In the fall of 2001, Blue
Ridge Broadcastings’ WMIT/Black Mountain, NC began an evolution
into a regionally-focused contemporary radio ministry known as
106.9 the Light. Jim Kirkland joined the station as the PD to
lead the charge. He became General Manager four years later.
Then, in 2008, Jim assumed direction of all radio efforts of the
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, including BRB. He racks
up plenty of windshield time as he splits his time between
Charlotte and Asheville.
Jim logged twelve years as a programmer, OM and Regional PD with
experience in seven formats ranging from Oldies to Urban to
News/Talk at stations in Richmond, Memphis, Greenville, SC, and
Personally how do you keep the ministry in the “business”
It’s not enough to simply put
ministry first. It’s vital we remember it’s ministry…period. A
good rule of thumb is if the work begins to feel more like
“business”, it’s time to do some prayerful heart-searching with
the team. I gotta make a confession: I squirm every time I hear
the words “Christian radio industry”. What we do each day is
far, far more significant than what any industry does. Maybe it
was all the years in secular radio that adds perspective to what
a completely awesome privilege it is to be a part of what God
does through radio. Some tactical things to help keep ministry
first: pray daily as a team, for the listeners and each other.
Actively invite the listener to share their prayer requests, and
be sure to share listener comments with all the team of how God
used the station to impact their lives. The development folks
can share those, in turn, with those that provide for the
2. Overall, how is Christian radio different today, from 5 years
“eye contact” of programming content. Also the better grasp of
truly building relationships with donors as investors versus
simply asking for money. Of course, the upward trajectory of
internet and social media’s ability to touch lives is a huge
hallmark of the past few years.
3. What do you think are the main characteristics of a Christian
discernment, curiosity, humility, a healthy measure of
restlessness, a deliberate desire to lead in the manner the
Bible teaches, and above all, a commitment to pray continuously
for God’s leading.
4. What ways or methods do you think work best to keep your
communication, genuine concern from them as individuals and
their goals, regular communication, transparency, regular
communication, helping them maximize their talents and skills,
and…did I mention, regular communication.
5. What kind of promotions work best for Christian radio?
The same that
work for any radio station: ones that connect with what’s
important or of value to the listener, and are consistent with
the brand. Adding to that, ones that encourage people of their
potential to be the hands and feet of Christ to this world. Then
deliver all that with an ample dash of good ol’ Theater of the
6. How do you think Christian Record labels can better serve
Our GM, Alice
Knighten and OM and MD, Tom Greene and Matt Stockman, are in
better position to speak to this. But I do hope the label folks
always remind their powers-that-be of the elegantly simple and
powerfully beneficial relationship that exists between radio and
the recording industry. It would be tragic to see that
jeopardized by some desperate revenue model.
7. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing
Christian radio today?
The speed with
which we must stay attuned to the change of tastes and
preferences. That’s not so much an obstacle as a reality.
8. What do you believe is the primary role of the Christian
radio air personality?
To let their
real self shine through, warts and all, so to forge a bond
through common experiences with the listener. And to always have
that “something different” evident. And that difference being a
relationship with Christ. The disc jockey is dead. The listener
is the star. Long live the real communicators!
9. What (if any) Christian radio stations do you consider as
really innovative things emanating from all kinds of stations,
large and small. I’m consistently impressed by KSBJ and the WAY
10. Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
I’ve not been much of a crystal-ball gazer. Focus today
on your ministry’s calling and execute that with passion. Do
that consistently, and the next five years will likely take care