Career Capsule: I’ve been in Christian radio for nearly 30 years. I started at 1180 AM, KGOL, lovingly referred to as a “Dollar a Holler” station. Pastors paid cash for 15 minute blocks. 2, if not 3 different languages. Fascinating. From there, I spent 10 years at KSBJ serving as Promotions, Light Force host, Light Force TV host, and Special Events Director. I was part of the team that launched Ticket Servant and worked their very 1st Brown Bag. I moved to WBGL in 2002 as PD. When Chuck Pryor left, I was named Station Manager. I’m currently a board member of CMB. I work with great stations around the country through ShareMedia.
Jeff, Tell us what’s new with WBGL… news, changes, & with YOU… etc?
We are loving summer. Our Promotions team shines during this time of year. We just wrapped up a week and a day of Backyard Bounces, (we bring the bouncy houses to different neighborhoods in our listening area) and we will soon be hosting our Single Mom Saturday where we change oil, wash cars inside and out, and pray with single moms.
What are some unique characteristics you’ve discovered about your market?
Our market (s) are everywhere from South Chicagoland to North East St. Louis. Each community brings various challenges/opportunities, but great, compelling on air talent and the best music make us one community.
What is the best programming advice you’ve been given? The worst?
The best advice I’ve been given is when John Frost convinced me that my station was Mayonnaise. He’s a brilliant guy. I’ve committed to, at very least, being spicy Mayo.
Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?
Yes, and no. I think you are forced to up your game when others appear, so that’s good, but if they play, feel, smell, and taste the same as your station does, I’m not sure they add value. In a Kingdom sense, there is another redeemed spot on the dial, but it could be like having 2 Baptist churches across the street from each other.
What is the ONE thing you must have everyday to do your job?
Be an encourager. I must spend time with my staff and let them know I value them, because I really do, but they wont know it unless I tell them.
Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?
Great question. All arenas, I believe. One of our best hires was a stay at home mom that had a love for our station and lots to say. I think they will come to us; sort of drawn to what we do. You might have to ask them, but they will be ready.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
Making the main thing, the main thing. Compelling, interactive content. So many distractions. You don’t have to look far for distractions. Ownership can be a distraction. An unhealthy board can be a distraction. Being considered an asset can be a distraction. Relying on ratings, or their absence can be a huge distraction. I really feel most of our challenges come from within.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
Many industry leaders, who get mentioned here enough. The guy I learned the most from was Buddy Holiday (pictured with Jeff below). He was a consistent, loving, mentor for me for years. From early morning break 1, to his signature, “This is Buddy… I Love You” sign off, he was everything good about radio. I got to see him recently at KSBJ’s Sharathon. It brought me to tears. I love this man.