Feature InterviewInterviews

Chris Chicago Interview 10-30-17

Chris Chicago
Program Director/Afternoon Host
NGEN Radio

Career Capsule:
– Albuquerque, NM – MD/On-Air – KLYT/M88/Star88 / Christian CHR/Top 40/Rock
– Albuquerque, NM – On-Air – KBQI/ BIG I Country/ IHEARTMEDIA
– Macon/Valdosta, GA – PD/On-Air – Hook FM / Christian CHR/Top 40
– Nashville, TN – On Air – KVRW/ Mainstream Top 40 – / IHEARTMEDIA
– Nashville, TN – On-Air – WAYFM Network / WAY MEDIA / Christian CHR
– Nashville, TN – On-Air – Sound Of Light / Syndicated / Christian CHR/Top 40
– Nashville, TN – On-Air – Hype Radio, Jam The Hype, Rapzilla LIVE/ Syndicated / CHH
– Nashville, TN – Radio Promotion / Shamrock Media Group
– Nashville, TN – Radio Promotion / Save The City Records
– Nashville, TN – Artist Manager / First Company Management / Level Change Music
– Houston, TX – PD/On-Air / KXNG, 91.7 NGEN RADIO / Christian Hot CHR/Top 40/CHH

Chris… Tell us what’s new with NGEN… news, changes, & with YOU… etc?

The biggest news is that Joe Paulo will be joining the team at KSBJ as our VP of Operations which makes him my new direct report at NGEN. I can’t wait to see how the Lord uses him here and I look forward to learning and growing underneath his leadership.  We are also excited about adding a new show to Sunday nights with the hire of Lavoisier Cornerstone aka Captain OG, founder of growtheheckup.Com. In other news, our numbers have been showing nice growth besides the effects of Harvey and we’re excited to see continued ratings growth.

Houston Christian Radio is very competitive, what strategies to you use to stand out in the crowd?

I think we have one of the best sounding morning shows in the market, Mack and Manny are super talented and continue to bring exciting radio to the airwaves every single morning. In fact, we have one of the best on-air lineups in the biz, with Coppelia in the midday and Angela in the evening, they inspire me like crazy to do great radio and they are so good. I am also using a strategy of playing Brant and Sherri in our market. I think they are a perfect fit to bring hope, love, and acceptance to those who listen to NGEN in the overnight. We are also doing some really cool promotions and making sure that we are impacting the community in a positive way.

What is the best programming advice you’ve been given? The worst?

I learn from the bad and the good. I try to be in a constant state of growth. What you do with the information you receive is the important part. Did I just sucker my way out of the real question? 

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

Well, this is a little different for us because we do a form of Christian Radio that is very rare in any market. We are reaching a very large percentage of minority listeners and I don’t think we do that well overall in Christian Radio. I am excited to be reaching an audience that is not normally reached, so, in that case, the more the better. As long as the formats are different enough to reach those not being reached. Let’s build the kingdom!

What is the ONE thing you must have every day to do your job/show?

Excellent teammates. I seriously get to work alongside the best in the business. You know who you are. 

Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?

I think program directors will need to have an eye for interesting and talented communicators. Finding talent that doesn’t even necessarily realize they would be great on the radio and developing those personalities. We have seen this happen numerous times over the last few years.

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

Education. By that, I mean, radio needs to stay educated on what the absolute latest technology is and how to utilize that for our future. We don’t want to become blockbuster or Kodak.

Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?

On the air, I have always loved Ryan Seacrest. I know that’s the easy answer but I said it in 2004 and I am still saying it now. I am also influenced by Tracy Johnson, Paul Goldsmith, Ty McFarland, Troy West, Jon Hull, Scott Herold, and from my time at IHEARTMEDIA, Rich Davis. Oh, and since I am a huge Disney nerd, I am influenced by Walt, Bob Iger and Michael Eisner. I am already starting to incorporate “the Disney way” in some things at NGEN.  I can’t tell you exactly what I am doing but I think it is going to pay off in a big way.

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