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Rick Hall


SOS Radio

Las Vegas



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Rick's Career Capsule
Like many others in our industry, I started my career in media knocking down doors when I was twelve.  A door was finally opened when I was fourteen and I began working as an ďunofficialĒ intern at WCCQ-FM/Joliet, IL (Country).  A couple of years later I was hired to work weekend shifts (among other things) at WCFL-FM/Morris, IL (Christian CHR).  Additional stops on my radio circus included WCIC/Peoria (Christian AC) and WQFL/Rockford (Christian CHR).  My first large market experience was with Salem Communicationís FISH station in Milwaukee, WI and later US*99.5/Chicago, the largest cuming country music station in the nation.  US*99.5 brought me to the now defunct FRESH 105.9/Chicago (Soft AC).  Today, you can find me working as APD/MD of the SOS Radio Network based in Las Vegas, NV.

WCCQ (98.3 WCCQ)- Intern
WCFL (Christian Music Radio, 104.7 WCFL)- Weekends, Nights, & Programming Assistant
WCIC (Family Friendly, WCIC)- Assistant Program Director & Afternoons
WQFL (Positive Hit Radio, 101QFL)- Program Director & Afternoons
WFZH (105.3 THE FISH)- Music Director, Production Director, & Middays
WUSN (US*99.5)- Weekends/Swing
WCFS (FRESH 105.9)- Afternoon Drive
KSOS Network (SOS Radio Network)- MD/APD & Afternoons (1p-3p)


1. What factors influenced you to make the move to Las Vegas?

Bills?  With my wife pregnant and our first baby due in a matter of days, it was an unfortunate time to be out of work.  It was difficult to introduce our new baby girl to family and friends and in the same breath say goodbye.  However, my wife Sarah and I were confident that we were supposed to be in Las Vegas.  How could we go from living in the everyday exciting City of Chicago to living somewhere else?  Only one place in America could top Chicago Ö and that city is Sin City, Las Vegas.  Combine that with the proposition of working for a stable Christian radio station that has been in existence for over thirty years and youíve got yourself a no brainier.


2. How does it feel to be back in Christian radio?

It feels better than I imagined it would be being back in Christian radio.  It almost feels like a reunion of sorts.  After spending the past five years or so working in commercial radio, itís refreshing to be working for an organization that exists solely to encourage the heart, soul, and spirit with Godís love and mercy.


3. How does SOS Radio connect locally with markets?

Broadcasting from our flagship KSOS/Las Vegas, the SOS Radio operates as a network, reaching nine states with a potential audience of nearly 4 million.  Because we recognize that whatís happening in Vegas isnít necessarily interesting to those who listen Missoula, MT or Salt Lake City, UT we go to great lengths to keep topics of discussion to things that are universally relevant to our target audience (i.e.: family, mom and dadís dwindling retirement, work, childrenís education, etc. etc.)


4. What criteria do you require for a song to be played on SOS Radio?

There appears to be no end to the unemployment or housing mess here in Las Vegas.  When I first moved here, everyone I met was trying to get me to either rent or buy his or her homes. I share this because odds are that a double-digit percentage of listeners of our radio station are on the brink of losing it all or have so already.

We have intentionally designed the SOS Radio Network to be a place of encouragement and strength for our listeners through this challenging time.  Right now, we have no room for fluffy ďlife is beautiful songs.Ē  We want to meet our listeners where they are and deliver songs of hope, peace, and deliverance.  Itís a 9-1-1 situation in many homes across our valley and we want to play songs that recognize the urgency of Christ in these dire situations.


5. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve Christian radio?

Itís 2011.  Stop giving us cdís to give away.  (And radio, stop giving away cdís!)

Ok, maybe that was a little dramatic.  But go with me on this one.  The last time a cd giveaway on the radio was cool was back in 1999 when they used to cost $20 or more to buy at Sam Goodies or Tower Records.  The last time I walked into a Target or Best Buy, they were selling the biggest albums in Christian music for under $10.  If Becky really wants the new Tomlin or Casting Crowns record, sheíll throw one in her funky plastic red cart next time sheís strolling down the aisles of Target.

CD giveaways over-the-radio are great for the labels because they help build awareness of street dates.  However, Iím just not sure that radio stations are getting the buzz out of cd giveaways like we used to.

Letís keep the conversation open and continue to find ways to partner together and build a buzz for our artists and our radio stations.


6. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio today?

No doubt, itís financial resources.  Technology is making what we do a whole lot easier, but it sure isnít making it any cheaper.  Without resources, we canít keep the transmitters going, the lights on, or even keep up with royalty payments.  Without financial resources, we canít keep the talent that we have or help the next generation of talent build an interest in what it is that we do.


7. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian radio air personality?

It seems like the role of an air personality is one that is consistently being molded into something different every 5-10 years.  I believe that today, itís the hardest job in radio.  Christian radio air-personalities and general market air personalities really need to have the same goal:  to create reactions.  We donít play songs, we create reactions.  We donít play phoners, we create reactions.   We donít give away cdís (grrrr), give away cruises, share stories, or even ask listeners to donate.  We create reactions.  When we open up the mic and share whatís on our mind, the end goal should be to spark some sort of reaction out of the person on the other side of the radio.


8. What (if any) Christian radio stations do you consider as innovators today?

Z88.3ís commitment to the community and KSBJ and NGEN Radioís experiment with building a buzz via Web 2.0 should be commended.


9. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?

As mobile continues its transition from a buzzword to a household word, radio needs two leaders:  One in the digital world and one in the offline world.  Within the next five to ten years, I would love to see position of Program Director evolve into something a little different than it is today.  You simply canít expect one person to be the orchestra leader of everything that takes place in the terrestrial radio world and also in the digital world. 



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