What led you to a career in the radio industry?
I originally intended to pursue a degree in Worship Arts at John Brown University. A few weeks into my freshman year, I saw an ad for an open work-study position at KLRC, the university-owned station. That sounded much more interesting than vacuuming the Health Center every day, so I jumped on it. I started out updating donor mailing addresses, and within a couple years I was hosting afternoons and wrapping up my Broadcasting degree!
What advice would you give people new to the business?
While there is much to learn from the experience of others, don’t get too bogged down with precedent. We live in an era of disruption. Exploring new ideas, taking risks, and learning from failure is the quickest way to grow.
Give a shoutout to someone who is making a difference in radio and what are they doing to make an impact?
Perhaps this is cheating, but I have to give my shoutout to my GM, Sean Sawatzky. He started as KLRC’s only full-time employee 20+ years ago and now leads a staff of 13 people. He provides strong leadership and support while giving each member of our team the freedom to innovate in their area of expertise. Best of all, Sean is the picture of a servant leader – he would undoubtedly defer all credit for KLRC’s success to anyone but himself despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
It’s definitely more “project” than “accomplishment,” but right now much of my time is devoted to developing Real FM, a new blended Christian/Mainstream CHR radio format (and podcast network) that we hope to bring to terrestrial radio in Northwest Arkansas very soon. CCM has been used by God to reach so many with hope in Jesus, but there remains a fantastic opportunity to greatly expand the demographic that Christian radio has traditionally served. It would be a great honor to play some small role in that.
Tell us about a story of a Christian song that made a difference in your life or the life of a listener.
Warning: I’m about to go (very) off the beaten path. I love Christian hip-hop, and no album released in the last few years has been as life-changing for me as Propaganda’s “Crooked.” The way Propaganda wrestles with our individual and collective brokenness is raw, honest, convicting, and educational. He tackles deeply uncomfortable questions with humility… and ultimately with hope. If you want to wade into some challenging waters, “It’s Complicated” is a great track to start with.
KLRC Radio/Assistant PD & PM Drive
CMB Silver Member Member in 2017 & 2019