How did you wind up at Blue Ridge Broadcasting?
As I grew in my faith
journey, I began to feel a calling to enter Christian radio.
In May of 2001, my OM position with Entercom in Greenville
fell upon the chopping block. A former colleague recommended
I contact Tom Atema, GM of Blue Ridge Broadcasting just to
chew the fat about the calling I sensed. To my amazment,
there was a golden opportunity that had literally just
developed. Tom is a masterful visionary and knew the
stations could be retooled and refocused toward a much
higher potential. I caught the vision and came on board. The
whole transition from general-market to Christian radio was
fantastic. It was the most humbling and profound
experience watching what God had planned for my life unfold
in His perfect timing.
is the most fulfilling aspect to you personally about
To be used by God in the
process of impacting lives via radio. Being able to add
value to people's lives is awesome.
Tell us a little about your company (BRB) and
Blue Ridge Broadcasting is
a division of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. We
operate two stations - WMIT 106.9 The Light which is an
AC/Inspo outlet and WFGW The Truth 1010, which focuses
on Southern Gospel (which is a hugely popular music style
in our market) with some teaching. Our mission is
simple: we ensure our programming upholds three principles-
Evangelism to the lost and seeking, Discipleship to those
walking with Christ, and support of mission actives here and
around the world. How we do so is through programming that's
finely tailored to the target audience of each station.
is the criteria that determines if a song receives airplay
on your station?
Of course, a title must be
biblically-accurate and glorifying. After that criteria is
met, it all boils down to what our target listener desires.
In essence, what's relevant to her preferences in Christian
entertainment and worship. If criteria #1 is met, we'll go
wherever she wants regarding music. For 106.9 The Light,
we're blessed to be able to conduct research and host
a Listener Advisory Council. We follow the listener, not the
format in all matters of music selection and programming in
5. What kind of promotions work best for your
Promotions that strike an
emotional chord with our target listener and are relevant to
her lifestyle. Preferably, a promotion should help
foster concepts of Christian love I.e giving of time and
talent for a greater good.
6. How do
you think Christian Record labels can better serve Christian
Recently, our music
director, Matt Stockman, and I have often remarked during
our music meetings that the quality of music has been
really exceptional of late. It's a trite saying..but oh-so
true: it's all about good music. Everything else regarding
what labels can do is irrelevant. I've never
understood why some programmers overanalyze what the
labels can or can't do for Christian radio. Labels that
focus on finding and marketing good music that
touches people will succeed - regardless of whether one
measures that success spiritually or at the cash
your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian
Our biggest obstacle is
overcoming perceptions that people under 50 have long been
held regarding what Christian radio is. Perception is truly
reality. We've got to work on our stations'
product intensely and market aggressively to overcome the
beliefs that Christian radio is synomous with bad radio.
What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian
radio air personality today?
To connect with the
listener and really bring something meaningful to her
table - precisely the same goal for air talent in
general-market radio. Only when that connection is made
can we expect to be able to share our unique (and
needed message) in the style most appropriate for our
(if any) other Christian radio stations do you consider as
Salem ACs are doing an impressive job in creating a product
that's appealing to a general audience. I believe
earnestly you've got to cover that first base, programming
wise, well before even having a chance to move to second
base and sharing more involved concepts of the Gospel
message with listeners. I'm an admirer of KSBJ/Houston,
do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
If only I knew. However,
I'm awfully excited at the potential. I whole-heartedly
believe that with focused programming, some smart marketing,
a heart for service to people, and, above all, keeping in
earnest, humble prayer for God's direction, the potential is