Feature InterviewInterviews

Matt Pelishek Interview 3-26-18

Matt Pelishek
Program Director

Career Capsule: My media career began in 1997 with a TV show on community television out of the basement of the Bismarck library.  That lasted about 20 minutes (of a 30 minute show) and the guy in charge told us not to come back.  I first signed on in radio as a weekend host on KNDR in Mandan, North Dakota in 2001 where I did some truly mediocre radio (at best).  I later interned at KTIS and ran promotions at the student station WVOE.  In 2007 I took a full time job here in Bakersfield California where I went from afternoon host, to production director, to program director, to now all of the above.  I also currently track mornings for Project 88.7 in Boise.  Today I’m still trying to figure this radio thing out.


Matt, tell us what’s new at KAXL… news, changes, & with YOU… etc?

As a station we’ve really been looking into what we can do to go deeper into our market.  Not just be at all the concerts, but really be face to face with our community, serving and giving alongside our listeners.  A part of our strategy in going deeper is to be a unifying force for the city, bring people together to find common purpose and be the driving force behind it.  One of my favorite moments of this last year was reaching out to all the radio stations in our market to come together for an event that raised money for local victims of the Vegas shooting.  We had DJs from our station, country, rock, talk, AM, and FM all together on on-air promos, and on stage to invite our listeners to give.


Christian Radio has become very competitive… what do you do to stand out from the crowd?

Just like as people we all have distinct personalities, our stations should too.  In the end, Christian radio is basically all offering the same songs, so what you do between them is what sets you apart.


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

The best: Anything Mike Couchman tells me.  The worst: Listen to (fill in successful, big market Christian station here) and find out how you can be more like that.


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

Not sure I can answer this any better than others who already have.  I think it is fine as long as you maintain your unique personality of the station that lets you reach a group that others may not be.


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

MUST have?  I suppose a microphone.


Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?

Anywhere.  Story tellers come from lots of places, and if anything we need to be open to bringing in people from outside the radio world with new and fresh perspectives to keep from getting stagnant.


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

Becoming creatures of habit.  “This has always worked before”.


Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?

Brant Hansen is the first person who began responding to me years ago when I started really learning radio.  He was willing from day one to answer my questions and guide some of my decisions and become a mentor.  I may have given up on radio if not for the feedback he gave.  Also, my secret society of radio people, the SSC of RA.  I’m not allowed to talk about them though.  (cue X-Files music).