Wednesday, September 4, 2013

JACK FM: The Future of Christian Radio?

JACK FM: 
The Future of 
Christian Radio?
_______________________
  
 From religion to
politics to sports to
who's the hotter Olsen
twin, there's little in life
on which we all agree
— except for ONE thing.
The JACK FM guy is
the coolest and wisest
man in America!
_______________________

He's wise. 
You're not making any sense. Put the baby back on the phone.

He's humble. 
Broadcasting from a dumpy little building, this is JACK FM.

He's insightful. 
Everybody can stop getting those JACK FM face tattoos... The contest is over.

He even offers words of encouragement. 
Hey, nice jeans shorts. You must listen to JACK FM.

He's honest. 
If JACK FM wasn't so upside down in gambling debt, we'd only have to play half of these commercials.

He's Howard Cogan — the pre-recorded voice of the wildly popular JACK FM.

There's certainly nothing groundbreaking about the concept. Heck, most all of the various FM radio stations that I listened to around the country as a kid during the '70s subscribed to the pre-recorded, canned DJ approach to broadcasting. But what made JACK FM so revolutionary when the budding network debuted back in 2002, was its no format, format. And it's that tried and true "Playing What We Want" branding that continues to be so appealing, more than a decade later. In fact, JACK FM is now carried by 49 stations nationwide and attracts a weekly audience of 15 million listeners.

HOWARD COGAN - THE VOICE OF JACK FM
Aside from certain "Shock Jocks" and political hotheads, the artistry of live radio personalities is fading fast. And for the most part, the jocks who remain on the air today provide little more content than merely regurgitating mundane Google factoids. Hence, the JACK FM no DJ, DJ approach is appealing — especially when the pre-recorded bits, segues and station I.D.s are as personable and engaging as Cogan's.

Here on Florida's east coast, I listen to JACK FM frequently on WJKD-FM 99.7, out of Vero Beach. I recall one of Cogan's recent snippets, in which he assumed the persona of a preacher. It had something to do with referring to chapter such-and-such, verse such-and-such, according to the Gospel of JACK FM. This got me thinking. Christian programming today is often as stale as secular radio. I want to keep my dial locked in on a Christian station, but there simply are no truly groovy options in my area. So what if the groovy JACK FM format was applied to Christian radio? Wow, that could revolutionize the industry. In fact, given Cogan's wit and wisdom, he could perhaps become the most powerful and effective preacher on the planet!

Sara Groves would become the "Stevie
Nicksof a new Christianese JACK FM!
But, what exactly would a Christian version of JACK FM look and sound like? Well, I've given it considerable thought. For starters, the name JACK FM would remain the same. I've known enough so-called Christians in my life to realize that many indeed, don't "Know Jack." Hence, the name perfectly speaks to  a large, untapped potential audience base. However, there would be a new slogan: "We're JACK FM — Praying When We Want."

Other new Christianese sound bites might include:
JACK FM doesn't have DJs. What do you think we are — a bunch of filthy Philistines?

Or how about this one?
Two thirds of this next bunch of songs in a row were written by Apostle Paul.

And don't forget about the all-new station I.D.
Broadcasting from a glorious worship center on Main Street, this is JACK FM.

Oh sure, you can dismiss my gift of prophecy if you'd like. But when this concept does sweep the industry, just remember where you heard it first!

-Christopher Long
(September 2013)


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