Career Capsule: I got my start in full-time radio at Clear Channel Radio (iheartmedia nowadays) in Minot, ND, in 2002. In 2007, I transitioned to Faith Broadcasting (Minot, ND) as the Production Director. In April of 2008, I became the Program Director/Operations Manager for Chesterman Communications (Jamestown, ND) where I served for 9 years. I had a very brief stint in 2017 of holding the same title for 91.1 The Bridge in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. At the end of 2017, I moved back to Jamestown, ND, and served as Operations Manager for Chesterman Communications before taking on the role of Program Director for Life 97.9, part of Northwestern Media, in Fargo, ND, in November of 2018.
Jarrett, tell us what’s new at KFNW… news, changes, & with YOU… etc?
2018 was a year of change for Life 97.9. Doug Smith became the new station manager in August (transferred from Life 101.9 in Waterloo, IA), a new morning show added in October, and I arrived at the beginning of November. Moving into 2019, I’m excited & thankful to be a part of what the Lord is doing in the Fargo-Moorhead area.
Christian Radio has become very competitive… what do you do to stand out from the crowd?
I’ve heard it once said “If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.” In this age of voice tracking, I think anytime you can be out serving and interacting with people in your community it is a good thing for your brand. People need to see you and be able to connect with you. This has been a priority for me, and it doesn’t always have to be tied to a promotion or a live broadcast. Just going to stuff and getting yourself out into the community works. I was excited to see that the staff already doing these things at Life 97.9.
What is the best programming/show advice you’ve been given? The worst?
The best advice I have received is to involve your team. They share a common goal of wanting to succeed, so make sure you get them involved and listen to their ideas and concerns.
The worst advice? I try to put those items in a drawer marked “Do Not Open!”. Seriously, though, everyone has an opinion you just have to filter through it, and use what you can to continue to grow.
Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?
Most of my radio background is in Mainstream Radio. I’m used to having other stations in the market with the same or similar format. I don’t get hung up on other stations too much. My focus is on what God has called me to do, and I need to be a good steward of that call on my life. That doesn’t mean I can’t pay attention to what others are doing but it’s not my focus.
What is the ONE thing you must have everyday to do your job/show?
Pop Tarts! LoL! J All kidding aside. I think for me I strive to bring the passion I have for the business with me to my workday. I enjoy the time I have working with other staff members, discussing strategy with other programmers & consultants. Now being in a Christian environment, and getting to read and hear people’s testimonies of how God is using the station for His glory! That only adds fuel to that fire.
Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?
I still believe there are great broadcasting programs around the country that are teaching and training the next crop of talent. A few years ago, we hired a young guy right out of Colorado Media School. He had a nice foundation, he was talented, and was ready to continue honing his craft! There are programs out there that are getting ‘em ready!
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
To not get stuck in a rut. Don’t get stuck in the “we have always done it that way” mode. The message of Christ will never change; however, we can look at how we are presenting that message to our listeners all the time.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
All of the PD’s & GM’s that have taken a chance on me over the years.
I also have to say that former Jones Radio Network PD and Radio Consultant, Jon Holiday, has been one of my biggest influences. Our friendship was born after he was hired as a consultant by the station where I was working at that time. I’m thankful for his mentorship over the years. He taught me a lot and answered a lot of dumb questions over the years!