Scott Valentine Interview 9-18-17
Career Capsule: I started programming at my High School radio station, KLHS-FM, in Lewiston, ID. Then stints in CHR, Rock, Country, Oldies, and AC in Idaho and Washington State, and finally my CCM experience started in Seattle at Spirit 1053! When Sam and I arrived in Seattle in 2000, KCMS was ranked #23, 12+. Inside of a year as PD, KCMS, in “the Least Christian City in the U.S.” was Top 3, 25-54 Women, and stayed in that position for more than a decade (in Diary & PPM). Now I’m the PD & doing mornings with “Scott & Sam” on the Fish LA with Salem Communications, working under Operations Manager, Chuck Tyler.
Scott… Tell us what’s new with KFSH… news, changes, & with YOU… etc?
The biggest changes I’m making are to dial in the music and apply some research and change the imaging as well as manage the line-up. Give the listener’s a great balance of music and talent! How much time it takes is always a challenge. There’s not much that starting a little earlier and working a little later can’t make better. Haha, Right now I’m burning the candle at both ends with a blow-torch to the middle!
Los Angeles is a very competitive Christian Radio market, how does that affect your approach to your morning show?
Being in LA is frankly intimidating; LA has people who win Oscars! This is the performance capital of the world with so many legendary people, including from radio. Jeepers, Charlie Tuna, Robert W. Morgan, Rick Dees and Ryan Seacrest. The main pressure is the pressure I’ve put on myself. It’s a super-sized PPM environment with a boutique CCM formatted station. The potential is almost beyond reasoning and every break is an opportunity to make a new positive impression. But if you focus too much on that, at least for me, it can throw your game. I guess more off-air dialogue with Sam and discussions about John Frosts thoughts are always filtering through our mind. As well as having every song and imaging element on the dance floor to be it’s best. And always hitting the break on time. We’ll see.
What is the best programming advice you’ve been given? The worst?
Some of the best programming advice I’ve ever received about:
Music … “our job is to play their favorite song more often.” ~Alan Mason
Imaging … “Find out the good stuff people are saying and put that on the air!” ~Terry Patrick
Programming … “Error to the middle of your format.” ~Terry Patrick
On-air … Don’t be the Sun, Reflect the Moon ~Frost
The worst? I don’t know about that one because if the tool doesn’t work I’ve thrown it away.
Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?
I’m always scanning the hallways to find talent … evaluating how are they behind the mic or producing a promo? What kind of stories do they tell in the break room or in social media? Are they engaging? Do people seek them out to be around them? Do they have an ability to learn or are they limited to projecting one thing? Maybe your next talent is a local YouTuber?
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest challenges facing Christian radio?
One day I imagine Elon Musk may have radio sampling robots where a voice is sampled, and viola, everyone can sound like Donna Cruz, Pastor Steve Brown, or John Frost! But really, if Tesla’s and similar cars, drive to and from work for you … then maybe you’ll watch the news on the drive? Videos? Get work done? Listen to radio? Now that’s an interesting question. So while we can, we need to be indispensable in the community. The biggest obstacle facing us is probably lack of imagination in how we do things. If someone just believes they “do radio,” then there’s probably not much of a future for them.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
My radio hero’s are so many it’s hard to name them all! Some of the most notable people I’ve gotten to grow under include Bill Moyes, Terry Patrick, E. Alvin Davis, Alan Mason, David Harmes, Keith Hill, Chuck Finney, Meg Guysinger, Randy Davison and of course, John Frost is remarkable in about every way; could be my favorite! Some of the on-air heros, not counting Larry Lujack & Bob Rivers, are Dean O’Neil, Lisa Williams, Brant Hanson, Bryan & Brandi, Melissa Montana and my very favorite, Sam from Scott & Sam!