Bryan “Yoshi” Harada Interview
Bryan “Yoshi” Harada
Music Director & Morning Co-Host
KXBS / BOOST Radio
Career Capsule: I first started with College Radio. Then, went all over the country for temporary jobs & internships in the industry with Radio Stations, Record Labels, Concert Venues, Music News Websites, & Artist Marketing. After that, I landed with SPIRIT 105.3 (Seattle, WA), then to NGEN Radio (Houston, TX), & now at BOOST Radio (St. Louis, MO).
Bryan, tell us what’s new at Boost Radio … any news, changes etc… and what’s new with YOU?
BOOST just finished its 2nd Payment (of 7) for its flagship signal in St. Louis, MO!
And we just got some pretty cool jingles – made by Ye’s (FKA Kanye West) Sunday Service Choir & TM Century!
Also, my family & I are getting a new addition to our family this Christmas… a 3 year old dog named Tucker! (Don’t tell my kids though, because it’ll be a surprise to them).
How do you balance work & family, how important is it for someone in Christian Radio to ‘have a life”?
That’s a tough question, because it’s one of my struggles. I love my job, so I tend to eat, sleep, and breathe all things job related. However, one thing that’s helped me is trying to make my Friday nights to Sunday afternoons computer/work free. So instead of working during those times, I’ll try & do something with my wife, kids, and/or friends. Something else I’ve tried to do is “Surprise Adventures” with my family at least once a month. Whether it’s going to the park, a museum, store, event, Geocaching, etc., my wife & I will try to surprise the kids with some sort of family adventure. And let’s not lie, Coupons, Groupons, & “Free” are enticing words when finding these adventures. In general though, I’d say that “having a life” is very important for recharging & lessening the stress of constantly working. Plus, doing things outside of work can help bring some content to the show. And I believe that finding a strong church home is very helpful in forming a community & “having a life”.
Overall, what is the best programming advice you’ve been given? The worst?
It’s hard to say just 1 piece of advice, so I’ll throw in one that’s always stayed with me: Constantly Study & Ask Questions… What has/hasn’t worked? What are listener likes/dislikes? What are tune-ins/tune-outs? What creative ideas are other stations trying? Etc.
One of the “worst” pieces of advice I remember hearing was something to the effect of: “Since we’re a local station, we NEED to regularly be playing local music/artists in regular rotation.” I’m not against local music and/or artists (in fact, I love it when an artist has local ties), but just like all other music, it has to meet the station standards (i.e. genre/format, production quality, message, etc.). I believe there’s better ways to be “local” than by just playing local music/artists – unless of course, your station/show is made to focus solely on local music/artists.
What’s something you’ve learned due to the pandemic, about Christian Radio, that you didn’t know before?
I didn’t realize those who worked in radio were considered “Essential Workers”, until the pandemic hit. In fact, I don’t think I’d ever heard of the phrase “Essential Worker” until then. Not gonna lie, it felt good to know that radio was known as “Essential”.
With all the recent Boost Radio growth, how has your music philosophy been affected?… Please explain…
BOOST is constantly tinkering with the programming here & there, but the overall strategy/philosophy hasn’t really changed, due to the growth. I’d say the biggest factor that has affected it the most though has been time: trends & sounds have slowly changed and we’ve adapted to what our listeners are looking for in BOOST.
Where will new up and coming air talent for Christian Radio come from?
I’d say all over the place! There’s so many opportunities to find talent nowadays, even from the comfort of your own couch: Podcasts, TikTok, Instagram/Reels, YouTube, Facebook, College Stations, Artists/Musicians, etc.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian air talent?
I’d say that these will always be a challenge/focus: Not only making sure that their breaks are tight & that they’re connecting with listeners on-air, but also finding new/other ways to connect with listeners (away from their on-air shift/off air), especially with Social Media.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
I’d say the many Radio Consultants that have helped me shape my sound (whether I’ve read their blogs & articles, or they’ve given me feedback on an air-check, or advice & encouragement through personal conversations). And of course – my boss Mike Couchman & BOOST’s Consultant/Talent Coach Tate Luck.