Ron Harrell is the new Vice-President of Brand and Content at WayFM. Ron is based at the WayFM network operations center in Nashville, and oversees on-air, digital, and marketing initiatives. He is a 30+ year radio veteran having worked for CBS, Infinity, Cumulus, and Hubbard at leading stations in Denver, Detroit, Dallas, and most recently Program Director at mainstream AC station KRWM/Seattle joining the station in 2016.
Ron is new to Christian Radio, so we thought we should all “Get To Know Ron Harrell” ….
-Ron, tell us about your family, history, where you grew up, etc.
“Professionally, I’ve been ‘Town to town, up and down the dial.’ I adapted to that lifestyle because my father was a preacher and we moved around North America from Canada to Illinois to Alabama to Louisiana to Missouri. When you’re the new kid in town, the voice on the radio becomes your first friend. I met my wife at college in Texas and we’ve been blessed with a beautiful story of family, friends and experiences.”
-What originally attracted you to radio as a career?
“My father would share Sunday morning radio time with fellow preachers in New Orleans. When I was eight years old, he challenged me to prepare a speech and take five minutes of his thirty-minute program. I was live in the studio, and yes, I wore a suit and tie to that studio in downtown New Orleans. After that experience, I became more interested and started making radio shows in the garage with my neighborhood friends. During high school we lived in Missouri and I got my first radio job at age 15 on the local station. Memphis was our closest big market. I would listen and take notes and try to sound like those guys. Ron Olson, Tom Prestigiacomo, Rick Dees and Redbeard all shaped my on-air style. Then at night I would listen to WLS Chicago and that station introduced me to so many audio emotions including the magic of great jingles.”
-You’ve only been at WayFM a short time, but what is your initial impression
“This is a passionate team of broadcasters and content creators focused on a mission and committed to the core values established by the leadership. My adaptation and acceptance has been incredibly smooth with this group.”
-Did you listen to Christian Radio before coming to WayFM? If so what did you think?
“I wasn’t aware of Contemporary Christian Radio during my formative years in the business. The little hometown station where I worked during high school played a syndicated show called ‘Powerline’ hosted by Brother Jon Rivers. The show was Current Pop music mixed with inspirational messages from Jon. I used to think, ‘how cool would it be to have a radio station like this?’
In the ‘80s we were aware of Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith and hoped for a ‘crossover’ before we knew what that term meant. Then the early ‘90s saw the breakout of the Heart in Motion album and suddenly we’re playing Amy Grant in power rotation on Pop radio. But it wasn’t until I moved to Dallas in 2012 that I really started paying attention to the format because of KLTY, AirOne and WayFM.”
-Is there something about Christian Radio that stands out being different than secular radio?
“The goals are the same: Content curation to meet the needs of the audience and grow the mission of the business unit. It’s still about what comes out of the speakers and devices. Always has been and always will be. The very noticeable difference is the common faith shared among the players. There’s a strong passion to create great content and to problem-solve because we’re committed to growing the reach of the ministry. The other noticeable difference is the passion of the audience. Tremendous. It reminds me of the Oldies audience in its heyday or the Spanish music audiences.”
-Whats your goals for WayFM… short term… long term?
“Short term: create a new voicemail message and get the correct lighting for my Zoom camera. Long term: create a common feel and companionship recognizable to the audience anytime they listen to WayFM.”
Welcome to Christian Radio Ron, HisAir wishes you the very best! Reach out to Ron HERE.