Mike Schlote Interview 4-29-19
Owner of VoiceHangar
Co-Founder of ClassicChristian247.com
Operations Manager of GraceNetRadio.com
Host of “Mike at the Mic”
Career Capsule: It is amazing to me just how wonderful the Lord is for letting me be in this career for all these years. What started off in 1993 as a rookie’s first radio gig doing weekend overnights at a jazz station in Iowa (KCCK) has led to opportunities to serve alongside other broadcasters in Rockford (WQFL/WGSL), Miami (WMCU), Des Moines (KZZQ/KPUL) and Ft. Lauderdale (WAFG).
During this time, I started my own company called VoiceHangar (2007), co-founded ClassicChristian247.com (2010) with my veteran broadcast engineer friend, Doug White, and even opened my heart up for God to remove me from this industry altogether. Yet, here we are today.
Mike, tell us what’s new… news, changes, & with YOU… etc?
Man, oh man, so many changes in the last few years. What I thought was going to be a fairly uncomplicated series of events over the course of my career has turned into incredible moments of head-first collisions with reality. The reality being that I have never really been the provider for my family. God has and always will be the true source of provision.
The journey that led me out of WQFL back in 2003 has now brought us to the Ozarks. We didn’t move here for any reason other than a strong sense that God was leading us to this area. One example (of many) is that within 24 hours of putting a ‘For Sale’ sign in the front yard of our house, we received a full-price offer. My wife had prayed that God would ‘wow’ us because our weakened hearts longed for confirmation that 1.) we could still hear His silent voice…and 2.) that He hadn’t forgotten about us. Without realizing it at the time, the first word out of her mouth when we received the offer was…”wow.” Still makes my eyes leak thinking about it.
While living here since 2013, God has brought Godly young men into the lives of our three oldest daughters. Two are now married and have been blessed with babies. We are now grandparents. (For the record, I am still in my 40s at the time of this writing.) Hard to believe that it is my turn for that role. Seems like MY umbilical cord fell off not that long ago. Our third daughter is about to get married. Our fourth child and only son has been schooling at home since we moved here and will graduate this summer. Our youngest daughter is also schooling at home and is a wonderful helper for all of my house projects.
Christian Radio has become very competitive… what do you do to stand out from the crowd?
I have always viewed my ‘competition’ within a radio market to be more between Christian radio and secular, than Christian versus Christian. I do not want to finish this race to hear God ask me why I was trying to ‘beat’ His servants at another station. That isn’t my heart, nor will it ever be.
With that said, because there are so many music styles and ways to format a station, we must find the niche within Christian radio that serves a particular segment better than any other station. This shouldn’t be about winning listeners over from another local Christian station, but rather meeting an unmet need in the market with broadcast excellence. Well-defined content, consistency of that content and connection to listeners are the keys. Excellent broadcasters executing the clear mission of the station for the purpose of bringing God glory is an absolute.
For example, I currently host two shows called “Mike at the Mic.” One of them airs on ClassicChristian247.com and the other on a station in Princeton, IL (WUNT: “88-3 The Roadmap” simulcasted on WLWW in Cornersville, TN). What helps CC247 stand out from the others is that we play the music/artists that paved the way for what is played today. Our programming is intended to draw people back to when God used the classics the first time in their lives.
WUNT stands out in that it doesn’t just target ‘Becky’, but also her brother and uncle. The notion that all programming must target the family’s purchasing agent is not something we believe. Of course we reach out to women, but we reach out to men as well. In fact, after listening for only an hour, the owner of WLWW in TN asked if they could simulcast WUNT’s programming.
“Mike at the Mic” stands out from the other shows in the market (or online) because of a willingness to communicate my passion for Truth and to challenge listeners to know what they believe and why. I desperately want people to check for any poison inside the “kool-aid” they might be drinking. I deal with serious real life concerns on the air…all while not diverting from the overall format of the station. It can be done…by using age-old tactics of compelling thoughts, humor, genuineness and respectful delivery. I fear that too many stations have stayed away from hard topics out of fear of offending or alienating a certain group. For the record, I don’t ONLY talk about serious issues. I still love to talk about the artists, my family, aviation, sports, whatever. The point is…I am intentional in my effort to eradicate unchecked opinion and I choose to inject Truth where others remain silent.
GraceNetRadio.com steps out from the rest in that we air talk programming with a high percentage of content exclusive to GNR…including Vocal Point hosted by Dr. Jerry Newcombe and Hot Topics hosted by Andrew Vuksic from Croatia. GraceNetRadio is what became of the former WAFG founded by Dr. D. James Kennedy.
What is the best programming/show advice you’ve been given? The worst?
Best: “First in, last out” is a phrase that has stuck with me for a long, long time. If you want people to remember your brand, it helps to sandwich the content with your identity.
Worst: Thankfully, I’ve never been told to fit a mold that isn’t how God made me or how I sound. But, there can’t be much worse advice given than to tell someone to do a style of radio they have ZERO ability or personality to pull off.
Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?
If they are all the same format, absolutely not…unless the existing station in that format is completely ineffective at what they do.
If the purpose of each Christian station is to meet the needs unmet by the other stations in that market, then praise God for the purity of heart and the desire to meet them.
What is the ONE thing you must have everyday to do your job/show?
An internet connection.
Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?
Boy, the way technology is headed, it will probably be artificial intelligence! Soon you’ll be able to say, “Hey Mike at the Mic…” and some really well-built robot with a chiseled jaw line and incredible voice will play whatever you want. Haha.
What I HOPE will happen is that God will continue to draw young people to Himself and give them the ability to communicate effectively in a way that brings Him glory and serves His purposes. I hope some teenager still has that sparkle in his eye when he thinks about sitting behind a microphone. I hope a programmer will give that young person a chance to ride the waves of his new passion and then coach him with tenderness and the expectation of excellence.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
We are clearly fighting an invisible battle against forces that hate the One true God. These forces are influencing flesh and blood in this world as evidenced by a desire for nothing less than the total elimination of Biblical Truth and values.
Alternate media delivery platforms that indicate a departure from traditional, terrestrial radio listening.
Blurry mission statement.
If our platform isn’t just radio, but CHRISTIAN radio, then our mission matters more than others and it must be clearly defined. Our calling is greater than doing good radio. It is to do great radio for His purpose and glory.
No war can be won without clarity of mission. Nor is it right to send people to battle without the knowledge of the mission, the clear plan to accomplish it and the tools to get it done.
Blurry view of our opportunity and obligation.
This one may not sit well with a lot of people. I get that. However, it has always saddened me to think that while the world takes ferocious bites at decency, morality and truth, we have often thought it best to stay quiet in an effort to keep our boats from rocking. The world is not ashamed of its beliefs or its declaration thereof, yet oftentimes it seems that our opportunity to inject Truth into these life-sucking lies is filled with avoidance or fluffy yuck-yuck.
Fluffy yuck-yuck is good filler. It is not, however, good PRODUCT.
Spiritual depth and maturity.
In many ways, this needs to be at the top of my list. Over the years, we have all witnessed a shallowing of spiritual depth and understanding of Scripture. We may not even know that we are witnessing it, which I will argue is a sign of the very problem.
Studies have been published that reveal an alarming trend to depart from the authority of Scripture. A departure in this area leads to the departure from core doctrines and Truths found in the Word of God…which leads to ‘Christian’ radio by name only.
It requires spiritual maturity to effectively do Christian radio. The Spirit of God will provide wisdom to identify lyrics that are Biblically weak at best and heresy at worst. He provides discernment in all areas necessary to accomplish the task He has set before us. That discernment comes through an understanding of His Word and a faithful (and increasingly mature) walk with our Savior. It helps us do excellent radio for HIS glory, not ours.
We are living in a day of increased lawlessness. Christian radio must be equipped and ready to stand firm as the fierce winds blow.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
I apologize to everyone who might be looking for their own name in this answer (to my shame, I’ve done that before…haha), but I would love to take this opportunity to talk about a radio giant in my life. This man’s voice not only entertained my mind, but moved my heart. He knew how to take the gift he was given and let God reach into the lives of those in his listening family. He knew his calling, his gifting and his purpose. From where I stand, his shoes will never be filled.
To this day, when I hear the resonating pipes of Mike Kellogg, I am drawn to radio all over again. Although he has since retired from broadcasting, it is quite possible that God used him more than anybody else in my life to fill my veins with radio waves. He is a true radio tower to me.
4 thoughts on “Mike Schlote Interview 4-29-19”
Good interview, Mike behind the mic! I greatly appreciate your prospective about the competition. As Christians Christ calls us to be united for one purpose and one calling! Keep up the good work as God sees your heart!
Thank you for the feedback, Bill! I appreciate you taking the time to read the interview.
May God empower all of us within the body of Christ to ‘maintain the unity’ that the Spirit of God has established (Ephesians 4). Through this ONE body of Christ, let us pursue together the glory of the ONE true God through the various gifts He has given.
It is an honor to serve Jesus with others who bear His name!
Congratulations on being a grandparent!
I’ve heard Mike Kellogg before…on Moody as I recall.
Thanks for Mike for his professional help at GraceNetRadio. He is invaluable! And his help on my website is incredible!
Thank you, Jerry!
Yes, Mike Kellogg hosted Music Through The Night on Moody. I had the privilege of taking a class of his while I was a student at Moody in the late 80’s. I was always in awe as he spoke.
What an honor to have crossed paths with you back in 2010…and thankful for the continued partnership in service to Christ!