Career Capsule: I started my radio career in 1990 as Production Director at WCIE in Central Florida. During my time there, I did Overnights, Evenings and Living Water, which was our 6 hour Rock Show on Saturday nights. I also had a show called Stuck In The 70’s which aired weekdays. WCIE was sold in ’96 so I moved to WTWB, a Southern Gospel Station. From there I did a shift on WLXP in Savannah and for the past 14 years I did Evenings and now Mornings at HIS Radio in the Carolinas and Georgia.
Jim tell us what’s new at His Radio… news, changes, & with YOU… etc?
One thing that has developed lately is called The Show After The Show. It’s a video show that lives on the website and Facebook giving area businesses and ministries a chance to showcase what they do to a large online audience. The response has been very positive with the community as well as a great benefit for the station. Just another excellent way of building relationships with those in our audience.
As for me personally, I’m still a victim in the merciless hands of Rob Dempsey & Alison Storm. Just a sacrifice I make for the Kingdom.
Christian Radio has become very competitive… what do you do to stand out from the crowd?
Streaming video of the Morning Show online has been a real game changer. Thousands watch it live but so many more go to the website and watch the video replay or watch it on Roku or Apple TV. When artist are on with us I understand wanting to see it, but it still baffles my mind why people want to watch us…but for some reason they do! It also makes it a lot more fun for guests when they come and see old pictures and videos that we’ve dug up from their past. They always remember that.
What is the best morning show advice you’ve been given? The worst?
Get up real early, drink coffee and be yourself. Not really rocket science but it works. People definitely know when you’re not being real. Also, make it about the listener and how you understand where they’re coming from. When you’re transparent about what’s going on in your life, most people will relate and call or text to tell what they are going through. I’ve not really been given bad advice…or at least I didn’t pay attention.
Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?
I think its fine when they are different formats. But if they are doing the same thing I think it just makes it harder for each station.
What is the ONE thing you must have everyday to do your show?
I’m supposed to say coffee here but that’s too obvious. I need an outline of what I’m going to talk about and no stress! I’m an ad libber so I can’t do scripts. But when there’s stress in the room whether it’s from equipment acting up or someone having a bad hair day, I want to lighten the mood and sometimes that makes me go too far (in other people’s opinions, of course).
Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?
I think the best place to get air talent in the future or now, is within the station. Usually through internships from nearby colleges. It’s much easier to weed through the ones that would not work out and shape those with potential. Get them while they’re green!
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
I think the greatest obstacle is not becoming like all the other stations. Obviously, you can listen to music from too many sources so the only thing that will set you apart is your relationship with the audience. How can you make it seem that you are part of their family? How can you make them believe that you are experiencing the same things that they are in life? You need to be transparent about not being perfect but trying to follow Christ in this broken world. Not to pick on millennials, but they are not known for eye contact or verbal skills. So when they are able to look you in the eye and carry on a conversation without looking at their phone, they stand out. It’s the same in radio or any industry for that matter. It’s a very simple but overlooked principle. Look your audience in the eye (figuratively) and talk to them. Make them feel like they are not alone. It overwhelms me when we are at an event, how many people come up to us and relate to Rob’s story of his health journey and overcoming his life on the streets, Alison’s story of adopting a child or my journey of battling stage IV cancer. People feel like they are a part of our lives and they don’t want to listen to anyone else because they don’t get that with other stations in the area. Build that relationship with the listener and have fun with them as well as cry with them.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
It’s a little embarrassing but I don’t listen much to radio. However, I remember listening to Bill Scott and Dave Kirby on WCIE when I was in college. They seemed to be having a lot of fun and they made me want to listen. I get that same sense when I listen to Brant and Sherri or Wally. They have fun and tell great stories. Rob Dempsey (who I have to look at every morning so keep me in your prayers) is a great example of someone who is not afraid to try something new and do things that no one else is doing and do it until it works. I admire that since that is not really a part of my personality. Maybe someday when I grow up…