Jan Markowitz Interview
Career Capsule: Inducted into the “Broadcasters Hall of Fame 2014” · Received Award from “Focus On The Family” for Marriage Promotion & “Radio Station of the Year” at 2014 Dove Awards · *Program/Music Director, Afternoon Drive Host, at WNPQ the Light 95.9FM (USA) · *Former Morning show and Host of “God at Work” Show at Moody Radio Cleveland (USA) · *Former Morning Show Host and Host of Conversations with Jan Markowitz at Salem Broadcasting (USA)
Jan, tell us what’s new at WNPQ … news, changes, & with YOU… etc?
WNPQ has been under new ownership since former owner Mr. Natoli had passed away. His niece, Natalie Lupi has taken over the reigns to continue his legacy with the Tuscarawas Broadcasting Company. As far as what is new with me, besides my position at WNPQ, I was asked to be a prayer partner for two radio stations with “Pause for Prayer.” I record my devotion and add a prayer at the end. These are prayers that all can relate to and pray along with. I am part of the Moody Radio Cleveland “Pause for Prayer team” and I have my own “Pause for Prayer” segment on Christian Life Radio. A large Internet Christian Radio Station.
How has your job changed during the pandemic?
We are a commercial station so the virus has caused less advertising than usual. We therefore are not as busy as far as production goes. We of course are taking safety measures recommended by our Govt. Wearing masks, keeping our distance, and sanitizing everything daily. I think all advertising radio stations have been struggling due to the covid virus as are many other businesses. We are carrying some football sports on our station to make up for it. The good news is, things are starting to pick up with advertising as we head into the Fall season.
What is the best programming/show advice you’ve been given? The worst?
The best advice as far as my show, was to always smile when I spoke. I was told the smile would come across on the air. I had many listeners tell me they could hear me smiling. I was also taught to be real. The listener can relate to us more when we are real and will feel like they know you. I have so many people I never met in person speak of me and call me their friend. Be truthful and caring.
In programming, get the very best teaching Pastors. Ones that will resonate with your audience and those who people trust to teach the true Gospel. Being an advertising station, we have to be careful what type of commercials we permit to be on our station. That can limit us as far as advertising goes. Play only the best in Contemporary Christian Music. The top 50 hits. (although, I am partial to wanting to play the oldies as well) Have something productive and helpful that your audience wants and needs to hear.
I can’t say I was ever given bad advice. Wisdom can be found in listening to others. You do not have to always agree, but it is good to listen and learn from them.
Some say the more Christian stations in a market the “better”…. What’s your opinion?
I disagree, unless you have one that plays Southern Gospel and one that plays Contemporary Christian Music. That way you have the different styles of music for each audience that prefers one over the other. But, as an advertising station, it makes it difficult because one of our very important selling tools is that we have a very loyal audience. I think having too many stations for a person to choose from, can take away from that.
What’s your opinion on podcasts… is it necessary to have one, are they a threat to radio… etc?
I was talking with, Rick McConnell, our imaging talent and consulting adviser about that and agree that the longer- term impact of podcasts on radio is still up in the air. Not sure how it will impact radio. BUT it proves something I have said for a LONG time: People want to listen to CONTENT. Consultants have been saying for a long time: “don’t talk. Just play the music.” I have always disagreed with this and still do. People are NOT turning off the radio to listen to podcasts of MUSIC. They are listening to podcasts for INFORMATION and INSTRUCTION. I think the lesson for announcers: Don’t just get on the air to be funny and have fun. Have something productive and helpful that your audience wants and needs to hear. Be practical. Be relevant. This is the main lesson of podcasts.
. Is it necessary to have one? For the most part, unless you have something REALLY new and relevant, it will not justify the extra time. The vast majority of podcasts have only a handful of listeners. If you want to turn your morning show into a podcast, it can’t hurt. But I would not put any EXTRA time into creating a podcast.
Where will new up and coming air talent for Christian Radio come from?
Just needs more effort: Hire local talent AND give them some live shows to cut their teeth on. DON’T let untrained talent do voice tracking. They need to cut their teeth on LIVE radio for quite a while before they can voice track and do it well.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian air talent?
Not having enough time to prep. AND not having enough input from pros and consultants.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
I would say, the late, Bob Divine. He was with WCRF, Moody Radio in Cleveland, Ohio until he retired. He was such a gifted orator and very creative with his show. He was warm & friendly, encouraging, and was always teaching us something new every day. You felt like he was a friend and you wanted him for a friend. He was truthful and put a lot of preparation into his show. Bob was the same off the air as he was on the air. He was loved by so many.