10 Questions with ... Chris Crain
May 20, 2013
1. Brief history/synopsis....where you were born & raised, schools, & current family?
I was born here in Louisville, but my family moved to North Carolina when I was 3 or 4. I was raised in Lumberton, NC. I graduated from High School there and went on to graduate from Milligan College in Johnson City, Tennessee. I met my wife Beth there and we've been married 16 years. We have three kids, Jack (11), Rachel (6), and Lindy (3).
2. What was it that made you "catch the bug" for radio? When did you realize that it was what you wanted to do for a living?
Probably in 5th grade. I had a pretty happening clock radio and I though it was kind of amazing these guys on there were playing all this music. I thought that sounded pretty cool. I actually would sit in class writing out playlists; ideas on how I would do it if I was programming. I used to ride my bike down to the Robeson County Public Library and sit in there mesmerized by Billboard magazine.
3. What's a very successful on-air campaign you've been a part of?
Tsunami Relief in 2004. The day station did a one-day fundraiser for victims of the Tsunami. I was then able to go with a local church group to India and do live reports from the scene of the devastation. The money we took over literally provided new homes, as well as practical items for folks there.
4. With the advent of "instant everything".....what do you do to show prep? How do you prepare?
I read a lot of stuff. Music related stuff online I mean. So I have a pretty good idea of what is going on with the artists. Granted, folks can keep up with artists like never before via Twitter, but many folks in our audience don't have a Twitter account, and if they do, they aren't following all the artists of course. This is definitely an area I need to improve on!
5. What would you categorize as your greatest personal challenge in radio?
Being more personal. I tend to get caught up in stats and music industry stuff, much of which I don't think our listener is interested in.
6. Who are 3 nationally known people that have a positive influence on your life? What is it about them that grabs & keeps your attention?
Donald Miller. I really enjoy his books, have read "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" through several times. I've heard him speak a few times, and have read his blog many times as well. All good, edifying, and thought-provoking. I don't agree with everything he's ever said too. And that's OK.
Rick Warren. I really love his attitude. Ever since reading "The Purpose Driven Life" years ago, I've been a fan.
Wess Stafford. I can't underestimate the influence Wess has had. His book "Too Small to Ignore" was a real wake-up call for me that children matter. Sounds so obvious, but many of us don't live like we believe it. Also, a talk he gave at GMA in 2005 on practical leadership is one of the best speeches I've ever heard.
7. What do you believe is the single greatest factor in building audience share/cume? Why do you believe it's that important?
Playing the right music. No matter how "compelling" your other content is, I don't see people staying through songs they don't like. They might turn the channel and come back later, but they are going to change the channel.
8. What are three of your best station concert memories?
The "Live Out Loud" tour featuring Steven Curtis Chapman and Nichole Nordeman.
I was able to see three dates on this amazing tour in 2002. As expected, Chapman sang hits, as well as new songs from his latest release Declaration. He sounded great and was really at the top of his game as a performer. But what made this tour exceptional was the multi-media presentation of Steve Saint's story. The son of missionary Nate Saint, Steve was raised in South America. Tribesmen the missionary fathers witnessed to murdered them. Steve forgave the killers and one of them, Mincaye, eventually became like one of the family.
The tour featured compelling video and audio to go with the live songs, telling the story of the tragedy, and the aftermath. And then, both Steve Saint and Mincaye came out on stage. It was awesome! I got both their autographs after the show. Mincaye's was a thumbprint. Jim Elliot was also a missionary who lost his life there. You can read more in his wife Elisabeth's book Beyond the Gates of Splendor.
Jason Gray was here in Louisville on September 13, 2011, the release date for his latest album A Way To See In The Dark. In celebration of the album release, he was on the Morning Show, and did a free mini-concert that evening at a local church. It was cool to have Jason here on such a special day of course. But it was a really good vibe at the show. Jason's music is very edifying and he always has something good to say. That evening was no different. It was neat to be able to hear several of the songs on the new album live. Unlike many events where I'm running around and not actually watching the show, I was able to see most of it. I was glad I was able to that night.
Tenth Avenue North and Francesca Battistelli. Kentucky State Fair, fall 2011. Part of the appeal of this show was that Tenth Avenue North absolutely came out guns blazing. The opening was more like a Switchfoot concert than what I was expecting from TAN. The crowd loved it. And like Jason Gray, Mike Donnehey can be funny/silly in person, but actually has something worth saying from the stage.
9. How do you combat the iPod/satellite/online option listeners have today? What are the steps to compete?
Playing the right music would be the main thing I think. And then serving the listeners the best you can with the best real time traffic and weather. Cool concert prizes like backstage passes, front row seats, etc can help too, though I think that is a small factor. Pretty fundamental stuff, but done correctly, I think that can be very appealing to people.
10. Radio 101....in 101 words or less, how would you guide/instruct/advise a radio programmer/air talent who wants to get better at their craft?
Love and serve your audience. If you really care about them, you'll want to play the best music and get them the best traffic and weather info. You will more naturally do what it takes to make that happen. And listen to them.
I need to do that about 1000 times better!
1. An embarrassing moment on air?
I know I'm not the only one this has happened to! When I was working at the country station in Tennessee, I had a caller on-air and what his favorite radio station was. Of course he said another station in town. We didn't have a delay, it was live. I laughed like it didn't matter, but I was embarrassed!
2. Favorite cereal, favorite cartoon character and favorite fast food choice?
- Cereal: Oatmeal Squares lately. Up until my 20's it was Lucky Charms.
- Cartoon Character: Shaggy
- Fast Food: Subway I guess.
3. You've got one last live break on air....and then the radio will go silent. What do you say, and why?
Read the Bible, "Too Small to Ignore" by Wess Stafford and "Escape from Camp 14" by Blaine Harden. Amazing books that may blow your mind!