Recently I saw this story and it really made an impression on me…
“A man who was in construction was commissioned to build a massive bridge over the Mississippi River. This required him to be away from his family and friends. He also had to work long hours, six days a week. But when he returned, he told me what a great joy his six months working on that bridge had been. ‘A joy?’ I asked. ‘Yes, a joy,’ he said. ‘It is a rare and great thing to have your life used for something bigger than you. We leaders ought to be reminded frequently of what a joy it is to have our little lives caught up in something bigger than ourselves.’
I shared this with some of the PAR leadership team as a reminder that our work for PAR is something far greater than ourselves.
As I’m writing this, it’s 4:14 in the afternoon and I see Adam McCain down the hall finishing a time sensitive project. He’s been here since 5:00 this morning. He’s not still here because he’s trying to benefit himself. Instead he’s a person with a mission bigger than himself. He understands that excellence for God is what we are all trying to achieve.
One of the great joys of working for PAR is that our halls are full of people who “get it”. They understand who their work is ultimately for and they are the reason that God is blessing our stations with unprecedented growth in finances and ratings and most importantly, in the number of lives that are being reached for the Lord.
So, today, rejoice! Be glad for the position that God has placed you in. Sure it’s a little overwhelming sometimes(like building a bridge over the Mississippi). But God will equip us for the job he has laid out before us.
General Manager, WCQR
I am going to write this article with as much generality as possible. One day, a few more miles down the road from here, I’ll be more specific.
The place where I serve is in a double, or even triple, sub cultural environment, religiously speaking. The listeners, the team members, the colleagues who help us deliver our product — most are in a subculture of a subculture (as if ONE subculture isn’t tough enough!).
To clarify what I’m talking about: being Christian is in itself a subculture. If Christians were unified with no disagreements, denominations, or digressions, we would be one happy, powerful, subculture. But, alas, we have many flavors of Christianity. Thus, enters another level of subcultural-ness.
Just today, I heard a principle: the deeper a subculture grows and communicates only to and with itself, the further away from truth it gets. The answer here is that we need other voices to keep us from getting weird. And worse: “far from the truth.”
Now, I could camp out on the theological implications, but there are better trained teachers to do that. I will, however, use that principle to speak to the mixture of religion and our craft.
Because our business is about spreading God’s love (something sacred) through technology and media (okay, we’ll call that secular), we sometimes are tempted to put a guilt-tag onto something that is counter to a “best practice” in our industry. And maybe there are some God-inspired cases where you push conventional thinking aside for the awesome work of the Holy Spirit.
(Just be careful not to confuse that with indigestion from last night’s pizza.)
What am I talking about?
As I mentioned, dealing with people who are passionate about a faith defined by a subculture-within-a-subculture often screams in the face of what we know to be a best-practice. If we simply argue and put up a fight that “research proves this” or “the entire radio industry operates successfully by these principles” and give it a “so, there!” attitude — what does that accomplish?
Bonus point for assertiveness and unwavering. Subtract two points for creating a divide and three points for a missed opportunity to teach.
If you encounter someone who challenges conventional thinking, I’ve found it is always helpful to give ear — hear them out. Make sure you aren’t interjecting too soon, devaluing their opinions, or jumping to conclusions. After you’ve really listened, and only after, maybe you’ll have earned the right to carefully explain the differences. On occasion, they may have a valid point, an outside-the-box approach, or they may simply be speaking a different language than you. Dealing with vastly different approaches to business, ministry, tactics, and strategy are part of what makes life fun!
Culture Integration is taking all walks of life, all opinions and experience levels and carefully weaving them together under patient (but focused) leadership that can bring the strengths of everyone on your team along to victory.
Oh, and don’t get discouraged if change doesn’t happen overnight, or after one staff meeting. It will take consistency in walking out your mission, showing compassion for people, and passion for the vision; for the future that is the secret “simmering recipe” for harmony and unity.
P.S. One day, more specific examples. Patience, patience…
Daniel Britt .::. VP of Culture Integration
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
A passion for what you do is critical to achieving excellence consistently. It is the difference between one who is all “In” and another who is just “Clockin’ In.”
If audio production is not your “passion” and you’re charged with that responsibility at your radio station, it can be an overwhelmingly heavy weight. In small market radio and many medium market stations, you may wear multiple hats. Someone must be in charge of production. Tag, you’re it!
Okay, so audio production is not your passion. Perhaps you are proficient with the administrative side of this vital area of operations, but you lack some of the skills to really do masterful audio work. A few pointers of how to approach this creative and subjective craft could help develop the “must do” part of your work into a real “passion” for it.
Isaiah “Izzy” Knight, Afternoon Host and Media Director at Spirit FM in Roanoke/Lynchburg, Virginia, has some tips that just may be what the doctor ordered.
Knight says, “Creating efficiencies and working smarter will provide you time to create a more effective and compelling product.” Here’s what he recommends:
“Audition CC and CS6 have a feature called ‘Templates.’ It is an easy way to have your toolbox of SFX and Beds automatically loaded with your rack presets ready to go. Just set up your session and export it as a template. If you have an older version, just set up a blank session and save it to your desktop. Just remember to hit ‘Save As.’
Set up a rack for each voice-over person you have. Unless they’re voicing a spot in another studio, you should never have to tweak their audio again after it is set (unless you’re going for a new effect, of course).
Have a voice tracker or other outside dry voice audio? Batch process their files using your settings to give them a bit more punch and match your station.
There are several ways to approach this workflow. It needs to be simple, provide accountability and include enforceable deadlines for each person in the process. Knight prefers paperless. If budget is an issue for you, going digital can be done FREE by using Google Docs. Create a form with the fields you need and it will automatically populate the spreadsheet. This operation is working very well at Spirit FM. If you have a budget for third party vendor software, Vcreative is a good tool at www.vcreativeinc.com.
Make these deadlines, presets and templates standard operating procedure. Standardizing your work flow will save you time in the long run and the continuity will make your station(s) sound significantly better.”
You never know…what is a “just get it done” drudgery to you now, may grow into a passion you never dreamed of, bringing all your hidden creative talents into full bloom. And that’s excellence!
I’ve heard a lot of talk about the ‘core listener’…listener’s age, predominantly female, soccer mom, stay-at-home mom, etc. Honestly, I admit that hadn’t fully sunk into my brain as deep as it should…until this one call from a donor…
I received a voicemail from a lady who wanted to update her declined credit card. She asked that I please return her call that day, or she’d try and fit in a time to call me back later in the week. I happily called but got her answering machine. In the middle of me leaving a message, an out of breath lady answered the phone, “Hi! I’m so glad you called but can you hang on a minute, please?” I told her, “of course, no problem.” Then I overheard her talking to her child; giving instructions on how long to walk the dog, how far to go, to hold the leash tightly, etc. She apologetically returned to our call and began explaining what had happened with her credit card. We were partway through updating her card info when another child entered the conversation, “I’m hungry! Can I have a snack?” …Mom responded with a list of reasons which included, “No, it’s close to dinner time; go comb your hair we have to leave for rehearsal soon.” After giving further instructions on what she meant by “comb your hair”, she once again returned to our call and apologized profusely for all the interruptions.
In that moment, I realized this mom was taking precious time out of an insanely busy (perhaps normal?) day to update her card information with us so that her gift could resume. I realized what a huge inconvenience this call was for her and yet she was determined to get this done, even while juggling many tasks and people that yearned for her attention.
I have always been deeply grateful for our donors. After speaking with this dear lady, I feel as if I got to climb inside her world a bit and it makes me that much more thankful! I won’t pretend that I always get it right with every call but I’m so glad that I didn’t sound impatient or annoyed with this lady. I even took a moment to thank her for making time for my call. Each time I answer the phone now I am reminded of this sweet mom and how precious time is for our listeners and donors; how awesome it is that they carve in time to speak with us!
Director of Partner Services