I started in radio when I was 16 working at an AM
station in Sanford, FL. By my senior year of high school, I
worked during the week at this little AM Country station, then
weekends were spent in Daytona Beach on a new Country FM
station. When college started, I worked full time at the FM
Country station (98FROG) in Daytona until I was hired to do
mornings in Providence, RI, at Country 98.1. It was during my
time in Providence that the Lord got a hold of my life and I
realized I was chasing the wrong things. We missed Florida and
98FROG hired me back as the APD, then the PD until I met Rick
Snavely at Family Life Network in NY. I was a new Christian
that wanted to make a difference and FLN was a radio network
that needed programming help, so we moved to NY where I spent 11
years as Network Program Director and Morning Show Co-Host. In
2008, we felt led to move to Columbia to become the Operations
Manager at 89.7 WMHK.
evolved over the last few years?
89.7 WMHK has
been on the air for over 30 years and during that time amazing
people have worked here (David Morrison, Jim Marshal, Jerry
Grimes, Tom Greene to name a few). The amazing work these
individuals and the countless others who are not named here have
put WMHK in the position we are in today. What a blessing to
continue to carry on their work and ministry. Lord willing,
we’ll be going another 30+ years!
made any changes due to economic situation, been affected in any
Yes we have,
but I think we ALL have tightened our belts. We trimmed a
little here and there, had to let some staff go and I’ll be
honest….it wasn’t easy or fun. Our sister station in Charlotte
(WRCM) has been a huge help during this process. Not only does
our staff in Columbia help Charlotte, but Charlotte helps
Columbia….we are really one staff in two markets under the
Columbia International University umbrella. We really have a
3. How does
connect locally with markets?
believe it’s important to come alongside the local church. Does
that mean we do EVERYTHING in a local church? No, of course
not. There are many listeners who won’t step into a church for
a number of reasons, but if we can be the bridge between the
two, then I believe amazing things can happen. Recently, we
began working closely with local churches and concert promoters
to plan shows better. Too many concerts were on top of each
other, often on the same day or weekend and we all know that
doesn’t help anyone’s concert. So, WMHK has become the spoke in
the wheel working alongside each group to help avoid scheduling
problems in this area. We’ve already seen the blessings from
those relationships in sold out concerts!
4. What criteria do you require for a song to be played on your
Duh? The dartboard of course. Mike Weston, our
Assistant Program director, likes to talk about “working from
the listener back”. I believe that if we start with that in
mind and not our own preferences, song choices become tools to
minister deeply in someone’s life and not just another tune on
our personal jukebox (remember those?)……
5. What kind of promotions work best for Christian radio?
Well, what is important to her and her family?
We start there. We aren’t going to do a Happy Hour at Hooters
promotion for all sorts of reasons, but when you break it down
it means nothing to her. Surprise her by paying for a meal
(like our Drive Thru Difference promotion), plan a free event
for her kids, help her find ways to serve others (Operation
Thank you – writing thank you cards to military)…..there are
many ways of coming alongside her and helping her and her family
make a difference. Those seem to be the promotions that work
6. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve
Continue to foster relationships between the
radio crew, labels and the artists. I can’t tell you how many
times amazing relationships are built from a simple artist visit
to the station. We can sense their heart for God, understand
the person better and use that to relate to our audience in a
deeper way. Besides, what we do is all about building
relationships, right? We do it on the air with our listeners,
we do it with our donors and we need to continue to do it
internally between us.
7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing
Christian radio today?
Forgetting who’s listening. I can still remember
what it was like before I was a Christian. What I listened to,
what I thought about, how I viewed “Christians”……often, the
longer we walk with God, the more we can become like a club and
we have secret words like “sin” and “salvation”. More and more
people don’t have a clue what those simple terms mean. Ron
Hutchcraft has written books about this and how to communicate
to this generation. This may be an obstacle that this industry
faced since the beginning, but I see it as an ongoing issue.
Have you ever listened to your station with your “outside the
clubhouse” ears? You may be surprised what you hear.
8. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian
radio air personality?
Just be my friend. I’m not talking about a
friend that tells you everything is OK even when the sky is
falling because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. I’m
talking about the kind of friend who doesn’t hide truth from me,
that will be there to celebrate with me and to cry with me. Let
your light shine before men……..how can we do that when we aren’t
real on the air? Just be my friend and mean it.
9. What (if any) Christian radio stations do you consider as
Wow. Better talk about New Life 91.9 in
Charlotte…those guys are great….Joe Paulo is amazing…..he’s also
my boss…..ha…..actually, I really appreciate the staff and crew
in Charlotte and here in Columbia, they’ve been doing amazing
things before I ever got here. That being said, I’ve been
really impressed with Dean and the crew at Z88.3 in Orlando.
Over the years I’ve seen those guys do unbelievable things to
reach the community and I think they are to be commended for
that. I really appreciate K-LOVE and their willingness to
invest in having pastors available 24 hours a day (gold star
guys!). As far as community outreach and promotions that really
sink in, KTIS is outstanding.
10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
all like to know the answer to that one? I do not think radio
is going away and neither is Christian radio. How it’s
delivered (phone apps/internet), the type of content (user
controlled) or even the type of talent we need may all change,
but it will be here and I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in
store for us next!