Mike Shelley Interview
New Life Radio
Career Capsule: I started in radio as a volunteer announcer with WAYJ-FM in Ft. Myers, FL in 1987. While I was at Toccoa Falls College studying broadcasting, I worked WRAF-FM on the weekends and developed a plan for a student station. After college, I spent a year at home (that is a whole other story) and worked for WINK-FM as a weekend and overnight announcer. While working on two graduate degrees from Regent University, I worked for CBN Radio, Standard News and the Christian Coalition. After graduating from Regent, my wife and I moved to Nashville, TN to work at Morning Star Radio Network. I’ve also worked with Dave Ramsey’s Lampo Group, ProAudio and ultimately moved back to Florida to manage WJYO-FM. After three years, we moved to Atlanta, GA to work with In Touch Ministries in the Media Services department. At the time I caught the teaching bug and started teaching at Toccoa Falls College, Truett-McConnell College and Georgia Perimeter College. In 2006, I returned to WRAF-FM and became Assistant Manager and was in the position for nearly 10 years. In February of 2016 I was hired as Executive Assistant to the President at NewLife Radio in south Atlanta. I’m now General Manager of NewLife Radio as of January of 2019.
Michael, tell us what’s new… news, changes, at New Life Radio & with YOU… etc?
NewLife Radio continues to ministry to the south Atlanta region with the life changing; heart warming message of Jesus Christ. We’ve been able to add to our staff this year which has been an answer to prayer. As of January, I was promoted to General Manager and moved closer to the station. It’s been over 17 years since I’ve had less than an hour and half commute. Now I can get to work in less than 4 songs!
Christian Radio has become very competitive… what do you do to stand out from the crowd?
Our biggest advantage is remaining very local! We try to cover has many events as possible keeping our brand in front of our current and future listeners.
What is the best manager advice you’ve been given? The worst?
The best advice I’ve been given has been to learn to be a better listener and to communicate clearly – Words Matter. The worst – Wow! I can’t think of any bad advice. I know I’ve been told (indirectly) that I wouldn’t achieve my goals – I think I’ve done OK.
Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?
I do and I don’t. I think if there are more stations done well that only pushes me to do well. But if there are stations that just duplicate and not serve the community they’re in, to have a signal in a particular area just to be there, that is little hard for me to understand.
What is the ONE thing you must have every day to do your job/show?
My wife’s prayer. That may sound cliché but in the last 18 years driving in Atlanta traffic and driving a long distance in the early hours, to have her prayers allows me to do what I do. That and coffee – LOT’S of coffee
Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?
That’s a great question and I think one that all of us are wrestling with. Twenty plus years ago we had colleges that focused on traditional media and air-shifts that we could plug young people into for training. Now, with everything being automated and colleges moving away from media we don’t have the farm teams like we used to. I think we need to be open to those who have a desire to reach into the hearts of our listeners and be open to train those who may have never thought of working on radio. This takes patience and a plan.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
I think the biggest obstacle right now is digital media. What do we do with podcasting, mobile technology, smart speakers, and music services? How do we work with programmers who use this technology to increase their audiences while at the same time take that audience away from our stations? There are many questions and few answers. The future is exciting but intimidating at the same time. It’s great time to be in radio!!
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
There have been so many in my life that have given me direction and counsel. To name just a few would be difficult. At each chapter of my life there has always been a person or group of people that were there right when I needed them the most. But there’s been a group that I’ve always turned to counsel. That group of men and women have become family to me.
4 thoughts on “Mike Shelley Interview”
No doubt about it… He had a call on him when he worked as Mr. Weekend and Fill and the first WAY-FM.. “Skipper T.”… (Somewhere in an Iowa Cornfield!)…
Thanks Skip!! You’ve always been a close friend and I’ve learned much from your counsel!
Nice interview, Mike. Great guy and love Jesus.