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Radio Interview

                                     

Darcie Schwartz

Publicity Director

Family Life Network

Bath, NY

 

 

Darcie's Career Capsule
I recently joined Family Life Network (FLN) as Publicity Director.  In this role, I lead development and execution of media relations activities of the ministry.  I also coordinate and write various internal and external communications.  Prior to joining FLN, I held a brief stint as marketing manager for Carestream Health in Rochester, NY.  In 2004, I worked as a public relations account exective at Buck & Pulleyn, Inc.—an advertising firm located in Upstate New York.  There I created public relations campaigns for global clients such as Eastman Kodak Company, Citizens Bank, and Johnson & Johnson.

 

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

My job is to keep FLN “in the news” which entails timely, consistent, and honest communications that generate awareness and build positive reputation.  So in that respect, yes, good publicity can help a grow a business, even if the results seem intangible.  

However, a quality product drives success more than anything else does.  A former boss of mine used to say, “You’re only as good as your product. The rest is just puffery.”  As a radio ministry, we’re in the business of communicating the amazing love of God to people in need of it.  Family Life is devoted to strengthening individuals and families through Christian-based radio broadcasting, educational programs, social outreach, counseling, and theatre.  What keeps us “in business” are the quality, integrity, and creativity of these services. 

If the goal is to gain publicity, putting clear, relevant, and well-timed messages in the media will get information in front people.  Make the package as palatable as possible – it’s important to digestion.  I take that part of my job very seriously.  The key to good marketing is showing people who you are and what you stand for in a matter of seconds.  Be concise.  Stand big for one thing—a branding concept that’s especially important in ministry, because as a Christian company, Christ is the one big thing.  He is the purpose of the work we do at Family Life.  That message should be unmistakable in all communications.  The trick is delivering the message in new and different ways to reach a changing world.

 

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

Christian radio differs in many ways from what it was five years ago.  First, Internet has given us great opportunity to increase our Web presence.  We’re continually adding content and interactive features to our Web site in order to provide listeners with more ministry options and better Christian entertainment.  There’s also more media competing for listener attention in today’s marketplace than there was five years ago – cable and satellite television, YouTube, iPods, and music downloads, to name a few.  The competition isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it stretches our ministry to think creatively.

 

3. What do you think are the main characteristics of today’s Christian radio Publicity Director?

First and foremost, every ministry worker should exemplify the love of Christ – no matter what title they carry.  We must love Jesus and His Word to be truly effective.  A seemingly obvious mandate, but so often blurred by crazy work schedules, and well … life.  The second characteristic is cultivating and maintaining a relationship with Him.  Without personally knowing Jesus, our desire to do his work will eventually fizzle.  And a passionless heart is not apt to win others.   

On a professional level, today’s publicity pro is ambitious and media savvy.  They’re up on Christian and secular news, and the issues driving each.   I feel most PR people have a good handle on conventional media, but may be intimidated by new forms of media such as podcasts, online networks, and blogging.  Understanding these cyber worlds are key to reaching younger generations.  Many publicity people don’t know enough about interactive media or how to reach it yet.

I also believe most PR professionals now working in Christian news arenas have come from secular workplaces, giving them a keen understanding of secular media and how to influence it.  Knowing how to slip under that “religious radar” with Christian messages is important to reaching a world of non-believers.  I feel experts in the field are conscious of this. 

 

4. What criteria do you require for promotion on your station? 

Family Life actively works with a variety of concert promoters, churches, and para-church ministries to promote Christ-honoring activities that will benefit our constituencies – adults, youth, singles, families – in both ministry and entertainment.  The promotion has to be relevant to our listeners, and of good quality and sound.  We often times seek to work in tandem with local churches and ministries like Kingdom Bound.

 

5. What kind of promotions work best for Christian radio?

The kind that represent your organization most accurately.  Don’t be something you’re not.  Whatever the promo method, your organization’s “look and feel” or “brand image” must be woven into the work.  Make it a part of everything you do.

 

6. How do you think Christian record labels can better serve Christian radio?  

Most labels work very well with radio in terms of providing artist content and offering promotional support when needed.  It’s definitely a two-way street.  I’d like to see labels work more seriously with new and developing artists rather than drop one single, and if it doesn’t “hit”, forget about the artist.  A longer-term marketing plan would help bring a more diverse range of artists to our listeners.

 

7. What are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio today? 

The only obstacles are letting ourselves be limited by small thinking and not taking big steps of faith to trust the Lord in his leading.

 

8. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian radio air personality? 

Be relevant.  Make what you say honest and relatable.  We are all image-bearers of Christ, correct?  So let’s be sure we’re putting His face forward.  In doing that, our work on the air will become an indispensable part of a listener’s day.

 

9. Where do you see Christian radio in five years? 

In order to remain relevant and competitive as a delivery system for Christian content, we’ll need to be at the top of our game.  That means providing quality content, programming, and on-air talent.  To achieve this, Christian radio must research and implement the most effective ways to communicate with listeners, making them feel like a part of the “family.”  Let’s not settle with “good enough.”  The Lord wants our best. 

 

 

 

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