Career Capsule: My career started in college as a news anchor then DJ at KGTS in Walla Walla, Washington at the flagship of the Positive Life Radio Network. After college I moved to Boise, Idaho and spent 11 fantastic years doing mornings, programming and promotions at 89.5 KTSY. Following that I changed coasts and moved to 106.9 The Light in Asheville, NC. While there I was asked to come to WGTS 91.9 in Washington D.C. in April 2012 where I’ve been ever since.
- Jerry, tell us what’s new at WGTS… news, changes, & with YOU… etc?
This year we were able to put down some roots in Washington D.C. God really blessed us and my family was able to buy a house after being here for years. At the station things are going well. We had a record fundraiser back in September and our team continues to grow. We’re so excited to have Johnny and Stacey Stone joining our team from Family Life Radio starting in January. They’re an integral part of bringing an all live and local team to our listeners in Washington D.C.
- What are some programming issues that you find are unique to your market (station/network)?
Politics, politics, politics. I think we’ve all been worn out by a difficult election season, but in D.C. I think you can multiply that by 10. There is a hypersensitivity here to anything political. There’s a tendency by people of both parties to read into things jocks say on the air, even the most inane things. In fact, before the election we decided to pull all mentions of the campaign out of our news and talk because it was distracting from our primary goal of introducing people to Jesus. That said, we are also in a unique position to pray for and encourage those who serve this country in our federal government.
- What is the best programming advice you’ve been given? The worst?
The best programming advice I’ve ever gotten came from John Frost/Tommy Kramer. They said you always want to be the moon. It’s our goal to reflect back to people the things they care about and to reflect Jesus to them as well.
- Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?
Hmmm…Is that a trick question? Do you know something I don’t? J Seriously, I think it depends. If there are a variety of Christian formats in the same market reaching different demographics, I think collectively they can reach even more people with a message of hope. However, if an AC station is doing a great job and another one or two come along, then that simply splits the market and makes it harder for them to survive. If you’re do the exact same thing, then one of you isn’t relevant.
- What is the ONE thing you must have everyday to do your show?
Sleep. Seriously, when I don’t sleep enough I’m not as concise and I’m not humorous. I tend to have a shorter fuse with the people I work with, and I don’t have a lot to give to the audience.
- Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?
We’re working to answer that question now. Our general manager, Kevin Krueger, has been fantastic at developing new talent. He has always managed stations on college campuses. We look for the best and the brightest in any field, give them a chance to work part-time in the station and many of them “catch the bug.” We need to be working hard to show young people how much fun it is to be in radio. Being open to talent from all walks of life is the key to finding the next great talent. When I was in college, I got to know the janitor at our station. She was a fantastic lady from Canada with a wry sense of humor. Because my boss had an open mind, six months later she was on the air.
- Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
I think we tend to be our own biggest obstacle. We’re really good about finding the reasons we “can’t” do something. It’s time for all of us to realize in our format it’s about who we serve. As Chris Tomlin once sang, “And if our God is for us, then what can stand against us.” He can do anything, and if it’s supposed to happen at your station, there will always be a way.
- Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
As I mentioned my general manager Kevin Krueger, who took a chance on a punk kid who spoke at 200 words a minute. Don Godman who does afternoons at KTSY in Boise has always encouraged, not just as a talent, but as my best friend. I also owe a lot to my coaches through the years like John Frost, Tommy Kramer and Angela Perelli. I’ve also been surrounded by a great morning team in Blanca and Spencer who push me out of my comfort zone on a daily basis. Growing up in Southern California I owe my love of radio to talents like Rick Dees from KIIS-FM, Robert W. Morgan from K-Earth 101 and Scott Shannon from the late, great Pirate Radio in Los Angeles. When I started working in Christian radio, there was only voice I knew and that was incredibly talented Jon Rivers. I’ve been at this for 27 years now, and I’ve been so blessed to have so many amazing people feed into my life both on and off the air.