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Bruce Munsterman

President

KHCB

Houston

 

     

To contact Bruce click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bruce's Career Capsule
I came to know Jesus Christ as my Savior as child of 7 at a vacation Bible school at my church in Wheaton, Illinois.  My parents are solid Christians and raised myself and two brothers in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.”  I probably became interested in radio as I grew up listening to Moody Radio of the Moody Bible Institute.  The Lord granted the privilege to attend MBI’s  3 year program (which is all they offered at that time), finishing my radio and television degree at the University of  Houston.  While at Moody and at U of H, internship opportunities exposed me to drama production (MBI) and news reporting at the ABC o/o in Houston.  Also during the last year at U of H, I started volunteering at KHCB-FM helping to fill shifts on weeknights and weekends.  Volunteers are the cornerstone of the ministry and are still used today.  Upon graduation in 1978, KHCB graciously offered me a job as an announcer and producer.  My thoughts were to eventually go back to the Chicago area and serve in Christian radio there, but the Lord has had different plans and I was named president in the fall of 1991.

The KHCB ministry began in 1962 in Houston with one station (at 105.7FM.)  The ministry has always been non-commercial and does not sell time, sponsorships, or underwriting.  It has grown from the one station over the years, to more than 25 outlets, all are non-commercial.  The programming is a blend of teaching programs, drama, and music.  Also there is a Spanish network and the ministry broadcasts in Houston on its AM 1400 station in Chinese and Vietnamese.  The ministry is a bit unique in that there is no Share-a thon effort.  The financial need is made known through a “reading letters from listeners” program that states the need at the end.

 

1. Personally how do you keep the ministry in the “business”?

It is a challenge, maybe a struggle for anyone to keep ministry and business together.  Usually the ministry aspect is the easiest because that is what our calling is, ‘to meet needs.”  The difficulty arises when one is having to balance the ‘bottom line’ because of lack of funding and yet still meet needs.  Really, it is no different than what a church has to do.  All of us see need, want to do more but there is only so much supply.  I try and keep in mind that the Lord knows better than me what are the needs, and (this is the hard part) He might not use me or this ministry to fulfill that need, but may use someone else.  I have no brilliant insights, except it’s a constant struggle and we all need to keep before the Lord to make sure it is His direction and leading, not our impulse.  I suppose dealing with personnel issues at times is the most difficult since we are related to each other in the body of Christ.  It is never easy, and from what I’ve learned from other GM’s we all have the same struggles.  I appreciate conferences like NRB and other gatherings where you can visit with others and discuss the same issues that are before all of us, and hopefully learn some solutions.

 

2. Overall, how is Christian radio different today, from 5 years ago?

Christian radio has changed immensely in the last few years with the growth of the many networks.  Our small group has been able to expand with ‘unmanned’ stations and translators to some 25 outlets, but that pales in comparison to KLOVE, AFR, and MBN.  I am thankful to the Moody Broadcasting Network that pioneered the studio waiver from the FCC.  This wavier has allowed cost effective expansion of Christian radio to areas that previously had none or were under served.  However, all of us are warily watching as to how long this window will last. I am also thankful for the extension of the deadline for the new EAS and other requirements as “networks” have to invest in new equipment for all their stations.  To me, that is an unnecessary financial burden to the outreach of the Gospel, especially on a system that is suspect at best.   

 

3. What do you think are the main characteristics of a Christian radio GM?

As far as main characteristics of a GM, he or she has to keep ministry as the focus.  I understand the need to watch the numbers for ratings, but personally I think that can sometimes become an incorrect gauge.   I also think a GM should be a shepherd, first to his staff, volunteers, supporters and to the listeners.  My personal feeling is there is little difference between your work and that of a pastor of a church.  You may not know the names of all your ‘congregation’, but you still minister. 

Maintaining a sense of family amongst the staff is also a good goal.  As I mentioned before, that’s particularly hard when there are “personnel issues” with which to deal.  Most of all, lead by example, not by dictate.  I am constantly amazed at the leadership of Christ to his disciples.  He was patient, tolerant, and loyal, even when they weren’t.  I know I haven’t even begun to get it right, but hopefully I am striving in the right direction.

Finally, I would say a good characteristic is to be able to ascertain that you are keeping the ministry on its mission.  “Keeping the main thing the main thing” is a question GM’s have to ask constantly.  There are so many needs, it is easy to deviate and try and meet needs that are not part of your focus.  Asking the Lord for  discernment is a good daily prayer.

 

4. What ways or methods do you think work best to keep your staff motivated?

Keeping the staff motivated is not my primary job.  I’m old fashioned and believe your motivation comes from within and ultimately from the Lord.  This work is a calling, not a job.  Of course, Colossians 3 says that all of our work should be done as a calling of the Lord not just a paycheck to keep us off the foreclosure list.  If you don’t wake up interested in seeing how the Lord will use you today, then you might be in the wrong job.    No matter what your role at the ministry, all of it is vital and necessary and is ministry.  To me, it’s the whole idea of what Paul told the Corinthians, we are like a human body, and every part is integral and vital.  I know he was referring to the church, but the application is the same for any ministry.  Each of our staff is vital, whether you answer the phone, open the mail, do an air shift, or mow the lawn.  Hopefully one does not need special talks, incentives, etc., to stay motivated and to do a good job.  There is no greater incentive than to realize what Christ has done for us and His desire to use you. (2 Corinthians 5:14-21)

 

5. What is the overall mission of KHCB?

Our goal is to present to a general audience through electronic media, on a non- commercial primarily listener sponsored basis, Biblical truth with an emphasis on the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  That’s our mission statement and our guide to all we do.  Since there are many needs, and opportunities to meet those needs, this is a great measure to stay focused on our calling.

 

6. How do you connect with listeners in your local markets?

We are making a concerted effort to connect with local churches and pastors to try and develop relationships.  Sometimes we can offer broadcast time to pastors and ministry leaders to include short messages and or interviews about special events held in that locale.  We always try and announce anything special in a community whether it is a small Vacation Bible School in a church, or a city wide prayer/evangelistic rally.   Since we don’t charge for airtime it gives freedom to highlight small and large ministries alike. 

More than a year ago, we were able to acquire some newer equipment which makes it easier to host remotes in churches and non profit settings in the cities from which we broadcast.   The amazing technology of today allows us to plug into the church’s (hi-speed) internet and viola! we are sounding as good as a satellite link or the older RPU units we all used to rely on.  There is less equipment and that helps with the ease of setup, and for that matter lead time.  If we hear of something that we want to focus, we can get there even with little notice.  What is interesting to us, is not only the connection to the community from which the broadcast originates, but the comments from listeners in the other cities that are hearing the program, and how there is a sense of closeness and camaraderie with communities hundred of miles away as the testimonies and specials are aired.  It has been well received.

 

7. How does KHCB recruit volunteers?

Like a church, volunteers come from hearing of a need, but more often because another volunteer recruits them.  We do mention the need on the air, but usually someone gets interested because a current volunteer shares their experience and invites them to participate.  I guess it’s that biblical idea of one reaching one that reaches another one.

 

8. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio today?

Certainly making wise choices regarding the rapid changing technology is one of the biggest challenges coupled with funding the equipment for the changes.   I am still hesitant to invest in the HD technology.  Since the car manufacturers have not offered digital radios yet, I am reluctant to invest.  The idea is great, and would multiply the offerings one ministry could have, but until more people have easy access to receiving the transmission, it might have to wait.  

One onerous problem we all face is the higher costs and increasing reporting requirements forced on broadcasters for music licensing.  If this is not curbed with some favorable court rulings or legislation, it could easily force many of us to reconsider internet and other broadcasting opportunities. 

My other concern is that Christian radio would not fall away from giving the Truth of God’s Word.  It is the Word of God that changes lives, and as Romans 10:17 says, “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”  I hope that whether a station is music, or long form programs or a combination, that the spoken Word, (quoted by announcers, programmers, etc.) is heard often.  Sharing stories, personal testimonies, and the other are helpful, but nothing is as powerful as the Word of God.  Even Hebrews 4:12 says the Word of God is a sword that can touch the thoughts and intents of the heart!  Nothing I or any other announcer can say will ever be that penetrating, unless it is the Bible!  It is something we try and counsel our announcers to keep in mind. 

 

9. What (if any) Christian radio stations do you consider as innovators today?

I guess I’d like to think all of us are innovators.  Just like the need for more than one church in a community, no two radio stations are alike because each community can have a special characteristic and reach an audience.  All of us need to be creative and vigilant on how to reach people with the Gospel, and how to grow up believers in Christ.  You know your community, that’s where God put you and your staff.  With His leading you can be effective in your outreach and programming.  As I mentioned before, we are very thankful for the innovation of FCC attorney Jeff Southmayd, who helped Moody Bible Institute pioneer the studio waiver rules from the FCC.  That has lifted a huge burden for expanded outreach for all of us.

 

10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?

I am not a good predictor of trends.  But I do think there are and will be spiritual needs and Christian radio is one of the best tools to meet those needs.  I don’t know if the transmission of our signals will be via the “I-device”, the internet or just like we are doing today.  But, as the Lord said years ago, it is still true today: “the fields are white unto harvest.”   Radio is still the most cost effective way to reach a community with the Gospel.  There is nothing as personal and as accessible as radio.  Radio goes into a home, car, office, prison, or anywhere the signal can penetrate, and through the dissemination of the Word of God, touch a life for eternity. 

 

 

 

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