Feature InterviewInterviews

Tom Sullivan Interview 7/29/16

interview-tom-sullivan2016Tom Sullivan
Station Manager
Southwest Florida

Career Capsule: 2000-2002 – 2 years as part-time Production Assistant & On-Air Host plus 1 year as Afternoon Drive Host WGCF Positive Hits Radio – Paducah 2002-2003 – 1 year as Station Manager & Afternoon Drive Host WGCF Positive Hits Radio – Paducah, KY 2007-2010 – 3 years as General Manager & Afternoon Drive Host KCFN American Family Radio – Wichita, KS  2012-2013 – almost 2 years as General Manager KTLF Light Praise Radio – Colorado Springs, CO 2014-2016 – 2½ years as Station Manager WAYJ Southwest Florida’s WAY-FM – Fort Myers, FL

  1. Tom, Tell us what’s new at WAY-FM/Ft Myers, changes, expansion, with you… etc?

WAY NEW – Our online station featuring the best in new Christian music

POWER FM – Our online station featuring the best in Christian rock

2. What is the best programming advice you’ve been given? The worst?

Best – You’ll never be hurt by the mediocre song you don’t play.

Worst – We don’t need research.
3. What are some of the biggest challenges you face on a day to day basis?

Getting out of the office to spend time with donors and getting out into the community in general.

4. What is the ONE thing you must have every day to do your job?

Spiritual answer: prayer.

Earthbound answer: my phone.

True answer: COFFEE…no really…coffee!!!

5. Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?

I don’t think it’s so much a matter of where we’ll find future Christian radio air talent, i.e. particular schools or career tracts. I believe it’s more a matter of finding the right kind of people – those who are fun, engaging, relevant and genuine…and can effectively communicate information, build rapport and tell stories in that short span of 60-120 seconds at a time.

6. What is your typical day like?

One of the many things I love about this job is that every day is different. My work varies in cycles or clusters, typically concentrated around concert management, fundraising efforts, ministry initiatives and operational projects. I’m making a more serious effort these days at praying for our listeners and donors…and our WAY-FM team members for that matter. One thing that remains the same almost every day is that our staff always eats lunch together. That has helped create some outstanding camaraderie, not to mention lots of great discussions…and lots of laughs for sure!

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

Since music is available everywhere online with very little advertising, I think the biggest obstacle facing Christian radio (and honestly, all radio) is producing air talent who are (like I said before) fun, engaging, relevant and genuine. I’m talking about when the listener doesn’t want to miss anything the host says. There are honestly times I’d rather hear the imaging voice from our local classic rock station than hear the jocks on other stations. I know I’m bias and all…but I really look forward to the next thing our air talent on WAY-FM is going to say. And in Christian radio, a world in which most stations have incredibly similar playlists and skillful imaging, I think it’s the hosts that will keep listeners coming back.

8. Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?

This might sound corny…but Casey Kasem. In the early 80’s, I listened to his weekly countdown show faithfully. I truly loved how he told stories and always seemed excited to introduce a song on his countdown, even though he had intro’d or outtro’d the same song for several weeks prior. He just always sounded like he was having fun. No matter what specific task I’m doing, or what topic I was discussing on the air, I’ve always enjoyed my work in radio. I don’t think I could make a career out of anything I didn’t truly enjoy. I admire John Tesh as well. His show sounds so much like he and I could be having a conversation. He’s always enthusiastic about his subject matter and he’s very easy to listen to. In addition to being a great communicator, it really sounds like he’s having fun…and that is a quality that draws me in right away.

2 thoughts on “Tom Sullivan Interview 7/29/16

  • You are indeed a man on the move! Congratulations, Tom, for being this week’s top radio guy! God bless you, Theresa and the family!

  • Congratulations Tom for being recognized in your industry! Keep up the good work. I know Way-FM is proud to have you!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *