Feature InterviewInterviews

Josh Evans Interview 7-8-16

interview-josh-evans2016Josh Evans
Morning Host
Oklahoma City
Career Capsule: Radio hooked me as a freshman college student at Cedarville University, where I joined Resound Radio as part of their weekend talent (2011-2014). After working the shift for three years, I went live with the afternoon show in what was a really great training ground for my current morning show (2014). Post-college, I took my talents to South Florida, serving as Community Impact Director with WAY-FM South Florida (WAYF/ West Palm Beach), which was a nice combination of promotions, production, ministry and social media (2014-2015). This past December, I was offered the opportunity to drive the morning show at The House FM, serving Oklahoma and southern Kansas, including a presence in both Oklahoma City metro and Wichita (2015-present).

  1. Josh, Tell us what’s new at the House FM… changes etc, & with YOU?

We’ve recently added GM Don Burns (formerly WPER/Fredericksburg) to our team and have loved having him return to The House after spending time out in Virginia. He enjoys popping into the studio and razzing the morning show before returning to his office. He’s splendid. He also told me I was fired if I didn’t say that. 

Big changes for me as I move to “The South” – I’ve been told that gets capitalized for some reason – and learn about things like grits, armadillos, and tornadoes. I’ve come to realize that I dislike all those things (not in that order). Did see my first tumbleweed the other day, and somehow that felt rather validating.

2. What is your typical day like regarding getting ready to go on the air, lots of prep or seat of your pants?

It’s typically quite a load of prep the day before. We know what the structure of the show is going to look like, how we’re going to “open the funnel” for listener engagement, etc. The sweet thing about great planning is that it allows you for “strategic improv” that sounds conversational and unplanned, while actually being very much prepared. 

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

Developing and digging into my “brand diamond” has produced some of the strongest breaks from the morning show. That’s been ingrained into my radio brain, much in thanks to Todd Stach (WCVO/Columbus) and has revolutionized the way I show prep and the angles with which I approach content. Zeroing in and honing those four personality traits – “your 20%” of your entire personality – has really helped focus the show from being scattered and made it coherent and engaging.

Worst advice? Recently, House FM programming director Tony Weir once suggested that every single morning I insert a 30-minute Gaither Vocal Band segment in the middle of my show. We prayed about that and felt God moving a different direction. 

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

It can be really, really good to have multiple faith-based stations together. I think for the consumer, certainly, it gives them a variety of options to find what style of music and programming best fits them. For those of us in the industry, it’s always a balance of camaraderie/common ground and competition. But really, what does competition do except make you better? Personally, I love that (just between Oklahoma City and Wichita) I’m up against KLOVE, WAY-FM, RadioU, etc. on the morning show. That keeps me from slacking and hopefully sharpens all of us into doing excellent radio. I’m a fan! 

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

We’re not going to get anywhere if I don’t have coffee in the morning.

Seriously though (even though I AM serious about the coffee), I have to have my assortment of random hotkeys and SFX. Just in the past couple weeks, I’ve implemented everything from an elephant trumpet to a calming pan flute to ocean ambience to an ancient Israeli shofar. This show thrives on absurdity.

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

That’s a tough question because I think it has a variety of correct answers. Christian colleges have proven to be a great breeding ground for radio talent (shoutout to Cedarville University), and I expect that to continue. But, more than anything, we have to keep our eyes open for talent. There are a good number of talented up-and-coming stars not in on-air positions right now – once we notice a spark, we’ve got to be willing to fan that flame and provide with opportunities to show off their stuff. 

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

There’s a tall order ahead of us to be creative and compelling. We don’t have the advantage of household names when it comes to artists. We have a stigma to overcome about the quality of “Christian art” in general and Christian radio in particular. We need to continue holding a very high bar when it comes to on-air quality, push ourselves creatively, and strive to be simply “the best.” Listeners will be drawn to what’s entertaining and engaging, regardless of their religious affiliations (or not). It’s up to us to be those things.

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

While at college, I really became a fan of Brant Hansen. I paid special attention when he’d come on-air, curious what oddball thing he would say or what Truth he’d share in his own unique way. He’s unable to be replicated – it’s uniquely him. And that encouraged me to find what makes my show uniquely me – the elements of my personality that keep people engaged and coming back for more. We have distinct, yet similar senses of ridiculous humor, as well as a “bridge-building” desire to connect people to Jesus; it was (and still is!) encouraging to see that a show can have both!  

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