Radio has been a part of my life for 32 years through promotions,
production, news, sales, and programming. I began as a teenager at
a college-owned FM rock station in Stillwater, Oklahoma and then
moved to an Oklahoma City rock station known, at that time, as KATT.
I had a secular radio career-track plan to go from Stillwater to
Oklahoma City to Dallas and then eventually to New York. Pretty
lofty goals for an Oklahoma hayseed! That plan materialized
much sooner than I expected. It also came to a screeching halt after
I spent three weeks in New York on a promising job interview trip.
I couldn’t get back to Texas radio soon enough! It was a few years
later when I decided to “try” Christian radio. (I’ve been a believer
since age 9). That’s when my job switched from “career” to
passionate service. Now, half my work life has been invested in
How has KCBI evolved over the last few years?
If radio station evolvement were an Olympic sport, I think that KCBI
would have a case of gold medals! We’ve not only experienced a
great increase in number of listeners and listener support, but our
staff members daily show evidence of a continued, closer
relationship to Christ! KCBI has always been a radio station full of
believers, but I now even more consistently see our “walk and our
talk” matching! I still remember vividly my years in
non-Christian radio and it’s still sometimes unsettling to work with
people who take God’s word seriously enough to use scripture to
strategize and to solve problems and meet challenges.
2. Has KCBI made any changes due to economic situation, been
affected in any way?
We have scaled back a bit on expenditures to exercise wise
stewardship, but we’ve experienced no major fall-out from the
economy. Even after the darkest economic phases, our bottom line
has actually increased! We know that it is absolutely supernatural
and we give all the credit to Jesus Christ! One of the scriptures
often quoted by our General Manager, Mike Tirone, is Psalm 127:1a,
“Unless the Lord builds the house, its laborers labor in vain”. We
understand, as a staff, that the Lord must build the KCBI house and
we try to be His tools and stay out of the way of His will!
3. What do you think are the main characteristics of a Christian
radio Promotion Director?
I believe the first, critical, characteristic is to always remember
that what you do, you do as unto the Lord! Affirmation from men has
its place, but I believe that it is obedience to Christ that
precedes any level of success. Humility is also important. One of
my favorite scriptures is 1st Peter 5:6, “Humble
yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt
you in due time.” Allow God to order your day and define your
success. Once you place obedience and humility at the top of your
to-do list, then Christ will give you the skills that you need on a
purely functional level; being good at multi-tasking, being
comfortable with “never reaching the bottom of the stack” because
the action-item list can be endless, and being able to appreciate
the differences in the way others accomplish tasks. I work with
dozens of different ministries, businesses, organizations, and
churches. Flexibility is crucial and always seeking the Lord’s
direction on plan A, and then having ready His plan “B”, helps keep
my priorities in order.
4. What criteria do you require for a promotion to air on your
I present all promotional ideas to our excellent PR leadership team
and we collectively filter them through the mission statement of
KCBI: Faithfully sending forth the Word of God so that it will
accomplish His purpose in the hearts and lives of those who receive
it. If discussion then continues, the idea is considered on
several levels for its overall value to our listeners and to the
5. What kind of promotions work best for Christian radio?
Any promotion that allows the listener to be first and to be
involved has a proven track record. Using Christ as our model by
caring about the needs and spiritual condition of the listeners is a
no-fail criteria. Also, promotions that appeal to the listener’s
desire to help are a pinpoint way to serve Christ in all that we do.
A few examples at KCBI this year include the Christmas Care Coat
Drive, Prison Bible Drive, Swedish Radio Project, and Valentines
for Kids (for hospitalized children). We are partners with our
listeners in these and other promotions. Our KCBI Town Hall series
is interactive and addresses the spiritual condition of our
listening family by giving them a forum for discussion,
problem-solving, and Spiritual growth.
6. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve
I really appreciate it when the record reps keep me informed about
their artist’s schedules so that I know when they might be coming to
the area. I also appreciate being provided product relevant to our
format and events. Cross-promotional opportunities are a win-win for
the radio station and the label, but communication is key.
7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian
I think Christian broadcasters are the biggest obstacles to
Christian radio. If we are not putting Christ first in our personal
lives and then in our professional lives, then how can we expect
Christ to bless our Christian radio stations? We will have the same
HR issues as any business, but will we deal with them in the same
way? We will have many opportunities for underwriting and
advertisements, but will we sound any different from the rest of the
world? We will have opportunity for gossip, ridicule, and
unwholesome talk. Will our relationship with Christ show our
co-workers and business associates that we operate on a different
foundation? Putting Christ first and being obedient to His word
removes obstacles and allows only those to remain that fulfill the
will of God.
8. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian radio
Be Real! We should allow our relationship with Christ to overflow
onto the airwaves and into our listener’s lives with broadcast
9. What (if any) Christian radio stations do you consider as
The most innovative radio effort that I can think of is The Coconut
Hut Radio Show. It’s KCBI’s syndicated children’s program that airs
on 28 radio stations in 14 states. Our Director of Children’s
Programming and host is Rod Butler, also known as “Bongo Rod”.
He’s constantly forward thinking and is an unending source of
creativity about how to reach children for Christ. His ability to
connect to his listeners never ceases to amaze me. He is
always “on”, always thinking about new games, contesting, and new
approaches to child evangelism. It’s always a pleasure to have
a brain-storming session with him!
10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
Because of the ever-growing genius contributions to information
technology, I see that Christian radio can be even more interactive
and immediate in the lives of our listeners, but only if the
industry realizes and maintains the value of relationship. Machines
can be unbelievably efficient, but the radio audience will continue
to be a group of “one”, an individual who needs light in darkness,
who needs to hear the hope of Christ, and who needs a friend.
Christian radio will forever draw an audience who needs a Savior.
Five years from now, I hope that we are using new technologies to
reach the lost that I couldn’t have dreamed of 32 years ago.