in 1980 at age 15 at Oldies 1140-KLDY/AOR 106.5-KKCI in
Kansas City. Spent almost 7 years at Southern Gospel
1090-KEXS, Kansas City. Got tired of snow and -30 degree
winters in 1987 and relocated to Central Florida and AC
Christian 1450-WMFJ, Daytona Beach. The next 9 years took me
to Southern Gospel 1310-WYND, Soft AC Magic 107.7, Oldies
Cool 105.9, Inspo/teaching Joyful 95.3-WTLN, the cockpit of
a Cessna 172 airplane doing traffic reports and the start up
of Z88.3. In 1996 joined the Reach Satellite Network in
Nashville as GM and oversaw the launch of flagship FM
stations Solid Gospel 105 WBOZ/WVRY. Returned to Z88.3 in
October of 1997 as PD/OM/Afternoons
did God put you in His service at Z88.3?
In 1988 God brought me to 1310-WYND and GM Jim Hoge. We
sat in a Taco Bell one night and drew up plans for a CCM
station on a napkin. At the time we had no idea what God
had planned but the seed was certainly planted that night.
After 7 years of blood, sweat, tears and every dime to his
name, Jim Hoge (Z88.3 Founder/President/GM) hit the on
switch to the Z88.3 transmitter in August of 1995. He made
me Z88.3's PD. God brought us together 7 years before the
fact knowing what a team we would make. Over those 7 years
God grew both Jim and me professionally, personally and
spiritually. We also became best of friends.
2. What is the most fulfilling aspect to you
personally about Christian radio?
My job and my ministry are one. My staff and I get to do
killer radio in one of the most livable cities in America
and God gets all the glory! How fulfilling is that!
3.What do you think is the "reason" for the tremendous
success of Z88.3?
God has assembled a team of incredibly talented people
who are sold out on doing great radio for HIM. Jim Hoge's
inspired leadership, John Frost's consulting, coaching and
research, the on-air talents of Scott W. Smith, Lisa
Williams, Melony McKaye, Tim Wolf, Theresa Ross, Jim Davis
and Doug Hughs, station voice Craig Williams, plus the
behind the scenes support of Judy, Debbie, Cathy, Carrie,
Alana, Ovie, Randy and Mark. I guess that was a long winded
way of saying that God is the reason behind the success of
Z88.3. He assembled the troops that make it happen.
4. Tell us about the WPOZ morning show?
Scott and Lisa are two of the most talented air
personalities I have ever had the privilege to work with.
Their show is designed to be positive, entertaining and
encouraging while meeting the informational needs of our
target in the morning. No Christianese, just two real
people living out their lives (and their faith) on the
5. How is the Orlando Christian market unique?
We are a melting pot of cultures. A large
Hispanic/Catholic influence, a large Southern Baptist
contingent and many large non-denominational churches make
up the Central Florida landscape. Z88.3 works to be a
unifying force in the community. We also have almost 1
million people a week stepping out of planes, cars and buses
on vacation...many from foreign countries where Christianity
is illegal. It is so exciting to know that for some of them,
the first time they will hear of the Good News of Jesus will
be in a song that was playing on the Z in their rental car
or hotel room!
6. When searching for new CCM radio on air talent what
do you look for?
I am looking for air personalities who want to be in
Christian radio and understand the station's mission and
goals. There are many believers working in mainstream
radio. We need to get the word out to them that CCM radio
has stepped out of the dark ages and needs their talents to
help build top notch radio stations that play Christian
7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles
facing Christian radio today?
Those stations that refuse to embrace the tools at their
disposal (music testing, focus groups, etc.) will get their
clocks cleaned by stations, both secular and Christian, that
do. Many Christian stations have agendas that do not match
up with what the users of the end product want. Stations
that insist on airing programming that their target audience
doesn't want will underperform their potential. I have
never seen a research study or focus group where target
listeners to a CCM format indicated that they wanted a
"religious" sounding station with preachy, over-spiritual
DJs. In our research believers usually want a station that
represents their lifestyle. In the case of our target they
are Christians, but they are also wives, mothers, sisters,
neighbors, PTA members, homeowners/makers, etc.. Stations
that find out what their target listeners really care about
(and it usually isn't radio) and reflect those things back
to them on the air are the ones who will touch the most ears
in their markets.
8. What do you believe is the primary role of the
Christian radio air personality today?
To entertain and inform...and to sound like real people
when doing so. When one of my air personalities steps into
my office for their air check meeting they usually don't
greet me with, "hello brother Dean, blessings on this
glorious day the Lord has made. In God's plan for my life
he chose to minister to me in my car while sitting on State
Road 436." They say, "hi Dean, sorry I'm running a little
late but traffic is really bad on State Road 436." At Z88.3
each air personality is expected to be a real person living
out real life on the radio.
9. What (if any) other Christian radio stations do you
consider as innovators today?
100.9-KXOJ, 89.3 FM-KSBJ and 94.9-KLTY have be paving the
way for a long time. 89.5-KTSY in Boise has a small staff
and yet sounds larger than life. 95.5-The Fish in Cleveland
has nailed the "lifestyle" sound and 88.7 WAY-FM Nashville
has never been more focused.
10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
Hopefully owning the women 25-44 demo in every market
where a CCM station exists. If we become her favorite
station, we become an influence in her husband and
children's lives as well.