I started as a novelty act at KUBE
Seattle…volunteering and begging my way on the air as “Baby DJ Jeff”
when I was in middle-school. Produced a morning show at KBKS
Seattle, then moved for college and worked weekends, then nights at
KZZU Spokane. Back to KBKS for late-nights and programming
utility duties, then back to KZZU to finish school and served as
Nights/Imaging Director. Met my wife Tawsha at KZZU, and we
both found jobs with CBS Seattle, putting me back at KBKS adding
KYPT, KRQI, and KJAQ duties as well as some projects at other Jack
FM’s and several other CBS stations. I also started my own
voiceover and production business jeffsvoice.com, and started VT’ing
weekends, then middays, then afternoons at KDUV, afternoons, then
middays, and now nights at CHRSN, and early afternoons at WAYK/WAYG
Michigan. I now program and host afternoons at WAY-FM
How has KXWA evolved over the last few years?
station was started with a mission to attract a slightly younger
demographic than CHRSN and our other WAY-FM’s. That remains
the case, but when it was launched, it skewed a bit more rock than
where it is today.
There have been some changes in airstaff, some
musical adjustments to move to where our audience’s tastes have
moved, and probably most significantly, while the station started at
one signal serving Denver and Fort Collins, we now reach Colorado
Springs, Trinidad, Fort Morgan, and Sterling.
We want to be promotionally involved in events and
causes our listeners care about, and we make a concerted effort to
do so, even with a large geographic reach. We have also
embraced and actively utilize our social-networking in ways we never
2. Has KXWA made any changes due to economic
situation, been affected in any way?
We definitely feel blessed to have hit pledge drive
goals in the midst of a tough economy, and are grateful for what we
feel is an extraordinary provision from God. We feel the
responsibility to be good stewards with what our listeners have
sacrificed to support this ministry, and I work for GM Zach Cochran
who balances that very carefully. He has set the tone for our
station, and we make sure any purchase or spending is essential and
has a purpose that furthers our mission.
3. How is your coverage area a unique Christian
With the arrival of PPM, we’re seeing that Denver is
a market that loves Christian music, and that makes us very excited
for even more potential of lives being changed.
We share the market with stations with stronger
signals, so we are trying to be even better at doing what we do.
There are always unique challenges covering 5 unique markets and
trying to ensure the product and on-air content applies to those
localities without alienating others, but we do all that we can to
be present on the streets and offer unique content on-air to each as
4. What criteria do you require for a song to be
played on your station?
Does it fit our mission to reach youth and young
adults…does it match what works here…and is something decidedly
Christian that will offer something beyond background music to our
5. What kind of promotions work best for Christian
Our team has seen a great response when the promotion
centers around philanthropy. If it’s a chance to nominate
pastors to go on a helicopter tour and pray above our cities…or a
chance to bring food to a food bank and see a free show…those have
had great responses.
We also just finished an event with Hawk Nelson where
the guys hung out at Starbucks for an hour just to say hey. We
had about 150-200 people come by. Starbucks was pleased, our
listeners loved it, and the band was really into it as well.
6. How do you think Christian Record labels can
better serve Christian radio?
On the whole, I deal with a lot of great reps who are
eager to do things that work and willing to help us do what we do.
I think we all are going to have to be open to reinvention and
continue to push each other to try new distribution methods (iTunes
instead of cd’s, etc.) and though we all are dealing with smaller
budgets than ever before, the potential to use social media in
contesting will be essential.
I also worry that with the loss of some CHR’s over
the last couple years, it’s becoming harder for labels to give us
songs that are great fits for CHR. Instead, it feels that
sometimes the songs we end up getting are home-runs for A/C, but
don’t necessarily give the CHR side the tools we need. I know
most of the labels I deal with totally get this and are fighting to
protect our needs. I appreciate that and hope they continue to
have our backs that way.
7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles
facing Christian radio today?
I think the message we are blessed to share is the
greatest story ever told…and the best part…it’s the ultimate truth
too. I think there’s a hunger for the hope that we can provide
and the more we can get out in front of people with our message and
give them a chance to see us as more than just a radio station, the
better we’ll be. That can be difficult with small staffs and
people wearing more hats than ever before…so funding and staff size
are the biggest two in my mind.
8. What do you believe is the primary role of the
Christian radio air personality?
To live life, in all its glory and pain, as honestly
and transparently as possible. I think there’s a skepticism
for and rejection of anyone who says they’ve got it figured out.
Our jocks will share celebrations and victories, and also struggles
and failures. I think a great “show” should be one where the
conversation on-air could mimic a bunch of friends sitting around
sharing life at college…or a conversation from small-group that
week. Our morning show, led by Brant Hansen, has set the tone
in a new way at our station, and we all share the belief that
sharing our struggles is as important, if not more so, than our
blessings. It’s disarming, in a really incredible way.
9. What (if any) Christian radio stations do you
consider as innovators today?
I am really proud of and happy to be working for the
group I do, and have seen firsthand the desire to look at everything
and explore the ways we can and should grow and innovate at both
CHRSN and our Colorado network. I love watching WAYK/WAYG
Michigan and what they’ve been able to do musically there, and I’m
amazed constantly by what WPOZ has done to be a vital local
connection in Orlando…not just a radio station. KSOS in Las
Vegas has done some truly amazing things in the last year.
There are a number of others I admire greatly and learn from as
10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
I think the defining characteristics will be
personality and connection. People have more options than ever
to find their music…so it’s what we add to it that will define our
product and our purpose to our audience. I think distribution
platforms will continue to evolve, streaming in cars and iPhones
taking the place of the traditional radio, and thus, we’ll have to
be more about the relationship than the city in the legal.
Honesty, transparency, connection, and accessibility (with the next
“Facebook” and social networking tools) will be key.