1. Tell us about
your market and how it is unique?
Iím in market #23, Pittsburgh. I think that the way
this area advances technologically, medically and
educationally, is the location of many corporate hubs,
yet still remains the kind of place where a person
stopped on the street for directions wonít just tell
you the way, but might jump in the car to lead you
there, makes us a stand-apart town! Because we sit in
the cradle of the Appalachian Mountains, (okay more or
less; but wasnít that a great line?) we are
geographically separated from other close cities, and
that helps us to retain our identity where other towns
would have changed drastically over the years. Somehow
weíve remained a Blue-Collar town while hosting
cutting edge White-Collar industry!
2. What is the most fulfilling aspect to you
personally about Christian radio?
Every time that I hear from a listener about how
something Iíve shared has touched them personally or
led them to dig into scripture, itís encouraging. The
biggest blessing Iíve had was when God used me to
lead a caller to salvation one night. I will never
3. Here is your chance to testify on behalf
of your station...How has God used WORD?
The deepest aspects of what God does with anything
and anyone wonít be revealed until we see Him face to
face, but as far as what Iíve been blessed to see here
personally, thereís a lot! Weíve been able to bring
physical aid to many who needed it, like our "Feed the
Hungry" campaign that takes place every year. We get
to raise funds for kids and families through
WorldvisionÖ when a historic local church made
national news after being destroyed by fire, our
listeners raised a 5 figure amount to help them
rebuild. Almost every day I hear from listeners that
have been touched in some way by either the ministries
we air, the music we play on the weekends, or our
devoted airstaff. Some of the ministry programs we
carry are a focal point of learning for many of the
people in this area. I know, Iíve heard from a lot of
4. What is the criteria that determines if a
song receives airplay on your station?
Well, if it ranks highly in CCM ratings it gets on.
The rest is added by our OM/PD Kenny Woods, and youíll
have to catch him (if you can-he stays busy!) to find
out how he chooses them.
5. What kind of promotions work best for your
Those that touch people where they live are always
the most effective. We try to get folks plugged in to
events and people that can really get inside them.
Concerts, motivational speakers, strong bible
teachers, and so on. We also partner with local
businesses to provide help for folks who need it. For
instance the 12 free furnaces (and free installation)
which we help get to the people who need them each
winter. When the listeners know weíre doing something
because we believe in it, no matter what it is, they
respond. Then there are those promotions that are just
plain fun! After all, who doesnít love free food or a
6. How do you think Christian Record labels
can better serve Christian radio?
By spending the time to fathom the deep pool of
talent that exists in Christian oriented music today,
and exercising the faith to push them. I am always
surprised at the amount of truly excellent music that
I find in stores and online which gets so little
airplay. Itís too much like secular radio in that the
big names rule while the little guys and newbees
struggle to break through no matter how good they may
be. There is also the constant push to keep artists
separated by the belief that one type of music wonít
cross over to the fans of another. We and the
listeners miss out on a lot of great music because of
7. In your opinion what are the biggest
obstacles facing Christian radio today?
The primary problem God has shown me is our
patterning after secular radio. I remember watching an
episode of the Simpsons years ago in which the
character of a Christian artist described how a
Christian group went secular to make more money, and
all they had to do to their songs was change "Jesus"
to "Baby"! While that isnít always the case, it too
often is with the songs and even the stations
that play them. Our business models follow secular
plans that often donít work or conflict with what we
should be doing. How can a Christian oriented station
have a demographic that leaves out everybody else? We
either copy the tried-yet-maybe-not-true , or are
painfully dull. The problem is that so many of todayís
programmers just donít believe that any other plan
will succeed. Yet this belief is not based on trial
and error, itís because few are daring enough to
"risk" the money they have coming in. Another symptom
of this problem is the overwhelming ethnic segregation
in Christian oriented radio. Run through as many
Christian oriented station websites as you can find
and see how little variation there is in the faces you
find. Very rarely do you hear the same station playing
pop, rock and R&B music for Christians, and I believe
this is a disservice to God. It has to be done
carefully, but I know for a fact that it can be done,
and that when it is, the audience not only grows, but
comes together across all lines of color. (Hello
advertisers!) Even if it is unintentionally done, when
only one type of music is played, the subtle message
is sent to a whole group(s) of people that "this isnít
the place for you", and thatís just plain wrong no
matter what color you are. If we "seek first His
KingdomÖ" and do so with excellence and daring, weíd
see our brand of radio gain a whole new respect and
tremendous growth. Let me add the disclaimer that I
donít think that all of these stations or companies
are segregating for intentional separation of people
out of personal prejudice. I just know that most
people fall into a groove and never look outside of
8. What do you believe is the primary role of
the Christian radio air personality today?
As far as the job goes, itís the same as the
secular personality: do the very best you can within
the bounds youíre given to keep the listener glued to
the radio through the next song, program or stop set.
As Christians, we should be able to let the listeners
hear real, everyday people but with a twist of Lime.
They need to hear God coming through you without you
needing to tell them every time you say something. You
should also be radiating the joy of your salvation.
DJís that do this are the ones Iíve always enjoyed
hearing the most. I know, I know, not everyday is a
gem. Youíre a radio professional, youíve gotta put it
away for the sake of doing your job as for God
Himself. Be a breath of fresh air for people scanning
the dial for something to listen to.
9. What (if any) other Christian radio
stations do you consider as innovators today?
After reading your interview with Mike Carrier of
KAFC Anchorage, that is the first station to come
springing immediately to mind. Theyíre reaching out to
the young and recognizing the (scary for some) fact
that this is fast becoming a brown world, and
programming that way. What I have found personally is
that a lot of folks from 12 to 80 enjoy this mix too,
when done well.
10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5
If it doesnít begin to more fully trust God and
step out of the secular mold itís been following, in 5
years it will be something that makes very little
difference in the world at all, if it is even
recognizable as different. If we strive for the
quality which we all know it is capable of, it could
certainly be the fastest growing sector of radio. In
fact, I honestly believe that we have the best
opportunity of any terrestrial radio of negating the
growing advantage of satellite radio. I do!