I’m a fan of Andy and Barney. Millions love the Andy Griffith show and its iconic whistling theme song, including myself. The show is clean, moral, fun, humorous and non-offensive. Filmed in the 1960’s, Griffith was once asked about the family-friendly, clean-cut view of the world the show presented. He said, “We were trying to reflect the morals of the 1930’s.”
Those are all well-intentioned qualities. Yet, they fall short.
One of my greatest fears is that Christian radio is the Andy Griffith show. We’re “safe for little ears”, positive, uplifting, encouraging, moral, clean, humorous and good. But that isn’t enough.
It isn’t enough to be morality radio. It isn’t enough to be the station that doesn’t use four letter words.
We must be gospel-centered.
Morality never rescued anyone from his or her shattered self-image.
Family-friendly never offered the solution to a broken marriage.
Safe and clean never delivered someone from the crushing weight of guilt.
The gospel does.
At Positive Alternative Radio we have begun a quest. Our goal is to be gospel-centered. We want to live our lives in the light of the gospel and in so doing share our struggles, failures, and successes with our listeners and allow them to see us being changed by Jesus.
At this moment, program directors who are reading this post are about to set their hair on fire.
I’m not saying we bring in Rev. Fred and give him the microphone for 30 minutes and let him scream his guts out.
I am advocating we have authentic conversations with our audience. And never doubt that your audience WANTS and DESIRES authentic interaction.
Continue to be funny.
Keep doing the “What’s the worst pet name you’ve ever heard?” bits.
But – there are times when life demands you be authentic.
Share your parenting struggles – because your listener is struggling as well.
Talk about how Jesus gives us a new identity – because those who listen to us need to be reminded that they are not defined by their past but by the cross and the resurrection.
But do it in an authentic and relevant manner.
One final thing, we have made a commitment to be more intentional with the gospel.
When it is appropriate and natural, we will share the gospel on-air. We won’t preach. But we will simply share the message of Jesus in 60-90 seconds and invite those listening to follow this Jesus that has transformed our lives.
Jesus said, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?”
I say, “What does it profit us as Christian media if we have 1 million in weekly cume, and never share the gospel?”
Let us be authentic.
Let us be unashamedly Christian.
Let us be gospel-centered.
Positive Alternative Radio
Often times when asked to describe your radio station the answers may come easy. To you, “who” and “what you are” and “what you’re all about” should be obvious to all.
Truthfully this may not always be the case and we may be fooled into thinking it is by the supporter’s closest to us. They reinforce to you that your perception of you is true. They give you financial support and show up to concerts and remotes and even know the names of everyone on your team.
Perception is an interesting study, so much so that even Jesus did some perceptual research Himself! Yep, Jesus!!
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Now obviously there was a greater God given revelation at work here but Jesus was obviously polling the room and the answers He got certainly had some inconsistencies.
The same Jesus, with the same miracles and the same words; yet those out of the inner circle couldn’t quite put their finger on “who” He was!!
Who do they say you are? Are you that religious station in town or that place that gives hope and encouragement? Are you fun and down to earth or super spiritual? What do they say?
Everything matters!! Consistency matters and most importantly Perception matters!! Your ability to impact lives for Christ depends on it.
Perception is nine tenths of the Law.
Frankie, Vice President of Programming
Positive Hits, PER General Manager
You were created by God.
He fashioned you. You are the result of His skill and care.
But the wonder and the drama of our existence doesn’t stop there.
There’s an often skipped verse in Genesis.
These overlooked words can help bring purpose and joy to your daily life…your daily work life. No matter if you’re a stay at home mom who home-schools the kids, a factory worker who clocks in 8 hours a day exactly, a doctor who works limitless hours or the leader of a major company these words grant you amazing perspective.
The scripture reads, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden to work it and keep it.” (Gen. 2:15)
God created the man.
God gave the man work to do.
That verse screams we are to work. We are not to waste our lives in idleness chasing after the cheap thrills from the edges of life. We were made to make an impact.
Work is from God. Folding the laundry, selling advertising, building cars, feeding the cattle on a dairy farm – this work comes from the loving hand of our God.
God “put him in the garden…” God gave the man a vocation. God gave the man a talent and a task. The task God gave the man matched his talent.
Whatever you’re good at…whatever you’re passionate about…God gave that to you.
Then there are the words “work” and “keep”.
The man was to work. He was to labor.
Your job isn’t a burden. It isn’t to be seen as a necessity to pay the bills. Our work is a gift from Him. I can write that with 100% confidence because the talents we have to perform our work come from our Lord…and talents are not to be wasted.
That changes my perspective. I now can now say that I get to work where I get to exercise the gifts Jesus gave me. I’m not there just to earn a paycheck…I’m there to honor Him with the skills He gave me.
You’re not there just to wipe noses and change diapers…you’re there to honor Him with the talents He gave you.
Finally, there’s the ‘who’.
- God put the man in the garden.
- God gave the man the task to work the garden.
- God gave the man the talents to do the tasks.
What we do reflects His glory.
I can delight in what I do because I delight in the One who gave me the talent to do it. I have joy in what I do because my joy comes from the One who put me in this “garden”.
The mandate also becomes bolder and clearer.
I’m not here just to build great companies. You’re not here just to do data entry, prescribe medicine, adjust spines, sell cars, or build houses.
You’re here to honor Him…to give Him glory…and to give Him glory and honor THROUGH what you do.
Whatever garden you are laboring in – you’re there because God put you there.
Tend it well.
For the garden belongs to Him.
Well, it’s that time of year. It’s time to get out in the sun and get in the garden. I have never had much of a “green thumb”. I’ve never tended a garden personally, but I do know that it takes a lot of work. As a matter of fact, as I researched the topic for this post, I was shocked at all the info and tips that were available. I read tips on picking the best soil. I read instructions on how to know if plants were “shade-tolerant” or “sun-loving”. I even brushed up on how to deal with “immature root systems”. I have come to the conclusion that, like anything, once you have a basic understanding, the proper tools, and practice…growing plants still takes work. What? You thought I was going to say “it’s easy”?
Now you may be wondering what this has to do with radio. You may be asking how this applies to you, your work, Christian radio, and the Gospel. I’d like to compare a few steps it takes to have a successful garden with some steps we can take to have a successful experience in our work.
Readers BEWARE… Many metaphors ahead!!!
Prepare your Soil
Soil is the most important element in a garden and probably one of the most overlooked by “first-time” gardeners. Soil supports plants physically and provides them with water and nutrients. Now I will ask you, “In what kind of soil are you rooted?” I have found sixty one verses in Scripture that have to do with being rooted. They speak of being deeply rooted in the Word, in love, and in truth.
You see it matters what type of soil we are standing in. We preach the Gospel! We talk about Jesus and His love for us, but where does that knowledge come from? Are we simply relaying messages that we hear in church? Are we just passing on information we gather in small groups, or are we taking time to root ourselves in scripture? If I’m being honest, I really struggle with this. I overuse the excuse of being too busy, and at the same time running the risk of spreading a false gospel on our radio station.
That’s something to really think about. Are we rooting ourselves in the Truth? Soil matters. Actually it matters most.
Care for Your Garden
Even if you are without a “green thumb” you still understand that gardens take work. You have to care for the seeds you sew. I found it interesting how watering your plant actually helps it grow. It is not the water itself that is beneficial but the fact that the water flow dissolves the nutrients in the soil and helps transport those nutrients to and throughout the plant. I’ve also read that plants don’t necessarily need sunlight to grow but of course they grow stronger and are better produce having had it. But there’s something else that your garden needs that’s just as important. Yes, this is the part where I tell you that you need to weed your garden. You knew it was coming, right? You have to work. You have to care for your garden!
So how do we care for our work? Well we “weed out” distractions! (No pun intended)…It’s easy for me to get distracted. I come in each and every morning fired up and ready to do the best I can and by 9am I have already lost focus. Maybe it’s my phone or perhaps it’s social networking. The internet can be a big “weed” for me. But going a little deeper than that I would say work becomes a distraction to my work. If I am focused on too many things then I am not focused on just one thing; therefore, that one thing suffers. Also, piling on too many tasks can lead to feeling overwhelmed which then drains your passion and leaves you just “working”. We do so much more than just clock in and out each day.
Let’s be sure and care for our work. Let’s be sure to weed out those distractions. Learn to say “No”. Remember that the details make up the bigger picture. Stay focused on what we do, and that is to inspire people to live passionately for Jesus!
It All Takes Time
Proper timing makes all the difference when it comes to planting your garden. If you’re like me you want results today! If you’re like me you want to be finished with a project before the sun goes down. Radio is such a “right now / moment to moment” environment, but let’s be sure to remember that goals take time. Getting yourself rooted in the right soil takes time. Getting in the habit of caring for your work takes time, but it’s all worth the investment. I’ll leave it at this:
-Get rooted in the Word
-Grow what you love
-Don’t let it stress you out
-Enjoy the fruits of your labors
Jeremy Wolfe / Walk-FM
I’ll never forget the morning that Sam shared his testimony with me. I had just finished leading worship at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Parkersburg, WV when I noticed him walking towards the stage. I could tell by the intent look on his face that Sam had something he wanted to say to me. I was thinking “Did I say something Biblically incorrect? Did I get some lyrics wrong? Was my singing that bad?”
Sam introduced himself, thanked me for singing and for sharing my testimony. As he did he made mention that he really enjoys listening to Walk-fm. I was sure to let him know how much I appreciated the fact that he had heard of our radio station. We began to have a good conversation about ministry, the church, and Walk-fm. That’s when Sam’s demeanor totally changed. He began to speak about his marriage but was immediately cut off by the lump in his throat. He tried to get the words out but couldn’t. He was just too emotional. So here I am in front of this grown man I had just met and he is weeping. I struggled to find words of comfort but could only come up with “It’s ok. Whatever it is its ok.” After he collected himself and regained his composure I could finally understand what he was saying.
Sam had been married for 47 years to his wife, Kathy, but for the past 5 years they struggled with even being with each other. They argued constantly. They had financial issues. They even slept in separate bedrooms. Keep in mind that I had never met this guy, but here we stood having a conversation you would most likely hear in a counselors’ office…….or a courtroom. As I was thinking this very thought Sam floored me with his next statement. He said “I’m sorry to be telling you all of this, but I feel like I know you”. He said “I listen to Walk-fm every day, and every morning I hear your voice. Every day I listen to the songs you play and they speak to my situation”. I was taken back. This man from Parkersburg listens to our station every morning and God is using it to speak life and hope into his life. But nothing could’ve prepared me for what he said next. “Jeremy”, he said “I am so thankful for what you do because my God used your station to heal our marriage”. Sam explained how one morning he heard “Restore” followed by “Waiting forTomorrow” and in that moment made up his mind that God can be in control of his finances. He told me of how he decided then that God can have authority over his life. Even in his marriage.
That day as I was driving home from Parkersburg I kept praising God for working in spite of me. I had a lot of time to think about how God had used Walk-fm to restore a marriage and to rebuild a person’s heart. I also started to think about the details.
You know when we think of radio we usually think of “On-Air” stuff. Now we know that’s not all there is to it, but what if we didn’t strive to do our best in the small things. What if contracts hadn’t been prepared properly? What if someone didn’t keep up w budgets? What if we didn’t give it all we have to make sure our
stations stay on the air and a part of the community? If one little bolt falls out of my car’s engine it could stop the entire car from performing.
You see every little detail is important so in all you do give it your best. When you ask yourself “is what I’m doing important” remember that there may be a “Sam” out there listening.
Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you. Because It All Matters.
What does it mean to be the leader in Christian media? Much has been said about how we go about being leaders for our teams within Positive Alternative Radio. We talk all the time about how to engage & encourage our team members to strive for excellence. We find innovative ways to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our listeners. However, what does it mean to be a leader & who are we leading? Are we just leading our listeners or are we leading the industry?
I had a great pleasure today to speak with a woman who works at another Christian radio station in a different state. She was having a technical difficulty with her online webstreaming service. She called our radio station to see how we liked our online webstreaming because she was thinking of switching.
I listened to the problems she was facing and gave her my honest opinion and expertise in the matter from my years of experience. I asked her what she didn’t like about her current service & I compared those experiences to that of our radio stations. We didn’t talk for a very long time – maybe 10 minutes – but that gave her the assurance she needed that she was making the best decision for her station & for her listeners.
So again, I’ll ask you, what are we doing to lead the industry? What happens to Christian media and the message of Jesus Christ if we can help other Christian radio stations to also better proclaim the Word? I think the answer is simple – we must lead in our industry to encourage & support other Christian media outlets. As team members at Positive Alternative Radio we have the expertise in our fields to help others. We should use that expertise for the glory of God.
Director of Engineering
Positive Alternative Radio
As I think about First Impressions, I think about the donor phone call I had first thing this morning. I could immediately sense this donor wasn’t in the best of humor and her mood didn’t improve when she learned that no gift had been given in 2013. (She thought for sure that she and her husband had given via credit card and thus she’d been expecting a year-end financial statement from us, giving them a tax credit.) I assured her that I only showed one donor account with gifts ending September, 2012; we were deeply grateful for her faithful support up to that point. Her tone changed. She grew quieter and explained that she was actually calling today to cancel their gift. “I’m so embarrassed. I really thought we were giving to you guys. We love your music but our situation has changed. My husband lost his job and we lost 75% of our income.” I told her that I was so sorry to hear that; we would be praying for her family and wanted God to bless them. I asked her to promise she will keep listening and hopefully we can provide some comfort to her during this time. With obvious emotion in her voice, she assured me that we always do.
…This call could have gone various directions. Had I been gruff in return, she might have never opened up to me about their recent struggles and honestly, she might have chosen to turn elsewhere for her music if I was a bad representation of the station.
As we move forward, we will be challenging ourselves as team members to always excel in that First Impression. We are blessed to have some AWESOME “Impressionistas” as Office Managers at each station! Won’t you join us as we strive to excel at: the human connection; empathizing with our listeners and donors; honoring and acknowledging them; showing appreciation; creating a spiritual and emotional bond and building community?
To quote Joseph Michelli from his book, Leading the Starbucks Way, “Imagine what knowledgeable and passionate employees can do, not only for your customers, but for the morale and enthusiasm associated with your business.”
Director of Partner Services Positive Alternative Radio
I want to share with you an example of creating experiences through concerts and events. We just had Casting Crowns, For King and Country and Laura Story come through the area in a concert provided by an outside promoter. It was a great night of music and ministry; a sell-out crowd!
This wasn’t our show, but by all appearances it might have seemed that it was to anyone who observed our input. We used our “being the standard” rules with the van; provided music to listen to while waiting in line. We worked the lines outside the venue; had a table, a great prize to register for as well as our mascot Danny the Lion who greeted kids. We also had the opportunity to greet the audience from the stage.
I was proud of my team for creating additional experiences for donors, underwriters and listeners. Let me share about that aspect…
• Hannah scheduled a lunch with artist Laura Story. Hannah secured a room right across the street from the venue and had Chick-Fil-A catered. We invited 50 friends who were a mix of listeners, volunteers, donors and underwriters. Laura was incredible! She sang and shared her heart and all were blessed (no pun intended) to be there. 50 incredible experiences, right there!
• Mike Riddles secured 20 meet and greet passes. We handed these out the night of the concert to donors, underwriters and unsuspecting listeners. They all got a chance to get pictures, autographs and personal attention from the artists performing that night. 20 additional incredible experiences, right there!
• We saved some of our normal giveaway tickets for some underwriters and even put a couple of our most faithful underwriters on the front row so they could enjoy the show front and center! 4 more incredible experiences, boom!
• This show was sold out but at the very last minute a major donor wanted to come to the show. He called me for tickets and I’m so glad I was able to actually buy 2 tickets the venue found for me for a cost of $52. The donor was thrilled; didn’t know I had paid for the tickets. When I saw him at intermission, he thanked me; shook my hand and slipped me a check for $1,000. Yet, more experiences and a huge blessing for WCQR!
I hope this encourages you and maybe gives you some ideas. The opportunities to create experiences for people are out there. It’s up to us to make them happen!
General Manager, WCQR
Jack Welch is a hero of mine. The iconic leader of GE is a legend in leadership / management circles. His practical advice on the use of candor, motivating the top 20% of your workforce, and removing the person who “poisons the well” have all become rules that I live and lead by.
Welch has another rule…
We play to win.
At this point, I expect those who don’t work for Positive Alternative Radio to begin emailing me a myriad of questions.
“You’re a ministry. How can you say it’s all about winning?”
“Aren’t we all in this thing together?”
“I can’t view that fellow Christian radio station across town as competition. That would be…unchristian.”
Yes, I believe we must have a strategy that will lead us to win. We must work with a goal of winning.
Let me ask you a question: What’s the opposite of winning? Surviving? Losing? Better yet, how much impact will your ministry have if it loses? How much impact will it have if it just survives?
That Christian radio station across town is your competitor. We share common values, strategies, tactics, and goals – but they are your competitor. You both may share a goal of seeing the Kingdom grow and believers encouraged – but you are both fighting for the same ears and the same dollars. Yet, I guarantee if your ministry falls on difficult financial times that the station across town will not bail you out. They will view it as an opportunity to seize the market…and they should.
At Positive Alternative Radio, we play to win. It is our vision statement to be the standard by which all Christian media is measured. We view being the standard as an opportunity to have enormous impact in the lives of those who listen and donate to PAR. Being the standard will allow those who work here to spend their lives in something that matters. Instead of making a small ripple in the pond, we have a great desire to make a massive dent in the world. Being the standard will allow us to influence the Christian radio industry that is longing for a leader in quality and impact, not just a leader who comes to town and buys every available signal.
In his book “Winning” Welch writes, “Winning in business is great because when companies win, people thrive and grow. There are more jobs and more opportunities everywhere and for everyone. People feel upbeat about the future; they have the resources to send their kids to college, get better health care, buy homes, and secure a comfortable retirement. And winning affords them the opportunity to give back to society in hugely important ways beyond just paying taxes – they can donate time and money to charities and mentor in inner-city schools, to name just two. Winning lifts everyone it touches – it just makes the world a better place.”
I’m braced for it.
Someone will call or email and say, “The Bible doesn’t say we should work to win. It says we should work as “unto the Lord.” My response to that concern? Tell me what working “unto the Lord” looks like. Is it just surviving? Is it losing? Or is it giving everything you have and winning?
At Positive Alternative Radio, we’re playing to win.
Does that mean we’re heartless? Nope.
Does it mean we will be unkind and rude? Not at all.
We will show grace and be kind…while playing hardball.
We believe winning opens doors, improves morale, unlocks passion, allows teams to innovate and creates opportunities for enormous gospel impact.
We’re not here to survive.
We’re in it to win it.