Tracy Figley Interview 7-9-18
Strong Tower Media
Career Capsule: In 1984 I graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting. I spent three and a half years in international Christian radio before taking a position in the spring of 1988 at the station I grew up listening to, WEEC in Springfield, Ohio.
In 1999, I was named General Manager of WEEC. In 2006, I began working closely with the staff and General Manager, Clair Miller at WFCJ. Near the end of 2007, the board of directors of WEEC and WFCJ merged to form Strong Tower Christian Media and I was named President. WFCJ’s Manager, Clair Miller retired from day to day operations in 2011 and passed the mantle of leadership to me. Since then, I have been overseeing operations of these two 50,000 watt Christian Radio Stations.
In 2014 we relocated both studios and offices to the Athletes In Action Campus in Xenia, microwaving our signals back to our towers in Springfield and Miamisburg.
Since 2012, I have been serving on the Board of Directors for Calvary Evangelistic Mission – The Rock Radio Network which operates three teaching stations in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Tracy, what’s new at Strong Tower Christian Media?
We are making a number of positive changes with the help of Chuck Finney of Finney Media and our interim PD Vance Dillard. We are building a great team of communicators and connectors to increase our audience and take our listeners deeper with Christ. Our newest staff member is CJ McKay who worked for a number of years at The Fish in Nashville. He has joined our team as the producer of the new Source Morning Show with Lisa Williams. I’m very excited about where the Lord is taking us in the near future. When I’m not thinking about the ministry, my wife Vicki and I are trying to figure out ways to see our adorable grandkids in Kansas CityJ
Christian Radio has become very competitive…what do you do to stand out from the crowd?
Here in the Dayton, Cincinnati, & Columbus, Ohio areas we are flooded with Christian radio options. You might say people that live here are spoiled with many choices. I believe that the key is to be local, compelling and excellent all at the same time. Local wins, only if it is important to your listeners and it makes a difference for your communities. I believe God has called us to help the body of Christ see where He is at work right here at home. We use our influence to do that through partnerships with local churches and other para-church ministries in our listening area.
What is the best programming advice you’ve been given? The worst?
The best programming advice would have to be to play more of what people know and love and less of what they don’t! The worst advice would be that local wins regardless of how it’s delivered!
Some say the more Christian Radio stations in the market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?
The advantage of multiple Christian radio stations in the same market is that it forces us to bring our “A” game with each element programmed and each time we open the mic. It also forces us to specialize and distinguish our station(s) instead of trying to be all things to all people. The down side is that having too many Christian stations in the market lowers listener loyalty. For listener supported stations, this can create a more difficult road to raising funds since there is a limit to stretching the post-tithe, evangelical dollar.
What is the one thing you must have every day to do your job?
Divine wisdom, as promised in James 1:5. I need to allow the Holy Spirit to direct me into those things that will benefit His kingdom the most.
Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?
If Christian colleges continue offering broadcasting degrees, that will be a viable source. We will also continue to search for people who are in the radio industry, but are looking for an opportunity to make more of a difference with their gifts.
Generally speaking to the industry, what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
I believe there will always be the speed of technology that we will have to keep pace with and new communication platforms we need to take our message to. But the greatest obstacle we face is learning how to build bridges that will take people in this post-Christian culture from where they are to where they need to be so they can embrace the life-changing message of the Gospel!
Who are your radio heroes and influences? And why?
Mel Johnson, aka Mr. Sharathon was my mentor in the early days of my radio career. He taught me about raising money on the air, teaching Biblical stewardship to the listener, and embracing change for the benefit of the ministry. In more recent days, my influencers are Chuck Finney and Vance Dillard. They are teaching me what it takes to get the listener’s attention which is the starting point to taking them deeper in their walk with the Lord.