Andy began his
career in broadcasting during his senior year of high school. He
has worked at stations in Chicago, IL, Rockford, IL, Madison, WI,
St. Joseph/Benton Harbor, MI, South Bend, IN, Louisville, KY and
currently in Gainesville, FL. His responsibilities have included
drive time shifts, production director, program director, operations
manager, and general manager. He currently works for Radio Training
Network as director of operations for the JOY FM in Gainesville,
Ocala and Crystal River, FL.
1. Tell us about your market and how it is unique?
Gainesville and Ocala are combined markets for Arbitron, but they
are very different. Gainesville is Gator Nation (UF), with 50% of
its population university students (including Sante Fe Community
College), with the leading employers being education, health care
and insurance. Ocala is more down home folk, strong roots in the
community. Gainesville is more liberal and secular; Ocala,
conservative and more religious.
2. What is the most fulfilling aspect to you personally about
Knowing what a difference the format makes in our listener's daily
lives. We're a true source of encouragement that helps them get
through the daily challenges. I've worked at just about every
format, and nothing compares to Christian radio. At the end of the
day, you hope you have indeed had a part in helping a Nanci get
through the day with a little more peace in her life and less
frustration because of the connection, the ministry focus, and
3. How do you personally keep the ministry in the business?
Keeping focused on the mission and keeping my own life on track
spiritually makes it a lot easier. Reading e-mails of listener
testimonials helps keep me humble of how God uses each of us and the
signals to reach people. I never get tired of that. It is so
refreshing and amazing to get that feedback.
4. What is the criteria that determines if a song receives airplay
on your station?
Jeff MacFarlane, our GM, also serves as Music Director from our home
office in Sarasota. I can't speak for him, but I know there are
definitely policies in place, which include lyric content, artist
familiarity, production, research, etc.
5. What kind of promotions work best for your station?
We are so blessed to have an incredible promotions director, Carmen
Brown. She works closely with Jeff and Steve in developing major
campaigns that capture the attention of all listeners, that are
relevant to what's going on in today's world. This is our 20th year
of broadcasting, so we're granting 20 wishes that listeners have
submitted through our web site. To hear each specific wish being
granted, as it all unfolds on the air is brilliant and
breath-taking. I don't think I have ever heard of a promotion that
draws you in as much as this one. Community events work big for us
as well, such as T-Shirts for Turkeys, where we ask listeners before
Thanksgiving to meet us at various locations throughout our
listening area and bring us a frozen turkey and we give them a
t-shirt. We work through local agencies in distributing the birds
to needy families -- a win/win. Last year, we did the JOY FM
wedding. Listeners had the opportunity to vote for finalists to
have them advance to being the actual couple to get married, with
all expenses of the event paid by sponsors. Listeners also got to
vote online for the dress, the flowers, the cake, etc. Very fun.
6. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve
Some I have talked with would like the question reversed. LOL.
It's more frustrating for them in a lot of ways than it was 10 years
ago. That's another subject. To answer your question, I would love
to see more access to the artists for stations. Country radio has it
right with their label relationships. I know there are a lot of
hoops to jump through, but it shouldn't be so difficult for stations
to partner with the artists to help make promotions work better.
7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian
Being relevant, being up to date with technology, and grooming true
radio personalities who connect.
8. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian radio
air personality today?
In my opinion, being a true encourager. The listener wants a true
friend, who understands the frustrations of what's going on in their
life and their family, who is relevant with content that encourages
and entertains. Nanci should look forward to spending time with a
friend -- her radio companion -- instead of feeling like she's
hearing a jukebox with liners.
9. What (if any) other Christian radio stations do you consider as
I have a lot of respect for the folks at Z88.3. It's no surprise
that they won a Dove for best station again this year. They do
radio right. I cannot recall a time when I have ever listened and
wondered, "why did they do that?" It's more of, "Wow. That was
incredible and it sounded great." On the CHR/Rock side, RadioU in
Columbus is cutting edge.
10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
I could be wrong, but I see the near future as time of getting it
right, or getting out. Fish or cut bait time for stations. We no
longer have the luxury of doing radio like we are the only game in
town, and bless God, it's a ministry, so don't worry about anybody
else. Stations who will enjoy phenomenal growth will be leaders in
technology (HD coming), have a very loyal listener base because of
connectivity on the local level, and those who invest in their
people -- primarily on-air personalities. With so many sources of
music made available now and in the future, local connection and
great personalities will win.