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Tim McDermott Interview 4-10-17

Tim McDermott

Career Capsule: 36 years in broadcasting – including the last 26 at KSBJ in Houston. Originally from the Philly area and have worked at radio stations in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Texas.  Serve on the NRB Board and I was the crazy guy who helped start CMB.  I started and still host our Sunday morning praise and worship show and I have traveled around the world helping mentor other stations. 

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

A couple of big new things –

  • NGEN radio is on the air and ratings are beyond expectations.  I really believe this is the next big format and we have the team in place to make this happen. Between KSBJ and NGEN we are reaching just under one million people every week.
  • Last September we started a President’s Council – kind of a who’s who in Houston to keep us in tune with our City’s needs. As a direct result we learned there are more orphans in Houston than churches. So we have assembled an impressive team of representatives who work in this area with the goal of finding homes for 6,000 orphans. This could be amazing and impact the future of our city. 

My role has changed at the station to more fundraising with major donors and more interaction with Houston’s influencers.  I love getting out meeting with people. 

Personally, our oldest daughter and her husband just moved from Houston to North Carolina. Unfortunately, they took our grandkids with them!  It’s hard to be sad when you see God’s hand on their lives and I realize I did the same thing to my parents – leaving Philly for Oklahoma!

What is the one thing you credit your long run at KSBJ to?

Changing my style of leadership.  

When I first became GM we had a staff of 11 – now we have over 100. With that growth I had to change from being involved in everything to finding great leaders to trust them to do the work. If you want to grow – you have to change.  You have to learn to set parameters for your leaders and let them do their job. 

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

Best:  “Never eat lunch at your desk.”  I brown bag it at least once a week and eat lunch with our team.  It’s a great way to connect. 

Worst: From one of my board members years ago “I think you should look into building a camp.”  Hmm – talk about mission drift! 

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

We have a lot of Christian stations in our market – from country to gospel to talk to CCM to hip hop and pop. The more we can serve the better. We have seen with NGEN there was a need no one was meeting. As long as our hearts as leaders are focused on the mission and what God has called us to do – we will be okay. 

What is the ONE thing you must have everyday to do your job?

My wife Trudy read this question and she said I should say “banana” because I have to eat one every morning before I go to work. 

The one thing I really need from God is wisdom. I ask for it regularly. 

Where will future Christian radio air talent (programming/on air) come from?

I think there will always be great communicators.  We just need to look for new arenas to find them in – bloggers, You Tube sensations, etc. 

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

Funding – especially for non-comms – is becoming more of a challenge. We need to attract new donors – especially in light of methods we used to use that don’t work with millennials.  I hope the new FCC 1% revenue rule goes through. 

I am still a believer that great content is a key to our long term survival.  Great production. Great promotions. Great air personalities with prepared purposeful audience targeted creative breaks. 

And then there is that self-driving car technology coming down the road.  Since so much of radio listening is in the car we have to be prepared for that.  

Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?

I first got bitten by the radio bug when I was 12.  Mr. Gary Spohn was my junior high radio teacher in Royersford, PA. He taught me radio basics as I broadcast over the school PA during study hall doing a one man show as “TM in the PM.” He took us on tours to radio stations in Philly and let us meet the local DJs. I knew this is what I wanted to do. And to this day – when tours come by KSBJ – I love to take time to meet them – hoping there might be a future broadcaster who was just like me. 

One thought on “Tim McDermott Interview 4-10-17

  • Nice getting to know you better Jim! I’m remember WIBG getting into my home town near Binghamton, NY back in the late 50’s and early 60’s. Yours is a fascinating trip from “TM in the PM” to now. God is good! Glad the tomb is empty!


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