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Joel Burke Interview

Joel Burke
Program Director
KCBI Dallas

Career Capsule: 36 plus  years of radio experience.  The past 26 years as a PD/OM/Coach.   Worked in Austin, TX., Memphis, Tn. and Denver, Co. Also, Corporate PD for Three Eagles Communications.  During my 10 years at KYGO ,Denver we won countless CMA Awards, Marconi’s and I was named country PD of the year four times by various trade publications.  Been PD at KCBI, Dallas for almost three years now.


1. Joel, what’s the latest news, etc with you, at KCBI?

We finished 2015 strong by passing our December Sharathon goal by $30,000!  Also, we gave unforgettable Christmas gift…Free groceries for all of 2016. A value of over $7,000!

2015 was a record breaking year in many ways. In particular, going over 400,000 in weekly cume and our morning show (Jeff & Rebecca)  constanting ranking top  5 in persons 6+ and women 25 -54.

As we begin 2016, we are very excited about what GOD has planned.  Julia Taylor joins us to do afternoons. Also, we are currently looking to hire a full-time morning show producer.  We believe those two positions along with other tools will allow us to continue to grow to new heights and have and even more meaningful impact for people all over north Texas.


2. Tell us about your first impressions when arriving at KCBI?

My first impression was that KCBI was a sleeping giant!  The station has a mammoth signal. I was impressed by the leadership in place and we all shared the same vision on the strategy and tactics to help wake up the station and truly connect in a real and transparent way one new listener at a time.    


3. What changes have you implemented since joining KCBI?

It was truly a complete reinvention of the station.  

New Music strategy, New imaging (station voice & jingles), new morning show, a new focus on women 35-64 and new positioning statement.


4. Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?

I would agree to some extent that more stations can cause each station to raise the bar and can overall create more exclusive cume  sharing among the stations. 

However, I adopted the philosophy a long time ago of legendary basketball coach John Wooden. Our biggest challenge is to be the best that we can be.   We only have control over what we do each day. It’s the small things together that eventually make a big difference! It’s the passion of waking up each morning and knowing there is another 1,000 piece puzzle to put together.  

Also, I believe that the definition of great last year can only be defined as good this year!  This approach automatically allows me and my team to create higher highs and higher lows!   

5. Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?

We should a wide access point on where talent comes from.  Some could come general market radio like myself who believed GOD is shifting their desire from a career to a calling.  It could someone who waits on you a restaurant that has massive personality!  We must keep our options open constantly.      


6. Live & local or syndication, what’s the benefits of each?

Live & Local or syndication are inside radio terms that have no direct impact on whether someone will or won’t listen to you.  Paul Harvey was one of the most successful syndicated features of all time and nobody cared that he was in Chicago. 

Ideally, a station should want to have terrific local talent that create a friendship with the listeners online, on-air and on site.  That’s the ideal combination, but due to lack of resources that isn’t always realistic.

However, no matter where they are from, great talent will always win over local inferior talent.  

The bottom line is go find the best talent available that can connect and have impact whether they are local or syndicated.  


7. Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?

I believe this is an exciting time for Christian radio. Now, more than ever people need hope and encouragement!  The question is how each station will make both happen.

Personally, I believe that Christian radio needs to have deep, meaningful content and not be afraid of talking about messy subjects. C.S. Lewis once said,  “Friendship is born at the moment when one man says to another …What? You Too? I thought I was the only one.”  Air talent need to be given the open door to being vulnerable and share their own struggles.  This approach will in turn make each of your listeners to realize they are not alone and that just because they have struggles doesn’t make them less of a Christian.

I’m blessed and thankful to be part of radio station that openly talks about the ups and downs of life and at the same time points our listeners to the grace and truth of the gospel. 


8. Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?

There are so many that have had a direct impact both personally and professional.

Here are just a few…

Bob Cole- He gave me my first full-time job in radio at the age of 19 in Austin, Texas.

Barry Drake & Frank Bell- Even though I was only 26 years old,  they handed the keys of a radio station in Austin, Texas.  It was  my first PD job. 

Rusty Walker & Bob Call-  Rusty was the consultant and Bob Call was and still is the GM at KYGO, Denver. They gave the opportunity to be PD at KYGO, Denver for 10 years!    

2 thoughts on “Joel Burke Interview

  • Joel is my man. This article really blessed my life.

  • Great read, thanks Joel.


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