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
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
There was a song in the early 80’s with the line “it goes on and on and on and on….” The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) recently levied fines for an underwriting announcement that seemed to go ‘on and on and on’ about a roofing company. It stated that they offered “Custom metal roofing, siding, hardware, trim, insulation, trusses and perma felt paper”.
Same for a gardening center mentioning they provide “bulk and bag mulch, peat moss, potting soil, bulk top soil, and decorative borders…pick-up and delivery”. They do offer all those services, that’s a fact, but the FCC said, “excessively detailed menus of multiple product/service offerings by underwriters exceed the type of information that would enable listeners to identify supporters of non-commercial programming”.
You can mention multiple non-promotional products and services, just don’t go on and on and on and on….about them.
Although the Federal Communication Commission didn’t say how many was too much, we would suggest no more than three. If you have more than three, you might consider:
• Rotating acknowledgement featuring different items.
• Using a female voice that might deal with more female items
• Using a male voice that might deal more with the “bulk mulch and “decorative borders, potting soil and bag mulch”, top soil, lawn mowers”.
Now I could go on and on and on and on…but you can find out more here. Click Here
Director of Underwriting
Positive Alternative Radio
It looks like winter is finally behind us so it’s time for some Spring-cleaning.
First off, let’s make sure we’re meeting all of our EEO obligations. Why? Late last year, the FCC issued two separate fines of $20,000 to two different broadcast companies for EEO violations. Specifically, they “had not regularly sent information about job openings to community organizations that asked to be notified about such openings”. Not only that but the FCC wasn’t too happy the stations did not discover this problem, as they should have, through the mandated self-assessment every station employing 5 or more full-time employees is required to do.
In other words, if I asked you now, “what are you doing to meet EEO requirements?” you should not only be able to tell me what you’re doing but how effective those actions are in getting a diverse employment pool. You should also have an EEO report posted to your website for others to review.
Let this current enforcement of EEO policies be a reminder to all of us that the FCC is taking this matter very seriously and so should you!
Another item of Spring-cleaning involves political ads. Your state may be having some primaries soon. Please note we do not have to take any political ads for local/state offices. While we may have to take political spots for federal office, it is our company policy to put a disclaimer behind the ad (which we cannot charge for) that states that we are required by the FCC to run this ad free and do not endorse the candidate, etc.
Please take a moment to do your Spring-cleaning to maintain your station’s legal status.
I wear more than a couple of hats at my station. As a result, I go through the internal struggles as the manager side of me argues with the underwriting side of my persona.
Sometimes the on-air side of me doesn’t want to “waste time” with all that legal stuff. The hardest part is taking that step back and asking, “What’s right?”
Let’s take that step back now. I remember when I first became a Christian I went to youth group and the pastor invited us to ask any question we had. After about a half hour of fielding various questions that were basically surrounding the issue of “how much can we get away with and still be a Christian”, the pastor told us to stop. He said, “You should be striving to see how much you can live for the Lord, not how close you can get to sinning without actually crossing that line.”
That line has stuck with me my whole life. Rather than seeing how much I can legally get away with in my underwriting script, I can set a higher standard where there is no doubt. Sure, my salesman side screams at this notion much like my sinful nature screams at me when I reject temptation.
In a similar manner, I like to have fun. Who doesn’t? For me, being on-air or doing a piece of production is fun. I get to talk with people, joke around, and tap into my creative side. Then I look at my FCC checklist. Ummmm. Let’s just say, it doesn’t scream “FUN!” I could choose to ignore those tedious tasks of being FCC compliant and filling out all the detailed paperwork. I mean, after all, there’s lots of fun stuff I could be doing. Of course, that can lead to the sting of an FCC fine.
It’s kind of like when I was a teenager and I could watch my favorite shows on TV or go do my homework. If I only chose to do what was fun, I would have never gained the education to achieve my goals.
The next time you’re tempted to neglect your FCC obligations, or you’re trying to see how close you can get to crossing that legal line, step back. Look at it through the eyes of integrity and make the right choice.
WJYW, General Manager