Where it started
– In the beginning, never would I have dreamed that I would get
to go on this amazing journey and get to mix my passion for
music with ministry. I’m one of those that literally worked my
way up. That was God’s plan for me 26 years ago when I started
in the spring of 1984. I was offered a jock position on a new
Christian cable radio station in Quincy, IL. Was there a few
months before moving to Rockford, IL, and was offered a job at
WQFL. Moved again and was offered a job at 100,000 watt WVFJ in
Georgia. Was there for 3 years and God moved me to Ft. Wayne,
IN, in 1989 where I was offered a job at WLAB. I thought my life
was over moving from Atlanta to this place but God had a major
plan for my life. A journey of heartache and battles became a
victory of monumental proportions the past 21 years as I went
from announcer wearing many hats to forming a new company and
buying the station as CEO/President of STAR Educational Media
Network who owns STAR 88.3, WLAB.
1. Personally, how do you keep
the ministry in the “business”?
I can appreciate the need to keep
ministry and business in check when both need to be handled
effectively so the other can be accomplished. It’s something we
talk about often. Making it a consistent part of our
communications within our management team and on air staff keeps
us cognizant of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.
Sometimes we have to stop and ask if this event reaches lives
the way it’s suppose to or does the song we’re playing truly
have an impact that will bring hope & encouragement? But, we
can’t do ministry if we don’t handle our finances as good
stewards, so that balance has to be addressed daily and weekly.
2. What are the greatest
challenges STAR 88.3 has faced this past year & what can you
pass on to other stations from the process?
I think most of the industry is
aware that at this time last year we were fighting for our lives
as our ownership put us up for sale. We weren’t given the
opportunity to have first right of refusal or first opportunity
to hold onto the thing we’ve given our lives to. That was a
great heartache. We knew we could all be gone with the stroke
of a pen. I totally believed and we as a team believed that we
were called here to stay, grow and move forward and we had to
trust God for a miracle. The miracle did happen and we were able
to win the bid for the station and now we’re seeing God’s hand
of favor continue in a way we would have only dreamed about. My
word to others is this. NEVER give up! Never stop praying.
Never settle for less. Never stop dreaming big and never stop
being honorable to God in your life so that you might have favor
from the Lord in all things. It’s so much more exciting when the
battle is tough as you trust God to come through and your team
sees what God is capable of doing.
3. What ways or methods do you
think works best to keep your staff motivated?
I love this one because I love my
team. First, hire the right people. Second, get the people out
that are not the right person on the bus or in the right seat.
Make it clear what’s expected of each person. When one team
player becomes a cancer, it needs to be removed. That will
encourage & motivate other team players to keep growing when
they’re not suffering from the disease. It will affect everyone
around if there is a negative spirit. The other part is to
“love” on your team. Everyone needs to “hear” they’re doing a
great job to their face and in front of others. So important to
let them know how much I appreciate them in front of other team
players and in front of listeners and other business associates.
Another thing, I always have the birthday person pick a lunch,
we eat together, have a dessert, sing Happy Birthday and all
sign a card. Put it in writing at times too. Conversation in the
hallway is a great gift I believe. Asking how the family is,
praying for and with your team about their struggles and acting
like you care. I have more ideas if you want. Call me. :}
4. How do you balance your
position as GM/CEO/President and head of the company as far as
how you keep your focus, handle the responsibilities and lead by
First, I try to remember WHO put me
here. I didn’t campaign for this position, it was given to me by
God because He could see past my position and into the future
for greater things. I laugh if someone asks me if I’m the boss.
I pray I’m never the boss. I want to be the servant leader, the
visionary, the prayer warrior, the one that leads the team into
the battle as well as the confidante that will laugh with and
listen to those around me. Praying and talking with God
constantly keeps my focus. The Word is my strength.
5. In what ways has STAR 88.3
connected locally in your community?
Oh, how shall I count the ways? The
list is long & continues to grow as we reach out to our
community to come alongside many non-profit organizations so
that we can really connect with our listeners and their
families. We have to be cautious because we’ve established so
many wonderful relationships that we are invited to more events
than we can keep up with. We will do our best to participate if
at all possible while avoiding burnout among the team. We know
that it’s important to connect personally and not just talk
about it on the air. We love the person to person interaction.
We also create a few events each year that are just STAR 88.3
events like the Adoption Celebration, the Share The Love
Valentine’s Banquet, the Help A Neighbor Drive and Christmas
with Charis House. When you do things with excellence people
notice and want you to be a part of their event.
6. What do you think is one of
the most important things Christian radio can do to continue to
grow and be effective?
Be willing to change. I’ve seen too
many people in the industry (or heard the frustrations of others
working with these people) that think they don’t need a mentor,
guidance or a consultant in their journey of radio. Even if we
have some great success in one or all areas, we should never
think we’ve arrived. After 26 years in this business I still
need it and want to grow to be more effective.
7. How do you think Christian
radio should respond to the ever growing surge of technology and
being socially connected?
Well, I’m not a research expert or
computer genius (I have people that are) but I will tell you
it’s pretty obvious that if we don’t step up and get on board
with the changes we’ll get left behind. Christian radio should
be the best at everything we do in comparison to the secular
world. We’re not but have the opportunity to be if we put away
“it’s good enough” and press on to learn everything we can and
be on the forefront of expansion in the digital communication
world. We’re talking about it but it’s time to “do”. I’m
preaching to myself on this too.
I’m excited about our future if we
can stop being afraid of doing something new.
8. Do you think Christian radio has
a bright future and why do you feel that way?
Being in Christian radio can be the
most emotionally wounding type of radio if we can’t separate the
negative listener comments from the goals & purpose of what we
do. It’s important to hear from the people we serve but more
important to know why we serve, then it will be easier to handle
those tough times. That has nothing to do with numbers and
research for the future but how we wrap our minds around the
opportunity to touch lives will effect how we do what we do
which trickles down to being effective and being “here” in the
future. I love Christian radio! I believe that we have a vital
role in our society to stand strong and win in our local markets
so that we have earned the place to have a say about the music
we play and the message we share. We do have a bright future but
we do have to play the right music, say the right things between
songs, learn how to be more effective technically and continue
to tell the story.