college I worked for WONU and interned at B-96 in Chicago. My first
“real job” was at “Cat Country 102” in South Bend, IN. From there I
worked as a jock for various mainstream radio stations (country,
rock, oldies) in Michigan, Indiana and Chicago (my hometown) and CCM
in Virginia and Chicago. My first PD job was for the PAR-FM Network
in Virginia. I’ve been with EMF Broadcasting (K-LOVE & Air 1) for 6
years. I’m also the co-owner and co-writer for Positive Prep radio
show prep service (www.positiveprep.com)
for almost 10 years with Jason Sharp.
Personally how do you keep the ministry in the “business”?
One of the things I have always loved about EMF is the commitment to
ministry and top-notch radio – with no compromise on either front.
On a daily basis I’m reminded of what God is doing through K-LOVE &
Air 1 with our daily staff prayer times. We receive over 20,000
prayer requests each month and each request gets individually prayed
for several times by people on our staff. Reading and praying over
those requests is a huge reality check and a perspective builder
when you see what people are going through. It truly is a humbling
thing to be a part of.
2. Overall, how is Christian radio different today, from 5 years
It’s better! Is that too simplified? But actually I’m in a unique
position at this point in my life/career. After being a jock and PD
for 10-plus years, I came to EMF in a completely different role
originally – more in management. So I went through a period of my
life (about 4 years) where I worked in radio, but not in
programming. As a person who has a passion for radio programming,
it was amazing to feel God’s peace for that season of my life. I
think what God taught me during that period of my life as I came
back to programming was that it’s okay not to know everything or
have to pretend like I did. I feel confident in my abilities, but
more than anything I want to have a teachable spirit and continue to
grow as a programmer. I work with some incredibly talented people
like Mike Novak, David Pierce, Jon Rivers, Alan Mason, etc, etc, so
the opportunity to grow and get better is all around me and a huge
blessing, if I’m open to it. I know that really didn’t answer the
question … but that’s my mindset these days.
3. What do you think are the main characteristics of today’s
Christian radio PD?
Again, a little more reflective than practical … I think flexibility
and the ability to mange your time and all the hats you wear is so
huge to be being productive. I can’t say I have that mastered yet,
that’s for sure. But there are days where you can get swallowed by
everything but programming the station, so it’s a constant
challenge. It’s why I sometimes find myself editing music logs at
2am. David turned me on to a book called “Getting Things Done”,
which has been super helpful.
4. What criteria do you require for a song to be played on your
When I was interning at B-96 I once asked the then PD Dave Shakes
“what’s the key to great programming” and he simply said, “Find out
what your listeners like and give it to them”. Simple but true. We
don’t do pre-testing, but we do Troy and auditorium tests so through
that you hopefully get an idea of what your listeners want. That
and I’m easily swayed but whatever the record companies tell me to
5. What kind of promotions work best for Christian radio?
Anything that provides our listeners with an “experience”, rather
than just winning some “stuff”.
6. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve
I have no real complaints there. I enjoy those in the biz where you
can have honest dialogues about songs, who want to work with you and
want to understand the needs of your station.
7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian
This is where I say iPods, new technology, etc, right? I think a
big thing is remaining true to the calling, while being relevant to
8. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian radio
Can I say be “relevant” again? I gravitate towards personalities
that have the ability to share their life on the air and can bring a
listener into their life, so to speak. I grew up listening to a lot
of great Chicago on-air personalities who had that unique ability to
talk about their life where you really felt you were just hanging
out with them – part of the conversation. There is really a fine
line between being able to do that and just blah, blah, blah radio
9. What (if any) Christian radio stations do you consider as
Hmmm? I don’t listen to many other Christian stations besides K-LOVE
and Air 1. I suppose I should. I’m usually checking out mainstream
stations more, when I’m not listening to our two stations. But I
know there are a lot of stations doing great things – I have some
great friends at a number of CCM stations and I have a ton of
respect for their abilities and stations.
10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
me ask someone really, really smart and I’ll get back to ya!