Feature InterviewInterviews

Coy Sawyer Interview 9-25-17

Coy Sawyer
General Manager
Wausau, WI

Career Capsule: My first job, after leaving Trans American School of Broadcasting in Wausau, WI (1982), was in Refugio, TX at now non-operational KYOT.  My passion was sports broadcasting. However after coming to faith in Jesus Christ in 1983 my passion turned to the Gospel and Christian radio.  I moved to KCTA Corpus Christi, then back to Wisconsin (WGNV, Milladore) before taking the GM position at KNLB in Lake Havasu City. After two years in Arizona I moved back to central Wisconsin and started managing WCLQ.  I have been here since 1995.

Coy, tell us what’s new at 89Q… news, changes, & with YOU… etc?

After over 10 years with the same on-air staff, the past two years have brought many changes. We added former WTMJ talent Andi Miller to our afternoon drive and Emily Lamb (via Pensacola) to our mid-days.  Mike Lanser was hired when our former PD, Matt Deane met his “Waterloo” (KNWS).  We are now looking to hire a new morning show co-host to join Mike Lanser after April Sather turned “south” to Augusta, GA (WAFJ).  We were excited to see our small market station rank 13th nationally in the recent Spring Diary AQH ratings.  Our audience is growing and we are more committed to serving our region than ever with the recent hiring of Ryan Bair as Operations Manager. He has a great community presence and vision for local involvement.  2017 has been a great year for me personally.  

My oldest daughter (Talitha) gave us our third grandchild, my 22 year-old daughter (Moriah) graduated Cuma Sum Laude from Crown College, got married, and holds 8 softball records there. 

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

HELP. Joining the goodwill and ministry efforts of the community where and when we can. From churches to parachurch ministries and secular organizations that provide substantial help to the needy in our community.  We also make sure that we are fundamentally sound with our on-air performance.  From talent (relational) to technical aspects to production.

What is the best Managerial advice you’ve been given?

HELP. Listen, learn and help each person succeed. The worst? “You’re the boss”.

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

That would depend on the market but yes (better), if they each have their own niche’. However, when small markets have virtually the same music formats I think it could create an unhealthy competitive spirit.

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

Coffee! Besides that obvious answer; I need God’s inspiration. A daily quiet time is necessary.

Where will future Christian radio air talent (programming/on air) come from?

Home.  I mean those announcers and stations who live life with you. The consultants in our industry are right. Connect, engage, connect.  Our mission is what we do. 89Q exists to fulfill the Great Commission by bringing the HOPE of Christ to individuals and families in North Central Wisconsin, ENCOURAGING them in their spiritual walk, and INSPIRING them to action in the community.

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

Fundraising. More hands are out than ever before. While many of our stations (CCM) excel at it I know others who no longer meet, or even expect to meet, their goals (sharathon).

Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?

Chuck Finney, Jon Hull, Matt Deane, Chris Lemke. Chuck led us to better understand how to best reach our target demo, Jon has helped us better understand who we are as a radio ministry. Matt perfectly executed the music vision and was the consummate program director. Without Matt we would not have grown. Finally, Chris, in just two days of observation showed me trust of his team members. A truly humble man getting the most out of himself and those who work “with” him.

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