How is Southern gospel’s sound changing from its mountain, country-style roots?

There’s definitely a faction that knows that we have to modernize the sound a little bit to stay popular with some younger audiences. One group, Brian Free and Assurance, is doing a great job with that.

How is your faith different today than before your serious motorcycle accident in 2009?

Before, I knew God could heal. I just didn’t know he would actually heal me. (His eyes filled with tears as he spoke, and he added that he now rides again, on a Honda VTX 1800).

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Your deejay shift begins at 5 a.m. weekdays. How do you feel that early?

I set my alarm for 3:15 a.m., and I often hit the snooze button. A lot of weeks, by Thursday, I’m ready to throw the alarm across the room. A lot of times, I’ll stand throughout my shift (to stay energetic and alert).

Do you get to connect and meet with many of your listeners — people stretching from here to Batesville to Madison to some parts of Kentucky?

It’s amazing to me the number of people who come up to me in the grocery store and seem like they’re my best friend.

What do you like best about Southern gospel music?

It’s always had really good, Bible-based messages. You don’t have to search or look around a lot for the meaning to most of the songs. Usually, it’s like looking straight down the gun barrel. It gives it to you straight, just the way it is. And you know the songwriter’s not talking about his girlfriend or anyone else like that.

Where do you want to be in five to 10 years?

I would like to be right here. I love this job. When I left once, I was miserable. And I was still waking up before 4 in the morning.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”About Jim Hutson” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Age: 47.

Hometown: Batesville.

Role: Morning and lunchtime on-air personality for WYGS Radio, 91.1 FM, Columbus’ Southern gospel music station. Also chaplain of the local chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association.

Current honor: The Singing News’ monthly small-market Golden Mic Award. Featured in the magazine’s November issue. He was among Southern gospel fans’ top small-market deejays nationally for 2014.

Family: Wife, Mary. Sons Thomas of Columbus, Alex of Columbus, Robert of Columbus and Matt of Vincennes.