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Dusty Rhodes
Former with WAY MEDIA

Why I Left WAY FM




Why would I ever leave WAY-FM?  I mean, it’s known as one of the best organizations in our industry!  I enjoyed multiple opportunities to try and do different things; to be on-the-air, to be a General Manager, to launch a brand new radio station, to win 'station of the year,' to be a COO and help other General Managers launch their first station, to be the first person in Christian radio to hire John Frost and Alan Mason (and I could just stop with that one, couldn't I?), to try producing huge concerts in mainstream venues, to try annual mission trips, to hire some amazing people and then learn from them, to be a SVP, to participate in board meetings when major decisions were made, and to be given the responsibility to manage and grow the largest piece of our ministry's annual revenues, which just completed another record year of growth.  I had the proverbial corner office with windows, reserved parking space in the garage, a key to the executive washroom (just kidding on that last one - seriously, I'm kidding).  Truthfully nothing extravagant at all but you might agree that it sounds like a great gig.  It was.


There's actually a couple of things that mean more to me than what I just listed.  First, I was blessed to have a close 'front row seat' relationship with not just the President/CEO of this dynamic ministry but also a Founder, Bob Augsburg, and we remain friends.  As a man under his authority all those years at WAY-FM, Bob is responsible for trusting me with those wonderful opportunities to lead and manage what my teams accomplished, and I'm deeply grateful for that trust.  Second, working at WAY-FM was professionally but, most of all, personally fulfilling to me.  It's because years ago I chose to follow Jesus as a result of the eternal impact of this Christian music we are all a part of.  To work at a place which has over 3 million listeners and users depending on us each week, and to see God change their lives as He did mine, there are no words I can use to express what that meant to me.  Finally, the emails and phone calls of support from many of you have been very affirming.  In fact, many of the words people chose, unknown to them, were similar words I heard my dad's workplace peers use in describing him when he resigned from a job.  Hearing those same words from you was deeply meaningful to me.  Thank you.


I resigned from WAY-FM with no job nor prospects, on purpose.  So you might wonder, "there must be some dark secret to tell."  Hey, no place is perfect.  I wasn't at WAY-FM for over 22 years because it was all sunshine and roses and I always got my way!  Ha, no!  Hopefully we all learn to work with all kinds of people in all kinds of situations through all kinds of challenges at our own ministry or organization - together as one team.  Plus working at one place for over 20 years gives you certain traction, momentum and institutional perspective, 3 forces which help you work through those tougher times for the sake of the ministry's overall well-being.


As a father I have NEVER advised our daughters to resign the way I did, believe me!  They've always heard their dad say, "Don't leave a job until you have a job!"  Honestly, I believe I was called to WAY-FM.  So why ever leave what you were called to?  I’ve since learned the word “vocation” is rooted in the Latin for "voice."  Vocation is not a goal to be pursued.  It is a calling we hear.  This calling can manifest itself in one or more jobs over time.  In his book, "Let Your Life Speak," Parker Palmer describes it this way:  [a Vocation] is "not standards by which I 'must' live - but the standards by which I cannot help but live."  At WAY-FM we talked a lot internally about being real and authentic because, in that, we find integrity.  For myself I also want 'vocational integrity.'  I may be leaving a location, but I’m not leaving my vocation.


Listening for your vocation takes effort.  At the same time its also something which happens to you.  My choice to join WAY-FM in 1993 was a combination of both my efforts and outside factors happening to me I could not control.  And that is where I find myself again.  When I joined WAY-FM to launch  88.1 WAYF-FM  (WAY-FM/South Florida), I joined by faith when there was hardly enough money to pay me and no existing and successful venture to just step onto.  Today I'm also leaving WAY-FM by faith.  I'm not independently wealthy.  I still need to work.  But this time, I'd prefer not to run to the next big thing.  I want to pause and lean into Jesus as much as I can for His replenishment  - to take a breather, a time-out.  It's kinda like in agriculture - the wise farmer does not plant and reap every single year in the same acreage without a break.  Instead, he allows the land to replenish itself by resting, adding rich nutrients to the soil, so that after this rest, the land is ready to produce again.  Someday I will cross the finish line in my career, my marriage, my fatherhood and my life, and I want to finish strong in all of them.


I love WAY-FM and its Mission.  I love and miss many of those I served with in that ministry.  The reason I left WAY-FM was…it was time.  How do you know when its time to leave a place, especially in the midst of successes?  Sometimes there can be outside factors which force themselves upon you and cause you to change course unexpectedly (a birth, death, marriage, the economy, etc.)  But in the absence of those, when its down to you just trying to decide, why would anyone leave their successes and a great organization?  There's a plethora of books and articles with titles like "How To Know When To Quit Your Job."  You may find those helpful.  I can certainly recommend a short list of books which have been very helpful to me in sorting some of this out.


I never wanted to feel stuck at my job at WAY-FM.  I hope no one ever feels stuck at their job.  In light of eternity a 'job' isn't that important.  I don't have all this figured out.  I've made a lot of mistakes.  But I hope some of what I wrote here will help you to know when it may be your time (I guess your boss may hate me for writing that!).  It's really not about a job - it's about your vocation.  It's not about the money, the position, the influence, the corner office with the windows, or the key to the executive washroom (I'm still kidding about that last one!).  It comes down to what everything else comes down to.  You and Jesus, walking closely with Him, including in your job.  It's about your personal vocation, and living that part of your life with vocational integrity.


See you at Momentum!


Dusty Rhodes recently resigned from WAY-FM after serving for over 22 years first as General Manager of WAYF-FM/West Palm Beach Florida, then as Chief Operating Officer, and most recently as Senior Vice President / Chief Development Officer of WAY Media, Inc.  Prior to that Dusty was Morning Show Host/Operations Manager at Christian pioneer station WPIT-FM/Pittsburgh for 11 years, and Midday Show Host at mainstream Top-40 WCHV/Charlottesville, VA for 4 years.  He has been married to Irene for 35 years and together they have 3 grown daughters, a son-in-law and 1 grandson.  Dusty serves on the Board of Elders at their home church, Mountain Springs Church in Colorado Springs, CO. Dusty can be contacted at   719-963-7293.




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