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Radio Interview

                                     

Jeremiah Beck

Station Manager

WIBI

Carlinville, IL

 

 

Jeremiah's Career Capsule
I grew up a farm kid.  I worked in a chocolate factory after school.  I did construction, and then sold insurance over the phone when I was bitten by the radio bug in 1998.  I begged for a job at any radio station I could find until one hired me to operate the board for Milwaukee Brewers games.  I’ve programmed News/Talk, Sports/Talk, A/C and Christian A/C.  In between I’ve run my own business, dabbled at writing fiction and non-fiction, sold advertising, hosted talk shows and landed at Family Friendly WIBI in 2005.  I became Station Manager in January of the following year.  My wife Teka, daughter Abby and English Springer Spaniel Sadie are my hobbies.  I like long walks on the beach and music from the early ‘90s.



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

I continually look to remind myself that my identity is not in the accomplishment or an accolade, but instead comes from trying to follow Christ.  I’m a broadcaster and manager who’s been called to serve at WIBI for this season and for these listeners.  John 6 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible – Jesus turning to Peter as He watched hundreds of people walk away from following Him and asks “are you going to leave too?”  Peter replied, “Where else can I go?”  As broadcasters who love God, our whole life (family, “the business,” friendship, community) is ministry.

In the same vein, before I was saved, I had a perception that maybe some Christians were lazy and not concerned with high standards.  I think it is ministry minded to give your all and strive for excellence.  A sign in a Church I saw once has become an axiom I think of from time to time:  “Don’t expect God to anoint your second best effort.”

 

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

I’ve only been in Christian Radio for three years, and was a casual listener before that.  From everything I read, it would seem that the adoption of many of the tools used by secular radio to build audiences has been incorporated, along with some exceptionally ground breaking ideas on how to communicate faith on the air without sounding like a Clanging Cymbal. 

 

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

Vision.  Belief in the mission.  Passion for people (inside and outside of your walls.)  Willingness to admit your mistakes.  Uncompromised commitment to excellence. 

 

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

How can I share these secrets when I know my team might very well be reading this?  Seriously, my staff has proven largely self-motivated.  That passion and drive to excel comes from their belief that God has called them to serve at WIBI, coupled with a creative, healthily obsessive, perfectionist streak that any Manager would love.  I have the greatest staff that I’ve ever worked with in radio.  There’s not many of us at WIBI and we’re all working very, very hard to do our best.

 

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

The ones that involve your listener and include them in something experiential that only your station can offer, while connecting each participant to simply and effectively join in meaningful ministry are often the most successful for us.  And they had better be fun and personal.

 

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

Since our Network Music Director Joe Buchanan handles this for me and I have been removed from it for a few years, any observations I might have would be ill informed.  I would like to identify that INO Records has consistently proven to be a valued partner in unique, generous and creative ways.

 

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

The items I often see listed as obstacles are many times opportunities without a fully realized action plan.  Lack of funding is always a challenge – but am I doing all I can to build relationships with my donors, making the case for support year around and developing a large donor program?  Lack of awareness is a challenge – but am I using proven Pyromarketing techniques to reach new listeners?  HD, social networking, new technology … all very confusing and daunting – but am I doing my homework and prayerfully asking for wisdom? I see potential obstacles in governmental regulation of broadcasting in general.  Potential requirements pertaining to localism on the horizon, licensing fees that are cost prohibitive, and confining regulations regarding fundraising for worthy Third Party Ministries are all challenges, but even these can be overcome.

The only true obstacle:  there is never enough time to do all the things I would like to do.

 

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

Everyone has their own style, and I think there is a place for a lot of different approaches to creating a show based on your own unique personality – but for me – the main objective has been to openly and candidly live my life alongside my listener… to talk about my hopes, fears, mistakes, dreams, experiences, opinions and then ask them what’s going on in their world.

 

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

I see a fair number of great stations nationwide doing unique things, but I would have to reserve the term “innovative” for my friend Mike Schlote formerly of Pulse 99.5 in Iowa.  Their efforts to reach a CHR audience with a secular / Christian music mix, offer perspective on culture that wasn’t demonstrably and reflexively negative, (in fact it was engaging, funny and compelling – what a concept!) use all available technologies and yet not compromise the truth of the Gospel was a fascinating effort at innovation.

 

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

Nationwide there are several stations doing an amazing job connecting with their listeners, pulling together ministry focused and engaging promotions, investigating and implementing the latest research tools to better understand the audience and studying the latest technology to see how radio might best exist in every area that the target might live.  Because I believe in the format, and I’ve taken phone calls and read emails from people who God has touched using our station and stations just like WIBI, I see Christian radio THRIVING.  We’re offering something to people that they don’t get very often:  authentic, entertaining friendship and a place that people can connect with God for a few moments in the middle of their busy life.  I think from time to time, it is important to remember that we were never God’s back up plan.  We’ve always been the way He chose to reach others for The Kingdom.  As long as we know why we’re doing this and for Whom – Christian Radio will be broadcasting in different incarnations until the Trumpet Sounds.

  

 

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