I started off
volunteering weekends at a local college station KNGX 91.3
from '89 to 'early '93. Then I did overnights and eventually
middays on KXOJ from '93 to '95. Went 'cross town to KCFO for
mornings from '96 untill late '99 or so. Took the PD/morning
Gig at WCVO in Columbus from '00 and stayed untill late '01.
Spent a year at AMI Radio group in Joplin as Creative Services
guy for the cluster and morning jock for their top 40 station.
Then I had the tremendous honor of coming to Tulsa in late '02
for middays/imaging/music. I feel more at home here than I
1. How did you
wind up at KXOJ?
This is actually my second run here at KXOJ. GM David
Stephens hired me to do overnights one week before I
graduated from High school back in '93. I had an aircheck
tape that I made from a weekend shift I did as a volunteer
on a college station the previous summer. That college
must have needed jocks badly. I didn't have hour 1 of
experience but the college needed warm bodies to play
records. David put me on overnights and from there I went
to middays about six months later. I spent from '93 to '95
here. Then, for the next 7 years I did the sometimes
obligatory "moving around" that so many of us do in the
biz. I made a stop at KCFO here in Tulsa. Then, I PD'd and
headed up production/imaging for WCVO in Columbus, Ohio
for a while. Then I moved to Joplin to be Creative
Director for a mainstream group. In the late summer of
last year, I saw that Bob Thornton was looking for someone
to come do middays and imaging. I had to apply. I was a
huge KXOJ fan. I had followed KXOJ closely since it was
kind of an alma matter of mine and especially because they
had been so successful. Most of that programming success
was due to David Stephens' decision to bring on Bob
Thornton as National PD. When Bob got involved with KXOJ
it wasn't long before Dove awards and some of the highest
ratings in CCM radio followed. Bob and I met after I
applied and within a month my family and I moved to Tulsa
for this tremendous opportunity.
2. What is the most fulfilling aspect to you
personally about Christian radio?
I love the fact that what we're doing is eternal. It may
sound trite. But that's it. The music we play is
positively potent. It gets into hearts and minds like and
antibiotic and starts killing all the bad stuff. People's
hearts are healed and family's are brought closer. There
really is a sense of community here on AND off the air. It
actually feels alot like a family.
3.How has God used you in your role at KXOJ?
I would hope that the imaging sounds good. I would hope
that I've been a help to Bob in talking some of the more
mundane day-to-day music duties off of him. All of what I
do in music is stuff that needs doing. But alot of it
is grunt work for an MD that a PD shouldn't have to deal
with. A Program director's mind and time should be free
for oversight, strategy, planning and vision.
4. What is the criteria that determines if a song
receives airplay on your station?
It has to convince us that it can connect with the
listener's life. If it isn't of any use to the listener,
then it's an automatic toss. It has to be relevant and
real. And it obviously needs to be ear-catching and heart
grabbing. Coincidentally, that sounds alot like some of
the same criteria that we have for our jocks too.
5. What kind of promotions work best for your
Here again, if it helps our target audience it's a winner.
Promotions need to be simple, creative, and have an
obvious payoff for the audience.
6. How do you think Christian Record labels can
better serve Christian radio?
Continue to foster current sounding artists that really
have something to say and those with true hearts for God
and People. Those are the artists who continue to win for
us like Mercy Me, Nichole Nordeman, and Chris Rice. And
this may sound obvious, but I think we at radio can help
labels by being honest with them about what our listeners
want. Don't blow smoke at them about a song just to avoid
an uncomfortable call. If you think a song is good or bad
then let the label know. This way they can make
adjustments and continue to stay on the cutting edge with
their artists and the management thereof. In the long run,
everybody is better off with honesty.
7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles
facing Christian radio today?
I think a mindset that we're inherently inferior to
mainstream radio is rampant today and hurts us as an
industry. Sometimes we assume that our listeners think
we're not as good as our secular counterparts when we
shouldn't. We undercut ourselves too much. We've got no
reason to. There's no reason today that a CCM station
can't sound great up next to the alternative. Our product
is better than ever. If we present it with joy, skill and
confidence then we've got nothing to worry about. Along
those lines as well, if you think you're inferior you will
end up that way.
8. What do you believe is the primary role of the
Christian radio air personality today?
Our roles as hosts is to keep the listener and the music
in the center of the picture. Everything else is the
picture frame. The jock, the time and temp, artist info,
weather, news, etc. It all revolves around connecting the
listener with this great message in the music. As a
result, we need to remember that we as jocks are not the
star. We should get in, connect, and take the first exit.
9. What (if any) other Christian radio stations do
you consider as innovators today?
I like what Salem has done in broadening the reach of CCM
into the big markets. They've got a solid product. They
hire good talent. And I believe they're moving in a good
10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
I see us as an industry continuing to shore up our weak
spots and expanding the proliferation of stations. I see a
continued concentration on professionalism, and staying
current and relevant. I would like to see KXOJ's
programming philosophy duplicated in as many people as
possible, in as short a period of time as possible using
any and every means available to us.
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