I was in sixth grade the first time I ever called a radio station to request a song. That song was “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by the Charlie Daniels Band.
I’m not sure what appealed to me about the song. Perhaps it was the fiddles (Excuse me, I’m from the deep south. We call them fiddles…not violins). Perhaps it was the thought that the kid in the song actually beat the devil. Maybe I was mesmerized at the thought that the devil could actually play a fiddle.
Mom and Dad had this MASSIVE stereo system in the formal living room. That evening I had the system blaring. As the song ended the on air host ID’d the station, back announced the song and then said, “If there’s a song you want to hear, give me a call at……” I ran to the kitchen and dialed the number, he answered and I requested the song. His response?
“You kids are killing me. I just played the dang song and now you want to hear it again. My PD will roast my tail if I play it again this hour. I’m only allowed to play it once an hour. So – come back this same time next hour and I’ll play it for you. And oh yeah – kid…thanks for calling. I was wondering if people were even listening. You made my night. Thanks!”
It was a strange interaction. All I remember is that I had made the guy smile. This faceless voice that came through speakers in my parents living room and he played songs that I liked to hear. It didn’t matter if he was grumpy. He had a PD that was a little too uptight about the formatics (and that never happens does it?). What I remember is that the guy thanked me and I could “hear” him smile over the phone. By thanking me, I felt like a million bucks.
That was my first one on one interaction with a radio station and I’ll never forget it.
Two years ago my doctor said, “Mr. Sanders, we have found some cysts on your kidneys and we’re going to have run some more tests to see if they are cancerous.” I will never forget that. Never.
On the day of the test, I took my ear buds. In all honesty, I was scared to death. I sat in the waiting room listening to each of PAR’s radio brands for 5-10 minutes at a time. I heard hope. I was reminded that Jesus loved me. Jesus had solved my biggest problem, a broken relationship with God, at the cross so whatever would come of this test would pale in comparison.
The Lord used the stations I have the privilege to lead to encourage my heart.
Just a few days ago a gunman took the lives of two TV reporters doing a live broadcast. It happened our Spirit FM’s very own community. The station took call after call after call. Listeners called to pray, to cry and offer hope.
A fellow TV reporter said, “All morning I listened to Spirit FM. I couldn’t believe I was hearing the community pray for us. The songs reminded me that Jesus loved me and that God was with us.”
Those are three stories about radio that move me. This is how I’ve seen my #lifeonadial.
From country music, to sitting in a waiting room and then seeing a community offered hope – that’s life on a dial.
What are your stories?
How has Christian radio encouraged you? What’s that story?
How have you seen it impact a life of a listener? What’s that story?
That’s something we have in common.
These stories of encouragement and changed lives knit us together as an industry.
Let’s share our “life on a dial” stories. Why? Be honest, we need to be reminded of the power of the gospel and how He uses a microphone, some tunes and speakers.
To encourage you to write your story, we want to offer you a $50 gift card to either Starbucks or Amazon.
Simply go on twitter or Facebook, share your stories and attach the hashtag #lifeonadial to it. Hey – you can even email your story to me if you’d like at email@example.com.
During the week of CMB in Orlando, we’ll choose 10 winners to receive the gift cards.
Take 3 minutes. Write your #lifeonadial story. Who knows…you may encourage a fellow laborer in Christian radio who wonders if they’re making a difference. And shock of all shocks…you may encourage yourself.
For more information, visit our new website at www.parfm.com
Dear Christian Radio…we do life on a dial… and we’re proud of it.
Want to continue the conversation? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more of our PAR blogs at www.dearchristianradio.com
Brian is the Executive Vice President of Positive Alternative Radio in Blacksburg.
PAR has six brands which include Spirit FM in Lynchburg, VA; WCQR in Kingsport, TN; Positive Hits, WPER in Richmond/Fredericksburg, VA; Joy FM in Winston Salem, NC; Walk FM in Ashland, KY, Huntington,WV.