Radio

Let Your Core Values Determine Employee Recognition

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Employee Recognition

Is your recognition linked to your core values?  They should be linked!

We talk a lot about developing a culture of appreciation.  Just saying, “thank-you” is a great first step.  But to truly go deeper and name specifics related to the team member; their talent, their attention to detail, or their intentional actions will go a long way towards making your team feel really special and truly valued.

Here’s my challenge: link your recognition (whether a note of encouragement or special gift of recognition) with a specific core value of your company.  Connect the dots!  Say thank you, but show them WHY you are thankful and why it was important they live out that particular value of your organization.

Can you chart your intentional appreciation as a dashboard?  When a leader connects appreciation to a core value, it can provide a clear view of how your team and specific team members are living them out!

I’d go so far as encouraging team members to use this when showing appreciation amongst themselves. Appreciation from peers is powerful and can have a similar effect like a fond yearbook.

If leaders are included and witness appreciation not only from the top, down — but also lateral appreciation from peer-to-peer – this is incredible material that can documented to include in performance reviews.  (Note: performance reviews should be used as a rear view mirror in order to keep you moving ahead on the right road. But, that’s a different subject for a future article!).  Think of this as an annual report (ever compiled a radio station of the year entry report?): especially include other co-workers celebration and recognition for a truly effective culmination of that team member’s positive impact.

Bottom line: Tie the areas you recognize and appreciate in each other specifically to one of our 5 Ways of Being (Core Values).

Daniel Britt .::. VP of Culture Integration

Defining the win!

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winning equals

On a recent tour of PAR radio stations we focused on one question.  How do we personally define the win for your radio station?

For most PAR radio stations, it overwhelmingly came down to community impact and hitting home runs for Christ!

From there, we listened to our CMB radio station of the year submissions where there were many home runs because it is a sample of our best work.  In some cases it took hours of audio to come up with the best 15 minutes to submit but there were incredible moments of excellence.

The point of the exercise was this…Your radio station hits home runs a lot and if you go into your audio folders it’s easy to pick them out.

BUT:  What if the audio for the CMB presentation could only come from yesterday’s broadcast?  What if you could not cherry pick?  Would there be any home runs for the win?

My guess would be yes but is there enough happening consistently to win?  Why not strive to make every day a CMB quality presentation?

Now, please don’t get me wrong.  Even the best hitters don’t hit home runs every day!  In fact they strike out more than anybody else.  This is more about mindset and doing the best you can to win for your listeners every day!

Winning is intentional and it takes a lot of practice and yes even a lot of strike outs.  Let’s take each day and swing for the bleachers and overtime we will hit more home runs; together we will win this race!!

1 Corinthians 9:24

Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but [only] one receives the prize? So run [your race] that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours.

 

Frankie Morea

Vice President of Programming

Perfectionism…in its’ Place

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The Perfectionist Scale

I read an interesting quote the other day, by one of my favorite authors, Ann Voskamp…”Perfectionism is slow death *by self.*It will kill your skill, your spark, your art, your soul.”  I am a huge fan of Ann’s writings but I have to admit this quote wasn’t my favorite mainly because it made me squirm in my chair, stepped on my toes!  I struggle with my own perfectionism, every.single.day!  I do grasp the value of her words and there’s great wisdom in what she says.  Perhaps for me the goal should become pursuing excellence rather than being perfection-driven.  I am (slowly) grasping that as much as we’d like to deliver a perfect experience for our donors every time they interact with us, sadly we will fail.  We can come mighty close to that goal though if we consistently strive for excellence and pay attention to details!

So, where am I going with this?  What I can’t stress enough is the emphasis on striving for excellence (I so want to say perfection!) when handling donor information.  There’s such value in sending out correspondence in which the donor’s name is correctly spelled and we include the correct last gift information, if pertinent.  Does it ever irk you to receive mail in which your name is misspelled or even the wrong name, but your address?  When a donor calls with an inquiry about their pledge or gift information we want them to hear the correct pledge amount or to be assured that we are drafting their account on the day they requested, using the proper payment information.  If we promise a certain premium or giveaway, it matters that we fulfill that promise in a timely manner, sending the correct item.  In situations like these, details truly matter; are the things we should strive to get right, every time!  Now do you see why I’m driven to perfection??

The bottom line is this…although it may sound as boring as watching paint dry; data entry is a key element in delivering a great experience for our donors.  See, I’m learning…I didn’t say perfect that time!  Getting it right might generate enough trust for the donor to call us with yet another gift or even make the jump to trusting us with monthly automatic payment information.  “Suzy Jones” receiving a piece of mail addressed to “Suzy Owns” isn’t likely going to create the experience we were hoping for!  A single gift of $100 being charged $100 monthly could cause quite the angst for a donor!  Imagine the disappointment when a family receives an XL shirt after the mom requested a small shirt for her little boy, at the time she made their pledge.  My goal in sharing these examples is to help you appreciate why we data entry types focus so much on details and why they are important to our donors.  I leave you with this point to ponder…As you staff your phone rooms for Sharathon, hire your office staff you likely want to choose people who have an eye (and ear!) for details and perhaps a small bent towards perfection.

 

Kayla Sanders

Director of Partner Services

(Sub)Culture – Subculture

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subculture

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

Tips and Strategies for Blogging

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Blog letters pinned to white wall

I’m sure this has only happened to me…  but, have you ever had the order come down from above (think more corporate, less angles) that you need to write a blog post on (x) by (x)?

If you’re like most people the first thing that escapes your lips is a whispered “how am I supposed to get this done?”.  Well, relax it might just be easier than you think!
Here are a couple of tips and strategies that might just stir the creative writing process for you!

Step 1 – Read

The first step in writing a great blog post is to know your topic and chances are you’re not the first one to ever write on your subject.  So, why reinvent the wheel?
Solomon said it best “there is nothing new under the sun”.  There is no need to make things more difficult then that have to be.  Go online and find other blog posts on your subject and gather ideas.  Notice how other bloggers have organized their thoughts, and begin to formulate your own ideas on what you want to write about.

Step 2 – The Outline

Begin putting together an outline;
  • Create a topic headline
  • Brainstorm, and develop key points
  • Write an opening and Introduction
  • Write your thoughts on the subject
  • Conclusion
The mechanics of writing are pretty simple it’s the content and your personality that give it life!  I would suggest that you include quotes from the blogs that you checked out at first (for research of course).  Then, top it all off with a call to action.
It sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but after all when you post online it pretty much stays there forever! (no pressure)

Step 3 – Pen to Paper or Voice to Text?

Even if you’re not the most skilled writer in the world chances are you know how to speak.  That being said, the good news is that through the use of some very handy technology you now have an advantage over most writers in history past.

The Smart Phone

Most smart phones come with some type of voice recorder, and if not, there are plenty of apps you can download.  Record yourself talking on the key points that your blog needs to touch on, and then write or type out the content.

Dragon or voice to text software

There are more and more apps and technology that allow users to simply talk and type content directly to the page.  Budges vary and so does software cost, so be sure to take a look around and do some research.  Is this a one time deal, or have you tapped into your passion for the written word?

Elance or Fiverr.com

Too lazy to type it out, or not tech enough for talk to text?  You can always outsource the typing to someone who can.  There are plenty of people willing to transcribe your audio and even organize your outline into a proper format (for a fee of course).  Same thing as before, do your research and see if this will work for you.

Conclusion

Times are changing and many professionals will be heeding the call to blog more often.  What we make of the experience and the process will ultimately be reflected in the content we create.  So, why not enjoy it!

Nathan Gist

PAR Director of Social Media Engagement
PER Production/Imaging Director
PER Afternoon Drive Host

Morality Radio vs. Gospel-Centered Radio

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gospel centered

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.

 

Brian Sanders

Positive Alternative Radio

Executive Vice-President

Reliability and Redundancy

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Reliability definition

The two words, “reliability” and “redundancy” are the key principals behind assuring that your radio station is broadcasting twenty-four hours per day.  Ideally, our radio stations would be on the air every second of every day but that is never physically possible.  However, there are many steps that can be taken and systems that can be built to reduce the amount of time off the air.

Reliability is measured by the amount of time “on the air” at your radio station.  For our radio stations, we want that number to be somewhere between 99.9% and 99.99% on the air.  That corresponds to between four and forty-four minutes of downtime on average per month.  99.9% is very good but 99.99% would be considered about the highest echelon of reliability that we can achieve.

We achieve redundancy through two different methods: having good quality equipment/systems that we can trust and building redundant backup systems to our main operations.

High quality equipment and systems is paramount to providing a high level of reliability.  To do so, we must invest in equipment that is robust and not prone to failures.  Equipment and systems that are prone to failure should be replaced with improved systems or redundant backup systems.  High quality equipment in the main air chain of the radio station should be business class quality and not consumer grade.

Redundancy is the next step to providing a high level of reliability for your radio station.  Redundancy systems at the radio station will increase your reliability by providing an alternate system to your normal operations, to compensate for a failure.  One common example is an emergency standby generator at your studio or transmitter site.  A generator system will monitor your power provided by the power company and in the event of a failure, it will start the generator.  The generator will provide an alternate source of electrical power to your location until the power company can restore service.

In addition to backup generators, there are many other systems that can be built to increase reliability through redundancy to your radio station:

a)      Backup studios in which to broadcast in the event of a major failure in your main studio

b)      Backup programming on CD or computer that can be played in the event of an automation computer failure

c)       An auxiliary broadcast antenna and/or transmitter site in the event of a major failure at your main transmitter site

d)      Backup transmitter at your main transmitter site in the event of a failure on your broadcast transmitter

e)      Alternate signal delivery methods from the studio to your transmitter site such as an Internet backup to your microwave audio delivery, satellite or telephone line

f)       Audio switchers in your studios that can bypass a console or piece of equipment in the event of a broadcast console failure

All of these systems have the same purpose — to keep you on the air.  These systems can seamlessly and automatically switch to backup systems in the event of a failure which will greatly reduce the amount of time off the air and improve your reliability.

David Hodges, Director of Engineering
Positive Alternative Radio

Why We Choose to Grow Organically

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Mountain-Man-Banner5

When first starting out in social media it’s easy to look at the “pros” and wonder how they do it.  Then, after staring at the mountain of media, we take our first steps;

  • We create a profile
  • We start to “Like” other pages in our industry
  • We begin adding content
  • We comment on other posts

After the initial excitement wanes, we begin to wonder why it’s taking so long for our likes to grow.

Certainly, this is not a Facebook only problem, it reaches across just about every social media platform from Twitter to Instagram, but for the sake of this article we’ll stick with Facebook.

So…

There’s gotta be a better way!

We’ve all seen ads that read something like this: “Guaranteed Facebook Likes” or “Get More Likes Fast”.

Buy-Facebook-Likes

Despite the advertisers “best intentions” for your company, or small business there’s always the nagging thought of “is this legit”?

When hiring an outside source to help build up “Likes” on your Facebook page or any other social media platform, here are some things to consider;

  • Many of these “Likes” come from fake user accounts
  • Some programs deceive users into liking pages through false actions, such as clicking on a video or article.
  • Some intermediary companies literally pay people to “Like” pages on Facebook
  • Facebook is now deleting fake “Likes”

Now think about this, you’ve spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars learning your demographic and target audience.  For example the target demo for Positive Hits PER is a 30-35 year old mother of 2 who lives in northern or central Virginia.  When you purchase “likes” or systems that promise to deliver a huge audience you have to consider who they are, and where their coming from.

If I purchased a 1,000 or 10,000 “Likes” on Facebook and they’re not within PER’s listening audience, and they’re mostly older or younger men, then I have wasted my money.

Also, when it come to these quick “Like” programs there is no relationship built, no connection made, and no telling if the audience you picked up even knows if they’ve ‘Liked” you.

Finally, purchasing “likes” may end up costing you money in the long run.  Prime example, if you try and engage with your audience through a “boosted post” or Facebook ad you are essentially paying Facebook money to promote to a fake audience.

Try explaining that to cooperate!

Organic Growth 

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Organic growth is growth that comes from a company’s existing businesses, as opposed to growth that comes from buying new businesses.”

Growing your brand organically is a much slower process, but it brings a massive advantage when it comes to audience engagement.

Such as;

  • Audience rapport with the brand.
  • The audience’s expectations of the kind of content you’ll be posting
  • Your audience is more likely to comment, share, or like your post

Think tortoise not hare!

Grow your audience through posts that connect, conversations that inspire and inform, and show that you are more than just simply another brand.  Become a friend!

In closing, organic takes time, and your numbers may look low, but ultimately, the relationships you build and the content you share will give you the win!

Be Blessed!

Nathan Gist

PAR Director of Social Media Engagement
PER Production/Imaging Director
PER Afternoon Drive Host

Pictures Tell a Story

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pictures worth a 1000 words

“A picture’s worth a thousand words…”

When you get home tonight, look around your house at the many pictures you have hung up.  If you are at your desk right now, look around at the pictures of your friends and family.

Those pictures tell a story.

They tell of family vacations, graduations, a loving union, a birth of a child, etc. Whatever the picture is, it says something to you. A picture conveys much more than you could ever say in words.

As humans, we are visual creatures. We like to look on the beauty of what God has created, and we want to somehow capture it.  In a picture, something right in front of us, we’re able to keep seeing it.

So human beings love to take pictures and look at them… what does that have to do with our websites? EVERYTHING!

When someone visits your website, your home online, you have the opportunity to grab their attention. But you have a short period of time to do that and limited space too. So what is the most effective way to get them to buy into your web presence?

Pictures and graphics!

What kind of pictures should I post?

The message in the picture should match the message you are trying to get across. Recently, our Spirit FM team hosted diaper drives for several local pregnancy centers. Instead of using a banner with simple text on it, we used a picture of a mom and a baby. This picture set the tone for our drives, related to the lives of our listeners and told a story that spoke volumes.

What did the picture of the mom and the baby say?

  1. Your donation is helping moms care for their babies.
  2. Remember what it was like to have little ones?
  3. Remember how much diapers cost?
  4. You could be a blessing to this young mom.
  5. There is no greater love you can give a mom than to help her take care of her baby.
  6. You’re helping a mom say yes to life.

To each person that picture said something different, something we could have never conveyed in words alone.

When choosing a picture for your website or social media:

  1. Make sure it tells a story.
  2. Make sure it fits the tone of your printed words.
  3. Make sure you have a high quality picture.  It should be clear, not grainy, and it should fit correctly physically, etc.
  4. Make sure they fit your stations demographic.  Just like we analyze on-air breaks and how they could relate to “her” better, do the same thing before posting a graphic.  Make sure it’s something that would connect with her.
  5. Make sure it fits your stations story.  Every word spoken on-air, every status on Facebook, every graphic on the website is a continuation of your stations story.  Make sure the graphics continue that story!

As radio stations, we are always thinking about the on-air product but sometimes forget about the other media we produce.  Remember your website is a part of your station, it’s a representation of it.  Graphics play a huge role in the success of your website, so pick wisely!!!

~Colleen Larkins

Assistant Manager Spirit FM, PAR website coordinator

Being FCC Friendly

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FCC logo

Every station is required to serve the public they are licensed to.  This requires special programming that is beneficial to and serves our community’s interests.  At the end of every quarter, we are required to fill out a report that shows we have effectively fulfilled our public issues requirements. Here are some things you can do to fulfill those requirements and things that you may be doing, that really don’t count:

The easiest way to show you are meeting the needs of your community:

  • By doing a half-hour issues oriented program every weekend.  It’s as simple as interviewing your mayor, economic development director, Chamber director or any non-profit organization that is having a positive impact on your community.
  • You can also use any remotes where you are interviewing non-profit organizations that are benefiting the community.  If you were at a Red Cross event to raise funds for families whose homes have been burned down, that would count.

What doesn’t count?

  • Church programs.  This was something that stations used to do all the time on Sunday mornings to fulfill their requirements.  However, it was later ruled that church programs are too limited in terms of fulfilling the needs of the entire community.
  • If you’re airing a one minute “health tip” or “family minute”, that doesn’t count either.  The feeling is that you can’t adequately cover/discuss a topic of local interest in just a minute.  The program needs to be at least ten minutes in length for consideration.

How much time should you devote to public issues every quarter?  You should do at a minimum, 10 hours of issues programming.  If you air a half hour program on Saturday and repeat that program on Sunday morning that would be one hour per week.  Over the course of three months, you will have at least 12 hours of issues-oriented programming. It’s that simple.

Programmers have a hard time breaking format to provide this programming but remember this isn’t a choice you get to make.  It’s a requirement of the FCC.  An hour interruption each week in your typical programming is far less painful than an FCC fine.

One final note on your public issues report: make sure it’s filed no later than the 10th day after the quarter is completed.  This means your report should be in your public file no later than April 10th, July 10th, October 10th and January 10th (for 4th quarter of the prior year).

 

Dan Franks

Joy FM General Manager