Career Capsule: A buddy of mine was doing a heavy metal show on Monmouth University’s WMCX, which led me to filling in for students in the summer, which led me to: Y-107 – New York (Country) – Promotions, WPDQ 89.7 – Monmouth-Ocean, NJ (Oldies) – Middays, New Jersey 101.5 (Talk / Classic Hits) – Promotions / Production / Weekends, 90.5 The Night – Monmouth Ocean, NJ (AAA) – Nights, Digital 102.7 – Atlantic City, NJ (Alternative) – Nights, WIBG 1020 AM – Atlantic City, NJ (CCM / Talk & Teach) – Production, G-Rock Radio – Monmouth Ocean, NJ (Alternative) – Nights, 106.7 D-O-X – Cape May, NJ (Alternative) – Music Director, 96-5 The Point – Philadelphia, PA (Hot AC) – Weekends, Mix 95.7 – Philadelphia, PA (Hot AC) – Weekends, The Wall Street Journal This Morning – National (Talk / Business News) – Producer , Star 99.1 – New York (CCM) – Nights, then Afternoons, B101 – Philadelphia, PA (AC) – Afternoons, The Bridge – Salisbury / Ocean City, MD (CCM) – Middays. Star 99.1 – New York (CCM) – Afternoons, now Mornings
Dave, tell us what’s new… latest news, changes, at WAWZ & with YOU… etc?
Well, so much has changed at Star 99.1. We had a General Manager, Program Director and Morning Show change all around the same time. Art Garza from our sister station, Star 93.3 in Cincinnati, became Director of Broadcasting for all 3 Pillar of Fire stations: WAWZ, WAKW and KPOF. Matt Stockman was hired to lead us in programming, and Kristen James and I are now the NEW morning show for Star 99.1.
In addition to Star 99.1 mornings, I’ve taken on middays for Cincinnati’s Star 93.3, syndicated weekends on the Christian FM Radio Network, and help out with The Bridge (WKNZ & WNKZ) on Delmarva. Anything else new? Yup. Got married back in January. Heidi and I have been together since 2013 and I guess she liked me enough to say, “Yeah, I guess you’ll do.”
Christian Radio has become very competitive… what do you do to stand out from the crowd?
You know, that’s a funny question. I don’t actively do anything to make myself stand out, it just happens. Paul Tipton at Christian FM told me that when he was looking for a new voice on his network, he said to himself, “What is this? Why does this guy sound completely different than what’s out there?” The truth is, it’s all God. I am who I am and God has been using me to serve Him in Christian radio. It’s truly a blessing.
What is the best show advice you’ve been given? The worst?
Best show advice? Don’t be a DJ, just be you. Speak how normal people speak, use your life as show prep. Worst show advice? Only talk for 10 to 12 seconds.
Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?
I love the fact that if there are multiple Christian stations in the same market, we’re all reaching people for Christ. You can’t argue with that. My biggest issue, though, is oversaturation. You have two, three, four, more stations in one market all playing the same music….what’s the point? How is that helpful? Oversaturation is a real problem, but the key is to find a way to stand out. What makes your station different? What does your station, your show, offer that no one else can? Find that and run with it.
You work with a show partner, what is it that makes things click when working with a co-host?
If you’re thinking about adding a co-host to your show, ask yourself this: “Would I be able to hang out with this person outside of work and still get along with them?” It’s just like anything else, really. You need to be able to build a solid friendship with your co-host; need to trust them; need to know when to let them shine; need to come together and bounce ideas off each other. That’s what Kristen and I do. We’re constantly show prepping, even on weekends (even now as I type this…almost 3 hours after our morning show ended for the day). If Kristen finds something we should talk about on the air over the weekend, we’re bouncing it off each other through Facebook messenger. When we’re not working on the show, we’re getting together with our spouses and radio friends for Zoom game nights. Co-hosts need to bond on and off the air.
In your opinion, where will future Christian radio air talent come from?
For me, it was secular radio. I spent years working in Alternative and Hot AC radio, but felt God calling me to serve Him in Christian radio. Now, this was way before podcasting, YouTube, etc., but I think God can use anyone from anywhere. I want to give a shout-out to Mark Dickey, Assistant Program Director, at The Bridge on Delmarva. Mark wanted to land a gig doing sound for Elevation Church in Charlotte, but God called him to The Bridge in Delaware instead. Mark didn’t know anything about radio, but God called him there anyway. I’ve watched and listened to Mark blossom into an incredible Christian radio talent over the last couple of years. If God wants to use someone, He’ll make a way.
How do you feel about podcasts, should Christian radio personalities have one, why – why not?
Absolutely! I’m all for podcasting. If you can develop a podcast outside of your morning, afternoon, whatever show, or even just a segment here and there, go for it. To be honest with you, my wife pretty much only listens to podcasts. I know a lot of people that consume content this way, so why not try to reach them?
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
I will always be a Jon Rivers fan. Forever. I was working for WIBG 1020 AM outside of Atlantic City, NJ, my very first Christian radio station, back in 1999. I had no interest in Christian radio at the time, but just needed a side gig for extra cash while I worked for WJSE 102.7 (a Howard Stern affiliate). It was my job to load 20 the Countdown Magazine into the automation. But just by doing that, I listened….and listened…to the music. I started asking questions, picked up a Bible, and wouldn’t you know it, got down on my knees and ask Jesus into my heart right in that little studio in the shadow of New Jersey casinos. But it was Jon Rivers that really got my attention. I loved his sound. It didn’t matter what he was saying…it was just amazing. I’ve never told Jon this story, but Ty McFarland at KCMS told me he’d help me make that happen J
Stations I’m a nerd for:
WGTS / Washington, D.C.
WRBS / Baltimore
KCMS / Seattle
KSBJ / Houston
KLTY / Dallas
The Bridge / Salisbury-Ocean City