Career Capsule: Graduate of Dublin Christian Academy, Dublin, NH. Bachelor of Arts in Radio/TV Production, Postgraduate Business Management. Married to Deborah Cooper 1983. One son, Joshua ; one daughter, Shayne, One Grandson, Elias, Granddaughter, Lydia Former Chairman, National Religious Broadcasters, served 16 years on the NRB Executive Committee, and currently a member of NRB Board of Directors.
Bill, tell us what’s new at WARV … news, changes, & with YOU… etc?
Much has changed at WARV from its beginning back in 1978, when I purchased it at 23 years old. Back then, the station operated as a 1Kw – daytime only. Now, the station broadcasts 24-hours a day at 8Kw during the day and 5Kw at night, with internet streaming full-time. Additionally, the station has added an FM translator operating at 250 watts on 92.7FM in Providence, RI.
In those early days, I believed the Bible when it said, “Without faith it’s impossible to please God.” So, in faith, I believed God would always bless His Word if we broadcasted it. Though it was very lean and I struggled to survive in those early years, God did bless His Word and the station started to grow.
For many years, our desire was to gradually put together a New England Christian radio network. Over the years, my wife, Deborah, and I have slowly added new stations to our network to fulfill that dream and desire. However, we were still missing one big piece to our network, Boston. Now, we’ve entered into an LMA and purchase agreement for that missing piece, WILD – 1090AM in Boston. Presently, Life Changing Radio is the largest commercial Christian radio network in New England, broadcasting on eight full-power stations and a combination of twelve AM & FM frequencies.
Another advancement that we have been working on is the centralization of our operations. With the FCC change in the main studio requirements, we’ve been able to centralize four stations operating in different states at our NH broadcast facility. Also, because so much of what we do, both in traffic and programming, can be done from anywhere, we have several staff members who work from their homes utilizing the “Cloud” to get their work done. (This has been immensely helpful during these days of COVID-19 restrictions).
Lastly, we’ve tried to enhance other streams of revenue, which assist with the radio ministry. We’ve attracted several cell companies that lease space on our properties, in addition to leasing land to other radio stations.
What do you attribute most to the longevity of WARV?
From the beginning, it has always been important to integrate both local and church communities into our programming. We’ve always centered our programming on quality Bible-teaching ministries, many times sacrificing revenue to maintain a high level of represented programs. In the end, quality always pays off.
Also, we’ve been very fortunate to have a staff that has stayed with us, many for 20 – 30 years+. These long-term employees have given a strong sense of continuity through the everchanging technologies.
It’s also been very important to keep up with technical advances in equipment and exploring new digital platforms that allow us a robust presence on the internet and social medias.
What is the best programming/show advice you’ve been given? The worst?
Two good pieces of advice:
If you put quality and integrity first, revenue will follow. If you put revenue first, you’ll lose both quality programming and eventually revenue.
Be prepared! I heard early on that God uses prepared people. So, learn many skills and acquire knowledge. The more you know, the more God can use you in different situations.
It’s better to do a few things well, than many things mediocre!
I don’t remember the worst…it’s probably better that I don’t!
Some say the more Christian stations in a market the “better”…. What’s your opinion?
Yes and No! Yes, having a variety of Christian formats ultimately attracts a larger overall audience. That’s good for every station. No, there is a saturation limit to what a city can sustain. So, to be competitive in a market with many Christian stations, you must have good, unique local programming.
What’s your opinion on podcasts… is it necessary to have one, are they a threat to radio… etc?
Podcasts are becoming a mainstay in listening. We do not produce one yet; however, as listening trends change, we will have to be where people go to get their audio. So, I’m sure it’s an area into which we will move.
Where will new up and coming air talent for Christian Radio come from?
Some of the new talent actually comes from listeners. Many have grown up in homes where the “kids” hear the broadcasts all day. As they mature, we’ve seen those “kids” desire to get involved with radio stations are other media.
From my days as Chairman of NRB, I was fortunate to interface with many intercollegiate students. There are many Christian schools that have “retooled” their communication departments to teach students both the traditional medias and the newer digital platforms. As long as people keep listening, there will always be people wanting to participate in producing audio.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
We specialize in the Christian teaching/talk format. Today’s Bible teachers are aging and there are fewer younger men and women coming up to replace them.
It’s also very important to embrace the new media platforms. If a station doesn’t expand onto these new outlets, then as their audience ages, there will be no younger listeners behind them because they are getting their audio from the newer platforms, not traditional media.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
A pastor in Boston, John DeBrine, began a Christian radio broadcast many years ago, when there were very few Christians using radio in New England. It was partially through his influence that I began to seek a career in radio.
When I first started out in Christian radio, I knew very few people who could help me. I started to attend the NRB conventions and began to meet experienced leaders in the industry who could give wise counsel. Bob Ball, who worked with Inspiration Broadcasting, and then Salem, took me “under his wing.” He would call to give me sound, Biblically-based advice and let me ask him the “What would you do?” questions. Though Bob passed away many years ago, he remains a very special man in my heart. I’m grateful for the interest he took in me.
One of the advantages of getting older is we can now help mentor those who follow behind us. It’s giving back in thanks for those who gave to us.