Career Capsule: I spent my childhood as a missionary kid in Antigua, West Indies where my parents ran a local Christian radio station. I moved back to America for my senior year of high school and college and shortly after that was married and started a career with Circuit City (RIP) in retail sales and management. After 10 years, I took a job as the Market Manager for AMF Bowling in Central Florida. I worked briefly for Circle K Corporate before coming to The JOY FM in 2015 as the Florida Producer for The Jayar Show. Soon after, I became the Brand and Marketing Manager until March of this year; I was promoted to Director of Operations, The JOY FM Florida.
Steve, tell us what’s new at The JOY FM… news, changes, & with YOU… etc?
So far, 2019 has been a year of change and transition at The JOY FM. We call it “pruning” in anticipation of fresh, new things to come. During this time we had a change in leadership at which point, I moved into the new role as Director of Operations (Florida). We’ve been in a season of growth over the last 2 years. With that growth we’ve seen numerous new The JOY FM signals across Florida, Georgia and Alabama. The rebrand of LF Radio and the additionof both terrestrial and HD channels have given us a new outlet to reach the younger generation.
New seasons are here and it’s a very exciting time at The JOY FM!
Christian Radio has become very competitive… what do you do to stand out from the crowd?
The radio landscape is changing as a whole. We know that we have to adapt to the new media and new technology to stay competitive. We have 3 areas that we focus on:on-air, online and on site.
As we grow our terrestrial territory, our goal is to still keep the local radio station feel. To accomplish this, we have created a JOY crew to be our hands and feet in the local markets. Our JOY.crew Director does an amazing job overseeing the team of over 100 that make this happen. We send our crews out to festivals, events, parades, etc all over our listening area to meet our people where they are already spending their time.
What is the best programming advice you’ve been given? The worst?
“If you are looking to be better, look outside of your current industry to see what other successful brands are doing” We have to get outside our industry and see what culture is doing and how we can adapt and stay relevant.
The worst thing I’ve heard is the statement, “Well this is how we usually _____.”
Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?
I think it’s great to have options for the listeners, but I think that fewer, high quality stations are better for the industry overall. To have stations just to have stations might not be the best use of everyone’s resources.
We know we don’talways get it right but“ ‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take’-Wayne Gretzky”-Michael Scott.
We strive to be excellent in all that we do and that’s what our hope is for the future of Christian radio as a community.
What is the ONE thing you must have everyday to do your show/job?
Coffee, Lots of it! We have 9 coffee machines just in our Florida building. Coffee is a way of life around here and we can get kind of snobby about it. J
In what area do you believe Christian Radio needs to improve most?
We need to be constantly looking toward the future and seeing where culture is going. We need to get outside the “radio bubble” and bring in talent (on-air and off) who has a new and fresh perspective. I’m thankful my leadership did that with me! We can’t keep settling for what has always been and have have to challenge ourselves to keep growing and changing daily.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
New media options, streaming and the rise of time-shifted audio are our biggest threats at the moment. We have to adapt to what the consumer wants and realize traditional radio is not the major model anymore.Everything that is happening on air needs to be found on other platforms for the listener to consume on their schedule. Our focus has always been on the relationship we have with our listening family and we will continue to pursue that as we step into the changing landscape
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
One of my heroes is our owner and President, Jim Campbell. Jim is a pioneer in this industry and I am grateful to him to be working here and for his vision for our company and for Christian radio. Another help of mine is our former GM, Jeff MacFarlane, for sharing knowledge of the industry with me. Even when I thought my many questionssounded dumb, he assured me there was never a dumb question when you’re trying to learn. Carmen Brown and Jayar are both influences of mine too. They are two of the most creative people in our format and it’s an honor to watch them work.