrilled about those changes! While we lost some, we have since gained new listeners who love our new format.
What is the best programming/show advice you’ve been given?
Play great songs, be interesting and brief, and then repeat it over and over.
Some say the more Christian stations in a market the “better”…. What’s your opinion?
The benefit of more stations in a market is that your music is being reinforced/established to potential people. If I’m answering this honestly, I would rather be the only station of my format, in the market.
What’s your opinion on podcasts… is it necessary to have one, are they a threat to radio… etc?
I think it’s beneficial to have a podcast. It’s one more way to connect with listeners. I don’t believe it’s a threat to radio as long as we have consistent compelling content.
Where will new up and coming air talent for Christian Radio come from?
I have been impressed with several Christian universities and the quality of their programs. Maybe I’m biased because that’s where I started, but I have reviewed some really good demos from upcoming talent.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
The competition for alternative forms of listening like Alexa, podcasting, and Spotify. We need to be desirable enough for the audience to think of us immediately and then provide easy access to us. Another obstacle may be governmental restrictions to sharing the gospel.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
Jon Hull – He’s been influential to me personally, he’s really encouraging. (I could do more of that) I have asked him multiple programming questions through the years. He hasn’t been weary of me (at least I don’t think so) and he gives great advice. It’s embarrassing to say but I love his heart. He has a lot of compassion.
I’ll give some other nods to Steve Swanson and Noonie Fugler. We had a breakout session in a seminar over 30 years ago. I was frustrated with my then current station. They cared for me and the situation and prayed with me. I went back home encouraged.