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Scott Smith Interview

Scott Smith 
On Air Talent “Scott and Kelli Show”
Rocklin, CA


Career Capsule: I began my radio career at 15, my dad was a teacher and made me join a speech team in high school, so I would be a more well-rounded student, since all I wanted to do was play sports. Needless to say, I was less than happy about it, but I discovered I had a knack for it, started winning a bunch of trophies and that led to my first radio job at KKOJ AM in Jackson, MN. After moving to Rapid City, SD, I landed a job at the number one rated station in town, Top 40 Hit 100 FM (KGGG), where I worked for four years; after graduating high school, I landed my first full time on-air gig at the station.  After leaving radio for a few of years to pursue other ventures, start a family and a business; I got back into radio by volunteering at WAPN FM in Daytona Beach, FL, which eventually led to landing the morning show job at Z 88.3 FM in Orlando, FL, where I worked for 12 years before moving to K-LOVE and Air 1, where I have been for the past dozen years.


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

It’s hard to believe that I have been at K-LOVE for 12 years already, as the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun! The one thing that is a good marker is how old my kids are and how old everyone else’s kids are.  We have one that is a year away from 30, one that just graduated college and is getting married and one that just left home for the University of Nevada, Reno.  Which makes my wife, Missy, and I empty nesters now. 

As for work, Kelli Caldwell and I continue to host the “Scott and Kelli Show” from 8 AM – 1PM (PST) on K-LOVE.  It’s hard to believe, but we have been hosting the show together for 10 years now! We have a blast doing the show and feel so fortunate to be able to connect with K-LOVE listeners across the country.  We are constantly looking for new ways to connect with our listeners, so who knows what that may mean in the future.


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

We don’t walk into the studio thinking that we are competing with ‘other’ Christian radio stations. I think the more accurate reality is approaching what we do with the fact that competition is a lot more about competing with all the other things that demand our listeners attention; beyond other radio stations, there’s the smart phone, which puts social media, video, podcasting, music, and a world of other possibilities at a listener’s finger tips.  What we do must be something that cuts through the clutter and connects with listeners on a personal level; it can run a healthy range of emotions, but it must connect.


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

The best advice that I have gotten was to “think like a woman”, something that John Frost and Tommy Kramer drilled into me years ago. Their point was simply ‘get into the head of your core listener and begin to understand what ‘makes her tick’, in doing so, you’ll see your show take shape around her and not yourself.  When you make your show about ‘her’, you’ve done your job. 

The worst advice I have ever received, ‘be conservative’, I think one thing that can hurt us in this format is keeping the crusaders at bay. Granted we don’t like people calling up to yell at us or send us a nasty email, but there are very few things you shouldn’t talk about in our format, you just have to be sure to choose the right lens.


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

I do believe that having more Christian stations in the market is good, I think competition is healthy and pushes stations to be better and the winners in that scenario are the listeners. We have seen in several markets that having multiple Christian stations means Christian radio earns a larger share of the market, and ultimately that means more people are being reached with the Gospel.


What is the ONE thing you must have every day to do your job/show?

We underestimate the importance of time, I believe there is a temptation to just go in and wing it sometimes, simply relying on talent and experience as jocks to deliver a show.  However, there is no substitute for taking time to prep the right stories, and then look for unique angles that take your bit up a notch. We owe our listeners our best; and to deliver consistent, relevant and entertaining content it takes putting in some ‘time’.


Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?

That is a great question! That is one thing that has been on my heart for a very long time, and one that I believe we have to work diligently to improve upon immediately. Who better than us to develop the next generation of talent. I think each station needs to begin searching out, mentoring and developing young talent. We are all familiar with the principals of discipleship, and just as Paul worked to develop younger missionaries, like Timothy, we need to do the same.  In the process, I believe that we will grow and learn as well.


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

I think we certainly face some obstacles, but haven’t we always? The obstacles that we faced years ago, when I started in this format, are now some of our greatest strengths.  Since I am an optimist, I would like to think things like changes we have seen in the moral fiber of our country, a propensity toward entitlement and a shrinking roster of artists present opportunities for our format.  People who aren’t sure what or who to believe will begin their journey to discover truth, and in the process we’re here to point people to the truth.  People will grow weary of a self-centered society, and we will be here to point them to the one who gives people purpose.  The people who discover ‘the’ truth, who find God’s purpose for their lives will become the new voice of the format, offering a fresh lens to those who are still on the outside looking in.  I also believe that new technology isn’t a threat, but merely an opportunity to explore new ways to reach our listeners; we just have to willing to adapt!


Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?

My dad loved radio, growing up we’d listen to Steve Cannon on WCCO in Minneapolis, he did a ton of voices and made the radio come to life, as I listened, I dreamed of doing that one day! There was Paul Harvey, was anyone better at crafting a story?  Then there was Casey Kasem, when I was a kid, I would sit in my room with my boombox and pretend to be Casey counting down America’s Top 40.  As a teenager, I would play Powerline on the air with Brother John Rivers; and John’s warm voice and ability to share God’s love in a matter of a few seconds inspired me to one day do the same.  I had the privilege of working with John at K-LOVE for a few years, but sadly, I don’t think I ever got the chance to tell him that he was one of my heroes. John, Thank You!  I would also like to thank every person who had the vision to bring this format to life, and to thank those who made the sacrifices it has taken to keep each and every station on the air, knowing that God was able to use the “right song, at the right time” to change someone’s life.

One thought on “Scott Smith Interview

  • Skip, I try and catch you every day. Enjoyed this interview and really enjoyed the bit about getting your name wrong. It’s so good to laugh! Love you both!


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