What led you to a career in the radio industry?
I fell in love with CCM music first, in the 8th grade. I’d beg my parents to drop me off at Cedar Springs Christian store and let me listen to CDs from the demo cd wall for as long as I could. In high school I became a super fan of the Jack Ryan in the morning show on WYLV in Knoxville. I listened every morning before school. The show was funny, it had characters and bits, I called in and got on the air once and that was kinda it. It was then that I decided that’s what I wanted to do. Jack went on to work in country and won multiple CMA Personality of the Year Awards. Years later I got to know him and he’s always been super kind. Come to think of it, I’d love for someone to bring him back to CCM Radio.
I ended up getting my degree in broadcasting and worked my way up to WYLV (From the teaching/talk station) and worked there for 5 years until we were sold. After that, Chris Hauser helped teach me, and get on my feet as an indie promoter and I’ve been at Centricity for the last 6 years.
What advice would you give people new to the business?
Figure out what your goals are and study people are already achieving them. Ie. Basically watch what Mike Couchman does at KLJY and do that. (He’s a sorely under used consultant imo.)
Be kind to everyone you meet, because everyone you meet is fighting a great battle. Relationships matter. People move all the time. Be kind and grateful for everything, even small things. One time early on I heard someone at a label get upset for a station playing a song from their artist that wasn’t the single. I decided then and there to be grateful for any time a radio station decided to play one of the artists I’m working with no matter what. Adds and spins are gifts and I aim to remain grateful for each one.
Give a shoutout to someone who is making a difference in radio and what are they doing to make an impact
As I mentioned earlier, KLJY St Louis (Sandi, Mike and Bobbi) is an incredible team doing amazing things to make an impact in their city. Ratings are cool, and they got em, but when you go to St Louis you can feel it in the city. That team loves their city, everyone knows them and most love them back.
The Joy FM network’s on-air talent is doing some awesome stuff. Both the Morning Cruise (Carmen, Dave and Bill) and Jayar in the afternoon are making incredibly compelling, outside the box work specifically in how they interact and use artists. The creativity and prep they put in before an artist visit is unparalleled. Every artist I take by there always feels incredibly honored by the visit. Actually, the same can be said for Rob and Alison at His Radio, so big ups to RTN overall.
WNFR and WNFA in Port Huron, MI bringing in Chad Bradley and building out an incredible new studio space in their resurgent and super cool downtown makes me excited for the vision Brian and Ellyn and those folks have. Having visited there last week, I can’t wait to see what happens over the next year with them as they open their space in September. Fun fact, they can see Canada from their front door!
And I know I’m not un-biased or whatever, and people get tense at the mention of EMF, but Matt Stockman and Mandy Young have been leading those networks with grace and integrity and our format and reach as a genre are infinitely better for them and their efforts.
Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
The old saying goes “success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan.” And while I’m far from a father to it, it’s been pretty cool to be a 2nd cousin on the Lauren Daigle story. Partnering with radio for the last 4 years on her songs and now seeing the impact on the world as she’s grown beyond our normal boundaries has been incredibly meaningful. The songs are literally saving lives in a world where many hearing them had all but given up hope, and being part of the journey in partnering with CCM Radio up to this point has been a pretty cool thing. Here’s to continuing that on July 12!
So Lauren Daigle is the obvious answer, but I’m also excited to be part of putting on the first ever all female attendee label event next week. I hope the ideas and relationships that come out of that are of lasting significance to our genre and format.
Tell us about a story of a Christian song that made a difference in your life or the life of a listener.
CS Lewis said that “we read to know that we are not alone.” I think we listen to music for the same reason. Three years ago, when I was at my lowest point, and on the edge of giving up if I’m being honest, Andy Gullahorn put out a record with a song called God Forsaken Place on it. That song was all I could hold on to for a week or so. I must’ve listened to it 1000 times. It was the thing to whisper in my ear that I wasn’t alone, that God maybe wasn’t ashamed of me, and that God understood where I was at. The older I get the less I’m 100% sure of when it comes to stuff I believe. I can tell you this though. God used that song as a lifeline to me when I was at my lowest and I’ll never forget it.
Senior Director of National Promotions, Centricity
CMB Gold Member in 2015