Has worked in Christian radio now for the past ten years in
Washington, DC doing mornings, afternoons and mid-days at WGTS. He
was the Production Director for 5 years and for the past year has
been the Music Director. He’s had the privilege of working with top
national consultants like Alan Mason, John Frost and Tommy Kramer
who have given him an invaluable amount of knowledge and funny
jokes. One of his highlights was creating a remix of MercyMe’s I
Can Only Imagine following the Columbia Shuttle tragedy in 2003,
which got airplay on stations all across the country.
First tell us what the current status is on the future of WGTS?
Unfortunately, the future is a bit unclear for WGTS as our parent
company is considering a sale at the moment. However, it’s been
incredibly amazing to see people coming out of the woodwork that we
probably would never have heard from otherwise to show their support
of this radio station. We’re in the most important city in the world
with incredible reach around the globe. And we’re confident that He
has a purpose for WGTS and that purpose is being worked out every
step of the way. (editor note:
The Columbia Union College board (owners of WGTS) will vote
September 20th to decide who they will sell the station...click here
to read a letter "A
Letter to WGTS"
listeners from management.)
2. Overall, how is Christian radio different today, from 5
It’s interesting, because the professionals within Christian radio
haven’t changed much in the past five years, but we’ve been given
more tools to work with that make the big dreams possible. It’s now
much easier to gauge how the listener feels about the music and the
radio station as a whole through online and auditorium research. And
we’ve become (as an industry) more focused on what the needs of the
listeners are and it’s evident when you hear breaks that actually
engage the listener.
3. What do you think are the main characteristics of today’s
Christian radio PD?
What I think separates a Christian PD from any other PD in radio is
the opportunity to form a family-type relationship. I think PD’s
need to be a mentor to their staff, to be available to bounce ideas
off of and think strategically. They’ve really got to know the needs
of the community and build from there.
I’ve had the privilege of working with some terrific PD’s. Some of
the best times have been going to Baja Fresh for lunch. It’s these
moments that make you realize how amazing an automation system is.
4. What criteria do you require for a song to be played on
Our main goal is to play music that our listeners expect to find
when they flip on our station. With that said, I don’t think that
limits us either. It’s really a matter of finding those songs with
strong lyrical content that matches her lifestyle and values. I’ve
heard other PD’s and MD’s say that a song needs to be “radio
worthy”, which usually boils down to whether it’s got a good catchy
beat and hook. While that can be helpful, we also need to be willing
to look outside the box sometimes. “I Can Only Imagine” wasn’t
played on CHR for several months after it was hugely popular because
it was thought to be too “INSPO”. And who would have thought just a
couple of years ago that tobyMac was going to be a huge AC hit? (I
thought he was just a CHR artist!
5. What kind of promotions work best for Christian radio?
I’ll start first with what doesn’t work: doing giveaways to
the 7th caller, or only focusing on the “real” fans of
your station or those who know all the trivia to their favorite
artist. Those kinds of promotions don’t get to engage the listener,
especially the casual ones. There’s too much else competing for
their attention each day. I like promotions that get everyone
involved, even if they don’t intend to call the radio station. It’s
still got to be entertaining for the thousands of others who are
You’re always going to have the “two-percenters” out there who are
always going to call even if you’re giving away the lint from your
pockets. The bottom line we look for when doing a promotion is doing
something that really gets to the core values our listeners share
and that can produce good story.
6. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve
More access to artists. We’ve enjoyed this past summer, for
instance, giving our listeners the chance to crash bumper cars with
Casting Crowns and ride roller coasters with Jeremy Camp. These fun,
unique opportunities give our listeners the chance to see their
favorite artists outside the confines of a stadium or a stage and
really get to feel like they know them and realize they’re real
people, too. This is one way we (radio stations and record labels)
can work together to reach the fans that other radio stations can’t.
7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing
Christian radio today?
Trying to be like everyone else. Christian radio has a unique
message that automatically makes us different than others, but we
don’t always capitalize on what those things are that make us
different. Stop giving the listeners the attributes of your station
and begin focusing on the values. If you’re still promoting that you
have the best mix or variety of music, just realize that’s not
something you’re going to win. Find the things you can win that
really connect with the values of the listener.
8. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian radio
Everything that comes out of your mouth needs to have some kind of
relevance to the listener. Your goal should be to create that
one-on-one experience like you were talking to a friend. Obviously,
finding entertaining ways of approaching each topic is essential,
getting to the point and not wasting her time. But I also believe
“entertainment value” depends highly on whether she cares or not and
if it’s on her mind. Each break needs to be filtered this way. It’s
better for digestion, too.
9. What (if any) Christian radio stations do you consider as
I’ve always been impressed with how stations like Z88.3 in Orlando
have been able to make a real connection with their listeners and
build real commitment. They’ve never attempted to re-invent the
wheel, just use it differently. I’ve never heard a wasted break, and
they take each opportunity to do something that will impact their
listeners in some way.
10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
We’ve seen incredible growth over the past five years, where many of
the top 10 or 5 stations in a given market are Christian. I think
we’re at a pivotal point now for the industry. In the same way
Country radio faced drastic changes 10 or 15 years ago, if Christian
radio stations were to truly realize their potential and find new
ways of being relevant in today’s world, we could see some amazing
impact on our communities and others really beginning to take