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Interview Paul Van Sickle 12-9-16

Paul Van Sickle
Operations/Community Impact Director

Career Capsule: Operations/Community Impact Director Portland’s 104.5 WAY-FM
2003-2010 KCWJ 1030 The Light Kansas City. I started as Darren Marlar’s intern in a lobster suit and worked up to Morning Show Host/Music Director. In the middle of my tenure we switch from CHR to Southern Gospel.
2010-2011 WAY-FM Colorado. I was Operations Manager, which included being the syndication producer for Mornings with Brant.
2011 HIT MUSIC NOW – I was an on-air personality for a Top 40 online station in between paying gigs.
2011-2013 – Crawford Broadcasting Denver. I was hired as a writer/producer for commercial campaigns and production on Conservative Talk KLZ 560. I ended up doing a lot of other things in the cluster as well including imaging for Urban Gospel 1220 KLDC, launching Christian Talk KLVZ, being the first producer/co-host for The Good News with Angie Austin on KLVZ/KLTT, and some on-air work filling in on various talk programs. It’s also where I cut my teeth on social media and web design.
2013-2015 – KKPZ 1330 The Truth. I moved to Portland to be Operations Manager for Crawford Broadcasting’s Christian talk format. Taking on the task of program development and sales, along with imaging, hosting a daily talk program, promotions, and social media.
2015-Present Operations/Community Impact Director Portland’s 104.5 WAY-FM.

  1. Paul, tell us what’s new at WAY FM Portland… news, changes, & with YOU… etc   

Time has flown by and I’ve been with WAY-FM Portland for a year now! Early on this year we wrapped our station vehicle and I’ve been putting in the miles on that all over town.  We’ve had the opportunity to partner with a few different ministries for supply drives this year. Currently we are trying to #KeepPortlandWarm and collect 10,000 blankets for the homeless with Blanket Coverage Ministry.
I was also recently added to the board of directors for the International Praise Festival, an annual multicultural, multidenominational event in downtown Portland. With the violence that has happened in our city since election day, we were able to approach the mayor about speaking out for healing and reconciliation. Mayor Charlie Hales joined us for a press conference earlier this week and will be joining us for a March of Hope next week. I’m continually blown away by what God is doing and I am blessed to do whatever I can to facilitate that.

2. What are some programming issues that you find are unique to your market (station/network)?

The challenge for us, and all our WAY-FM stations, is maximize local impact with syndicated programming. It’s a fun challenge in that we have to really think creatively to get the most out of the local spot sets, promos, and the localized liners that we get from the on-air personalities.

3. What is the best programming advice you’ve been given? The worst?          

In my first air check session with Jeff Connell at WAY-FM Colorado he told me to remember that what we are doing (Christian radio) is bigger than you (the on-air person). I “knew” that, but my young ego still needed it to be solidified into my thought process.

Don Crawford Sr. said “Perfection is the enemy of excellence.”  That opened up a whole new perspective and permission to strive for greatness without fear of failure.

The worst may have been “Just do the best with what you have.” Which possibly looks OK on paper, but the complacent tone in which it was said was not so inspiring.

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

From a Kingdom perspective (especially in a market like Portland) it absolutely is better. We have 5 Christian music signals and 5 or 6 Christian talk stations in the Portland area. Our city needs as much Jesus in the atmosphere as we can get!
Iron sharpens iron and I’m pretty competitive so it keeps me motivated to continue to improve what we’re doing on the air and in the community.
We have a mix of commercial and listener supported Christian stations in Portland. I think the biggest fear is having too many listener supported stations in a market and not having enough money to fund them all. But in God’s economy…

5. What is the ONE thing you must have everyday to do your show/job?

Coffee…After spending 7 of my 13 years in radio getting up before the sun, I’m still not a morning person.
The Internet. How else I’m I going to get the traffic and weather, post on social media, and respond to hundreds of emails!

6. Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?

Those willing to really put in the time study the craft of communication. I feel like coming out of school and early on in my career I was working really hard and trying to new learn things, but I didn’t take time to really study and put into practice the nuances that separate the good from the great.

7. Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?

Having our content be relevant to a broad audience without watering down the message of Christ. That seems to be true of the church as a whole as well. I think the key to that is transparency. The on-air personalities at WAY-FM are doing a great job of that.

8. Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?

Anyone who has continued to work in radio for over 10 years is a hero! But some specific people that have influenced me directly over the years are:

Darren Marlar – Teaching me the importance of and how to show prep, as well as creating imaging that stands out.

Brant Hansen – Being able to listen to him every day has challenged me spiritually just as much as it has professionally. There is nothing like the mix of silly and spiritual that he brings every day.

Rob Wagman – Working with Rob over the last year has been great. Continually challenging me to think things through and come at ideas from different perspectives.


One thought on “Interview Paul Van Sickle 12-9-16

  • I heard a spot from your Ministry of the Month while I was driving, so I couldn’t write down their contact info.
    They were talking about helping people with new ideas for evangelism get started, or something like that.
    Can you help me contact them, please?


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