My career history is quite
varied and diverse. I have been in Student ministry for over 10
years, currently serving on staff full time at First Baptist Church
of Brooksville as the Student Ministries Pastor. That area of the
churches ministry is called Fire Escape and has grown over the last
three years from a handful of youth to a ministry that serves
hundreds of young people. Before entering ministry full time, I was
a professional entrepreneur. I owned several businesses including a
small regional record label called “Masada Entertainment”. We were
an active label having hosted stages at Cornerstone Florida and
Realfest plus we were the home to future Tooth and Nail artist Since
As I settled at First Baptist
Brooksville, I saw how I could use my past experiences to grow the
current ministry God had me in. I was approached by a local AM talk
station (WWJB 1450) to start a hour long program geared towards
I started reading books about radio
and attended GMA week for the first time under the radio track.
Scott Inman at Daystar 89.5 (WKSG) out of Ocala, FL was one of the
first to critique the show and offer some advice. We joined his
“Rock-it Radio” stable of programs. I met Pastor Samme of HeirChex
during GMA 2008 and we developed a relationship that allowed Fire
Escape Radio to be syndicated through his service. At that point,
Fire Escape Radio exploded as a ministry. It is now syndicated on
stations across the world and I have had the opportunity to
interview and work with many industry artists.
Fire Escape Radio plays Christian
Rock and Alternative music. Our tag line is “The Positive Scene!” We
operate with total freedom on song selection and format. It allows
us to be experimental and try things that you may not normally find
on radio. Another unique thing about Fire Escape Radio is that
besides myself, it is all student run. Alex Schelldorf currently
serves as my co-host. Being a college student, he understands the
target bracket and is able to help the whole program relate. He
also handles some of the shows Producer functions. Fire Escape Radio
is offered free to stations. We receive no advertising dollars for
the program. It is a ministry and is supported totally on God’s
1. How has Fire Escape Radio evolved over the last few years?
First off jumping to a two hour program plus becoming syndicated.
We had to rethink how we handled “local” stuff and start to see
ourselves as International. We have added more music and decreased
the talk time in response to listener feedback. We have also
re-tooled the devotion time to be lyrically based.
2. Has Fire Escape Radio made any changes due to economic situation,
been affected in any way?
If anything, it has helped. We offer a unique program for free that
targets a fickle market that does have significant buying power.
The issue is that the 12-35 age bracket listens to less radio then
previous generations with the popularity of MP3 players. Innovative
online marketing, coupled with online streaming and uniqueness of
product help us stand out and make FER an event, not just a radio
3. How is your coverage area a unique Christian market?
If most stations would be honest, the Christian hard rock and
alternative scene is an afterthought because it does not have the
power to command a dedicated format. So many artists in that genre
find success on secular radio and struggle in the Christian market.
We mix “Christian” artists with artists of “Christian” faith. That
allows us to cover more then your typical music and expand the label
we place on music. On FER, you may find Johnny Cash or U2 along
with the more mainstream Christian artists.
4. What criteria do you require for a song to be played on your
We believe that artists create music out of their beliefs. Because
of that, we do not use a “Jesus count” to determine how Christian a
song may be. If I can determine an artist has a love of Jesus
Christ and professes to know Him in a personal way, I will consider
their music even if they are not traditionally considered a
Christian artist. That is the advantage I have being independent at
5. What kind of promotions work best for Christian radio?
Local radio is the best radio so local promotions work the best.
What I do with FER is not local so we have to re-think what we do.
We have found success on college campuses by creating an event
atmosphere for the program. That is done by viral online campaigns
and out of the box promotions. A visit to our local thrift store
often generates unique and random promotional ideas!
6. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve
Great question! Fire Escape Radio gets ZERO label support. They do
not understand what we do because we are not “traditional” radio.
Exponentially the numbers work. I can play a song once and it might
in turn play on 80 stations across the world. I can not get labels
to think outside the “way we always do things” and get the concept
of FER. I really can not answer that question because we get no
respect from labels.
7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian
Christian radio has lost any edge and creativity on the whole. I
see it as continually behind the innovations and playing catch up in
many markets. I think we have to realize we are effected by the
same issues the whole music industry is facing. From downloading to
deceased disposable income, the industry has to change. The
difference between me turning on the radio or listening to my Ipod
rests on the strength and creativity of the on air talent. The sad
case is that creativity has been squelched in many situations and
radio has become a lost art.
8. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian radio
A conversationalist. I need a reason to listen to you. I need to
be engaged. That could be addressing prayer concerns or local
news. That could be artist stories. Bottom line I believe it is
relational. How can you best relate to the audience and serve God’s
9. What (if any) Christian radio stations do you consider as
I tend to admire groups like Air One, Hopecore and Radio U. I think
they are kinda in the same vein as Fire Escape Radio. They
understand their listener and work to engage them.
10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
I think stronger than ever. I believe the Church in general is
approaching a great harvest. I see a yearning for spiritual things
and we have the answer to those questions. I believe once more
stations start to think globally but act locally, encourage
creativity and embrace the new Christian artist whom has already
found mainstream success, a renewed desire for radio to become a big
part of peoples life. It may be by satellite or something we
haven’t dreamed of yet, but this industry can continue to be
relevant if we help lead the evolution and not allow it to sweep us