I felt drawn to do radio from as
early as my teen years. As a kid in the privacy of my room
I would host countdown shows spinning my personal 45's
(remember those?) I would tape commercials off of the
radio...you heard me right...commercials! Most people tape
music off the radio but not me! I wanted to have spots on
cassette so I could take commercial breaks during my
imaginary countdown show! Growing up early radio influences
included Rick Dees with his weekly top 40 countdown and Rush
Limbaugh among others. At age 17 it took just a week of
working at Burger King to encourage me to pursue a career in
radio. Weeks later I got my first job as a board op. at a
talk radio station, 550AM, KENI, Anchorage, AK. I also DJ'd
part time on their sister station which was Classic Rock.
About a year later I landed a job with one of the best
stations in the market, 101.3 KGOT ,a great CHR station.
The PD who hired me just happened to be Larry Wayne who
currently works with KLOVE. I also had a brief stint as
Production Director at KWHQ in Kenai, Alaska which was
Country with an AC sister station. I also briefly worked
for KFFR, a Christian station in Eagle River, AK. I've
spent most of my career at KGOT, however, sometimes full
time, sometimes part time when I was in college and was home
for the summer. Since 1998 I've been PD here at WMSJ.
1. How did God put you in His service at WMSJ?
When I first got into radio I was not a Christian.
I became a Christian while working in secular CHR!
However, the PD who hired me was Larry Wayne, now with
KLOVE, and if I recall correctly I remember him saying he
had prayed for me. Well, through his prayers and the
prayers of others, and through the power of Contemporary
Christian Music I found my way to Christ. It didn't take
long that I sensed a burning desire within me to do
Christian radio. Christian music had been a huge factor
in me coming to Christ and I felt strongly about it's
potential to reach others. I actually felt a calling from
God to be a Program Director of a Christian station. I
have to be honest that after years of praying about it I
was frustrated that God hadn't yet opened the door for me
to fulfill my dream. It's not that I aggressively pursued
work outside of Alaska. Instead, I really felt like a
Contemporary Christian Station was suppose to come to
Anchorage and that I would be a part of that. In 1998 I
found myself married to a wonderful woman, living in Ohio,
selling furniture for a living, and having abandoned
radio. I did not want to go back in unless it was
Christian. I honestly couldn't play the kind of music I
was playing anymore as I felt like it compromised the
Christian message I tried to share with others off air. I
actually began applying for Youth Pastor jobs around the
country but God closed all the doors. I was getting
frustrated and finally my wife asked me a pivotal question
that changed my life, "If you could do anything in the
world that you wanted to do what would it be?" I said,
"Christian Radio." She said, "Then why are you applying
for all of these Youth Pastor jobs?" I felt pretty silly
suddenly and realized it was time for me to get serious
about pursing my dream. I sent tapes and resumes out and
I discovered WMSJ on the internet. I sent them an email
and asked if they needed any help. I honestly wasn't
expecting much. The station manager emailed me back and
told be that they had gotten my email the same day that
their current PD put in his two weeks notice! Talk about
impeccable timing. Two weeks later my wife and I are
putting everything we own in a Ryder truck and driving up
2. What is the most fulfilling aspect to you
personally about Christian radio?
When someone is brought into a first time of deeper
relationship with Christ through our radio station.
3. How has God used you in your role at WMSJ?
I have a couple of different roles here. As morning
show host God has used me to become a part of the lives of
our listeners. He's used me to encourage people in their
faith and just help them make it through the day or put a
smile on their face. At least, that's according to
testimonies we get back from listeners. As PD, I'm
honored that God has used me and the rest of the
leadership here to really refine our efforts to reach lost
people in our area. We've become more effective at
communicating to the unchurched while still keeping the
churched tied in to our station. He's also led us to make
some positive shifts in our format to increase our
competitiveness and appeal in the market along
with helping the station to become more than just a
station, but a ministry. I really don't want to toot my
own horn here. We really are a team here. It's a
collective effort of folks using the skills and talents to
move the station forward. I'm blessed to have Mark
Tordoff as a station manager. He's been fully supportive
of me and is one of the godliest men I know. He's really
the heart of this ministry. He is a tremendous example to
the rest of the staff.
4. How can Christian record labels better serve
I think the labels are doing a good job. We are a
small station in a small market so understandably we're
not going to get the same kind of attention a KSBJ might
get and I'm fine with that. I do however, wish that some
labels would get the singles out to us just a tad faster.
Sometimes I'll find out about a song by seeing it on the
charts and have to gently remind some of my label friends
that I might like to play that song too! I don't want to
bug anyone, but my first obligation has to be my listeners
so sometimes I have to nudge some of the labels to help
keep me caught up. Some labels give better service than
others, and there are some folks that have really gone the
extra mile to take care of us despite our small
market status. When a label works well with a smaller
station, they're really not taking care of the PD as much
as they are taking care of the thousands of listeners who
will benefit from their service.
5. How is the Freeport market unique?
Freeport is part of the Greater Portland area and we cover
southern Maine and parts of New Hampshire. From a secular
standpoint this market is probably not much different than
most small markets. From a spiritual standpoint it's very
unique. Maine is one of the most unchurched places in the
country. In fact, New England is considered by many to be
a mission field and churches from other parts of the
country are sending missionaries here. Doing ministry
here is very different than in the south, where
Christianity is more a part of the culture and there are
tons of churches everywhere. I've had many missionaries
from the south tell me how the spiritual climate is
different here. Not that there aren't problems in the
south, it's just that the types of problems are
different. We've done many things to better reach the
unchurched here and there's not enough space here to go in
depth. But it starts with simple things, like cleaning up
our language on the air by not speaking in "Christianese"
but using words lost people can understand too. I've been
occasionally asked why we don't do bible trivia. Well,
it's because the only people who would win would be
Christians! It's great to have a Christian listener win a
cd or Christian book, but I'd rather get it into the hands
of a lost person. Therefore, we play games that would be
interesting to anyone regardless of where they are
spiritually. Some of our strategies are actually concepts
borrowed from successful "seeker sensitive" churches and
we adapt them to radio. According to George Barna's
research and our own examination of our audience there are
lots of folks who listen to Christian radio who haven't
taken that final step of commitment to God. We want to
help them cross that line.
6. When searching for new CCM radio on air talent
what do you look for?
Personality, teachability, humility, potential, and a
desire to reach others for Christ.
7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles
facing Christian radio today?
I still consider myself a newbie in the Christian radio
world. I probably speak for a lot of other smaller
stations when I say "resources." I just don't mean money
but a lot of it inevitably starts there. We have some
incredibly generous listeners and Sharemedia has been a
great partner to us, but I know that we could be a lot
more effective in what we do with additional resources. I
know money is not the answer to everything, and I know
PD's from larger stations could probably educate me well
on that, but it sure would help! I'd love to be able to
have more research done in our market, better equipment,
more personnel, a morning show co host, effective
marketing, and a host of other things, but it all takes
$'s! I think lack of resources is an issue with the
church as a whole, especially the local church. When
people gave a greater percentage of their income to
churches in the Great Depression than they do now
something is wrong. I think when believers nationwide are
more serious about giving to their churches, it'll have a
positive effect on other ministries too.
8. What do you believe is the primary role of the
Christian radio air personality today?
To be a vessel used by God that glorifies and points to
9. What (if any) other Christian radio stations do
you consider as innovators today?
Radio U. The Fish stations.
10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
I think you'll see stations fairing even better ratings
wise. CCM has made great gains the past few years, but I
still think that there is still a lot of untapped
potential for growth. There are a lot of people out there
who still haven't been made aware of CCM that would listen
if they knew about it. Since becoming a Christian, and
living in different places around the country, it never
ceases to amaze me how many people haven't a clue about
CCM and that Christian music is more than church hymns. I
actually believe you'll see growth in this industry for a
long time. We've just seen the iceberg's tip.