started out like many jocks, doing mobile disk jockey
dances in high school, and then went to work at my
hometown station in Clinton, OK when I was 16 on a part
time basis. I worked at local stations through college and
then jumped over to Oklahoma City where I got into the
"large market" by becoming a News Director and
Investigative Reporter. I actually won a couple of awards
for that! I looked like Fletch in my Oldsmobuick (actually
a '77 Chrysler Cordoba) going around investigating dirty
day care centers. Exciting stuff! :-) In 1990 I went to
work for Pat Robertson and his news-talk network. We had
almost signed Rush Limbaugh before he decided to launch
his own network. A year later I was able to flip the
station to Christian music! I've been programming ever
1. How did end up at KXOJ?
I was working at KTLI in Wichita, had been for a few years
and the whole time Jon Rivers and I had talked from time
to time about how cool it would be to join him at KLTY.
This was when Mark Rodriguez owned it. I had been down to
visit a few times and it was just never right. Then in '98
they had the opening for PD and it sure seemed like it
would be a good move. Well when I told my boss at KTLI
(John Pohlman) that I was going to be going, he let David
Stephens, the owner know and David approached me with a
new idea. He said the company was growing fast, that KXOJ
was in need of a local PD and he offered me the chance to
be National PD with our growing chain as well as KXOJ PD.
It was my dream job! So we moved here in late 1998 and
have loved it ever since!
2.What is the most fulfilling aspect to you
personally about Christian radio?
Without a doubt it's peoples reactions to the music and
the way the music moves them. My personal calling is very
simple- to get Christian music into as many ears as
possible. I've seen what it does to people. My favorite
seat at concerts is behind the stage watching people sing
along with every word.
Christian music and radio gives us a unique opportunity to
communicate the Truth of Christ without the baggage of
ego, personal agenda and personality that become such a
burden in other type sof ministry. I like it simple.
3.How has God used you in your role at KXOJ?
I don't know. From my vantage point I feel like a got
the golden wrapper on the chocolate bar. These amazing
staff people and opportunities still seem to fall in my
lap. I'm more amazed at what He does in spite of me,
rather then through me.
4. What is the typical day like in the life of a
Christian radio programmer?
I know it's different than it used to be. When I
started I thought a busy day was spending 3 hours
listening to new music. Now I'm lucky to hear new singles
45 seconds at a time between calls or in the car on the
way home. My day includes jock meetings with our AC crew
(KXOJ), our Rock guys (KCXR), promotions, sales, and now
so much technology- websites, streaming, automation
systems. The constant seems to be meetings. We try to be
constantly communicating with our staff on better ways to
communicate with the audience.
5. How is the Tulsa Christian market unique?
I suppose we are in the buckle of the Bible belt, but
when I look at so many stations today like the guys in
North Carolina and Michigan and Atlanta I see many regions
doing great radio that attracts large audiences. I
remember having a 6.2 share 12+ two years ago and hearing
that it was because we
lived in the Christian capital of the U.S. But I think
more and more stations now are seeing that well-done radio
can be extremely successful. There are many more examples
now than their used to be. Tulsa is a little unique in
that we now have what I think might be the world's only
24/7 commercial Christian Rock station (KCXR) so the reach
we have here into two age groups is something we are just
having a blast with.
6. When searching for new CCM radio on air talent
what do you look for?
We look for communicators. Jesus was the ultimate
communicator. He new where to go to find people to receive
his message. Most of the time he went to them. No ego.
Remember the lady at the well? He staked the place out
when you think about it. He had this message about Living
Water so he goes where the thirsty people go. Pretty
simple and yet pretty brilliant. A lot of us are not
willing to go where the thirsty people are. So we look for
people who are sold out to communicating the Greatest
Truth of Christ through music (not themselves) and who
will present that in a very professional appealing way.
It's funny because some of the most rock-solid Christians
I have ever met are on our staff and yet they never
preach, teach or "over share" on the air. They understand
that our calling is to play music. We look for people who
get that. They have to have some talent, yes but the
mechanics and stuff we can teach You often cannot teach
attitude, creativity and chemistry.
7. What events led to your decision to launch a
Christian Rock station in Tulsa? (The Kross).
Wow. A lot of things. It had always been on the back
burner. David Stephens and I talked about a CHR station
back in 1998 and said it was "5 years away". Of course
that evolved into Rock as we went along. There was an
attempt to launch a rock station in the market that
failed, but mobilized a lot of people. Then when we
started looking into what kids are faced with today, the
horrible media choices they have- we just new it was the
next step for our company.
8. What do you believe is the primary role of the
Christian radio air personality today?
In our company it is to be as real as possible, live
life with the listener, relate to them in everyday life
and present great music. We tell our jocks that the only
thing that belongs in the picture is the music and the
audience. They belong on the frame. The frame is
important- it has to be great- but it's secondary to the
"main attraction". Our listeners and the music they hear
is the main deal.
9. What (if any) other Christian radio stations
do you consider as innovators today?
I like some of what Kevin Avery is doing at The Fish
Atlanta. No two PD's are going to see eye to eye but I
like what they are doing overall. I admire what M88 and
Radio U and some of those stations do to reach a new
culture, albeit way outside the box of our typical
industry. We need more innovators. There are legendary
stations in our format (AC) that are still playing more
mid 90's music than 2000-2002 music. We're right in the
middle of a generation gap and pretty soon all of us are
going to have to choose if we are going to follow this
crowd into their 40's and 50's or refocus on
today's 26-34 year old which is much more into Third Day
than Twila. Too many PD's are sitting back thinking they
won't have to choose because for now they can play both.
It won't always be that way.
10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
Well in the larger markets I think it is going to be
tough for single station ownership to make it. There just
are not going to be single stations for sale, so we may
see brodcasters buying small clusters and operating a talk
Am or a Christian rock and a Christian AC or what have
you, so the business
side will change. Salem already knows that. On the radio I
hope we are more relevant musically and in between the
records than we have ever been. We need to be focused on
listeners who may be P1 ccm fans but not P1 Church goers,
orbelievers at all. That's where the opportunity to change