Career Capsule: I began my radio career in the Fall of 1985, during my senior year for high school. I spent 28 years as Program Director (and often morning show host) of various Country, Classic Rock, Classic Hits, AC and other assorted formats across the country with the on-air name, Kevin “Crash” Davis. Prior to my arrival at WAFJ in April 2020, I spent 4 ½ years in Memphis as OM/PD/Mornings of a cluster than included Country and Classic Hits. Before that, I was in Gainesville-Ocala, Florida from ’02-’15—nearly 9 of those years as PD of a Classic Rock. I also began to actively serve as a bass guitarist in worship band. Along the way, I had spent a brief period as PD at a commercial Christian AC. But WAFJ is an exciting all-new experience for me!
Kevin, tell us what’s new at WAFJ… news, changes, & new with YOU… etc?
The transition from commercial secular radio to non-commercial CCM/Christian AC has been something that I have dreamed of and prayed for years. I felt the calling, but wasn’t clear until God laid down the path. This has been the most exciting part of my entire career. And after 35 years in the business, I feel like I am starting over again—and THAT is SO refreshingly exciting! Also, uur longtime station manager (and Christian radio icon) Steve Swanson just recently retired at the end of 2020. Talk about changes! Long-time morning host, John Bryant has stepped into that role. John has amazing superpowers—I do not think anyone could possibly have a better handle of WAFJ’s incredible heritage brand, the Christian AC format and the Augusta market. He’s been my go-to guy in getting me acclimated to the area and to the format.
How has your job/show changed during the pandemic?
I departed from my previous job in mid-March 2020 – the very same week that concerns were rising due to the pandemic. I arrived in Augusta about 6-7 weeks later. So I have never experienced ‘normal’. We have been safely active, with cautious measures in place. I look forward to going full steam!
What is the best programming/show advice you’ve been given? The worst?
Best: I know this sounds basic, but do everything you can to make the listener/user feel like “this station understands and totally gets me”. I LOVE how we do that every day at WAFJ. Worst, from my last few years in commercial radio: Go cheap. The product doesn’t really matter anyway. Do whatever you can to meet the bottom line. The programming department is merely the service department for sales (rather than working together to build a marketable brand).
Some say the more Christian stations in a market the “better”…. What’s your opinion?
Part of me says, yeah! It is great for the Kingdom! But I think a similarly positioned format, even on the national level can adversely stifle the ability for the LOCAL brand to do ministry by slicing up listener base and diluting the giving. But it does keep us on our toes and forces us to strive for excellence even more!
What’s your opinion on podcasts… is it necessary to have one, are they a threat to radio… etc?
Personally for me, I rarely find a podcast that will hold my attention past the first 5 seconds. I know, I am odd. But it is not about me! My biggest concern however is that you have to be careful to “not go chasing squirrels”—spending time a recourses on podcasting that takes away from the over-the-air performance. The dashboard will get busier and busier. We must find ways to not get lost in the noise and carefully choose and pursue the best methods that will connect to our audience in that day. Change will be constant.
Where will new up and coming air talent for Christian Radio come from?
I truly believe there are more like me— believers working in secular commercial radio that have the calling to work in Christian radio, and not just looking for that next “gig”. Coming from that world, Christian radio once seemed like a parallel universe. Now that I am hear, it does seem like a bubble. I’d like to see a bridge built to bring more of us over and resources to help in the transition. I have literally been studying the format and have been a P1 listener for 10-15 years in preparation for this moment.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian air talent?
I think the biggest obstacle is genuinely and authentically connecting to the audience in where they are right now in real life, not how we envision them the way we want them to be. Life is messy. People are hurting. They need us. We are not a museum of saints, but rather a hospital for sinners. Be real.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
My radio heroes were from growing listening to Rock and Top 40 radio in Nashville back in the 80s—a hot bed of exciting radio! Carl P Mayfield, mornings at WKDF (then rock), Coyote McCloud, mornings at Top 40s KX104 and then Y107, Michael St. John, PD of KX104 and then Y107 (I later worked for Michael twice—a HUGE influencer, enabler and encourager in my career), and BJ Harris when he did night at KX104.