Feature InterviewInterviews

Chris Ortiz Interview

Chris Ortiz
Program Director
KPUL – Pulse 101.7FM
Des Moines


Career Capsule: Chris was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa. (Go Hawkeyes!) From a young age Chris always loved being in front of people and making them laugh through puppets and theatre. It wasn’t until college he caught the radio bug and started managing Graceland University’s radio station. After college, Chris worked for Des Moines Radio Group, (Saga Communications Inc.) one of the biggest markets in the Des Moines area owning 9 local radio stations. Chris grew up listening to Pulse 101.7 and decided in college that he would love to work there one day. In 2019, his dream became a reality and has been with Pulse 101.7 ever since!


Chris, tell us what’s new at KPUL… any news, changes etc… and what’s new with YOU and the morning show?

Pulse 101.7 just wrapped up Listener Power Month! We heard from a record number of supporters and we are so encouraged by this. Next year will be a big year for us as we celebrate being on the air for 30 years! (The first Christian station to hit Des Moines!) RaJan with Pulse Mornings has also been celebrating recently with his single “Better” being Number 2 on The Hot Chart.


How do you balance work & family, how important is it for someone in Christian Radio to ‘have a life”?

I’m fortunate enough to live really close to my family however learning to say “no” to gain that quality time is key. Also, investing in other hobbies like geocaching, playing video games, or heading to the movie theatre is how I relax. Something else that keeps me grounded is worship. There is nothing like a Sunday morning with a worship band at my home church and singing to God!


What is something about your market that would surprise outsiders?

The amount of fun that we have on and off the air. I work with some pretty incredible people and even though we are a smaller team, we are mighty! Whether it’s attending a CMB conference, meeting artists, or beating RaJan with Pulse Mornings in ping-pong, I am very thankful for the position God has put me in and the work that I get to do every day.


What’s something you’ve learned due to the pandemic, about Christian Radio, that you didn’t know before?

It was definitely one of my most difficult seasons in life and losing my voice as an on-air personality was not fun. However, the amount of calls and messages we got as a station with people appreciating us being there for them was definitely a reminder and a wake up call. We have an important job in the industry and the hope and faith that we help ignite is so fulfilling. God was and is still working in Christian Radio today, don’t forget that!


What are your thoughts on AI & how will it impact Christian Radio?

As Uncle Ben from Spiderman once said, “With great power comes great responsibly.” AI can be a great tool if used wisely. I’ve used it as springboards for ideas. There is also still a lot of unknown with it. We have to adapt and be ready for what’s to come.


In your Christian Radio career, what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Everyone can learn something new every day and it never hurts to reach out and ask for help. From what I’ve experienced, this network of people in Christian Radio is so helpful and wanting to achieve the same goal. How cool is that?


You’ve met many Christian artists over the years, who’s been your favorite and why?

I grew up listening to TobyMac and Skillet on Pulse. Meeting them in real life was insane. They are some of the most down to earth people and funny too!


Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?

I’ve met some pretty great people in this industry. Some people that I’d admire and look up to for their dedication and hard work. Maxwell and Amy in the Morning (WHO AM), Scott Allen, (PD at KSTZ), Ken, Collen, and Kurt in the Morning (KSTZ), Mike Couchman (KXBS) Neal Hopson, (KXBS) and Amanda Henry, (WCSG) are some of the kindest and best mentors I have had. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them!

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