What led you to a career in the radio industry?
I remember the day I was riding with my mom in the car during High School. We were listening to 84 WHAS in Louisville and the news anchor came on. After she finished her report I mimicked her, “News on the Hour and half hour, bulletins at once, I’m Ted Gocke, News Radio 80-WHAS!” My mom looked at me and said, “That’s what you should do when you graduate! You should go into radio.” Of course she then reminded me of my 1stgrade report card where my teacher said under the conduct section “Ted talks to much!”
I was called into full-time ministry when I was 17 years old and served as a youth pastor for 24 years. While in college at the University of Louisville I was super involved in the Baptist Student Union (now BCM), and one Friday attended the weekly free lunch (I was a college student after-all), the guest speaker was Tony Tabor the program director of the local Christian radio station WXLN and WFIA. After the luncheon I asked Tony how I could get a start in radio. He told me to get him a resume and a demo tape and send it his way. I went down to the college radio station in the student center, recorded a one hour show and sent it to him. A few months later he called and offered me the position of “The All-Nighter.” I served in that position for about 5 years. That’s where it all started. I’ve been with J103 part time and full time (mostly full time) now for over 24 years. I can’t believe they’ve allowed me to stick around.
What advice would you give people new to the business?
When starting off in Christian radio remember what God has called you to. It’s not to be a personality or someone to look up to. We are called to do what we do to represent God and serve our listeners. Our listeners don’t need a “celebrity” they need someone who can relate to them, to encourage them, to pray with them. Anyone that has a fairly good voice can be a radio personality……but it takes a special someone to be their friend. I had to learn the hard way. I was an Ego-Monster at one point and have to constantly monitor myself to make sure I am allowing God to be seen and heard through me. (I love the new Casting Crowns/Matthew West song-I’m just a Nobody, trying to tell everybody about somebody who saved my soul.”
Give a shoutout to someone who is making a difference in radio and what are they doing to make an impact?
There are two people in our industry that really are standing out in my opinion. The original program director of J103 and my longtime friend Matt Stockman has been a mentor and coach to me personally for years. He knows his stuff and is used by God every day in the lives of his team and the listeners he serves. I’ve learned so much from him over the years. The other person making a huge difference is my General Manager, Justin Wade. I was Justin’s High School Youth pastor (I actually officiated his wedding) and remember getting him his first job with J103. Since coming to work here it is evident that the Hand of God is on his life. God has moved Justin up in the ministry to be the incredible leader and motivator he is now. He is never satisfied with the status quo and is always pushing us to be our best while making sure everyone on our team is reaching their full potential. He truly leads by example and His servant’s heart is so encouraging. Even though he officially is now my boss Justin will always be first and foremost my Brother in Christ and one of my best friends.
Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
Here at Partners for Christian Media (PCM) radio is just one of our four ministries. One of our others is our Christian Music Festival Jfest. In it’s 22ndyear we have seen it grow to record numbers and a new venue, after outgrowing our last one. My favorite time of the year by far is when the headlining artist shares the Salvation message and hundreds respond to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. That one moment makes the year-round planning so worth it. I love evaluating the previous year’s festival and seeing how we can improve the next year’s event and continuing to move forward. We have a fantastic team that loves producing Jfest. It’s all about the changed lives!
Tell us about a story of a Christian song that made a difference in your life or the life of a listener.
We are nearing the end of the first day of our Fall Shareathon so the listeners stories are pretty fresh in my mind right now. There are so many songs that make a daily impact in their lives. For me Matthew West’s “All In” has been a real inspiration to me this past year. When I feel like holding back and not “diving in” over my head-this song reminds me that it’s “All or nothing.” I’m stepping to the edge and I take a deep breath. I’m not turning back around ’cause there’s no turning back now
Program Director, J103
CMB Silver Member Since 2016