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Brian Sanders
Positive Alternative Radio

Dear Christian Radio... Q&A




Since launching the blog, sending the press releases about PAR sponsoring CMB and offering free tuition to Liberty for all full-time team members – I’ve gotten questions.  Allow me to rephrase that…I’ve gotten a ton of questions.


So, here are some of the top questions and the responses.   Maybe you’ll find one that can help you and your organization.


Q: You write about competition.  Do you really think there is a place for competition within Christian Radio?  I guess what I’m asking; do you think competing glorifies God?


A:  Yes.  Competing glorifies God.  Paul uses several sports metaphors in his letters from boxing to running a race and so on.  Theologian Wayne Grudem dedicates a whole chapter to competition in his book “Business for the Glory of God.”  Now that I’ve said that allow me to say this, we are to compete with integrity.  Especially for us, the end does not justify the means.  


For us, competing means delivering a better on-air product, creating experiences for listeners and donors that result in lifelong memories and creating a culture within the organization that is unmatched anywhere in the industry.   Doing those things gives our station an edge to win and they glorify God.


Q: Do you believe terrestrial radio has a future?  


A: I get this question weekly…at least.  Yes. Terrestrial radio has a future.  Ratings show it.  Continued donation growth to Christian radio proves it.  Some are trying to pit apps, online streaming and the digital dashboard against terrestrial radio.  Instead of seeing these things as threats that tear away market share, use these platforms to expand your brand.


For example, HBO was dead.   Yes, I’m referencing the TV network HBO in a blog about Christian radio.  Let the hate mail begin.   Anyway, HBO was dead.  All that HBO did was distribute content that others created and people paid for that.  Enter Red Box, iTunes, Netflix, and Google Play.  How could HBO survive?   Simple.  It began creating it’s own content in such programs as Entourage’ and the blockbuster Game of Thrones.  HBO ceased being your “father’s Chevrolet.”   Not only did HBO create it’s own content, but it embraced iTunes, Google Play and even made the series available for purchase in big box stores.     HBO used the competing platforms to expand its brand. 


If terrestrial radio is to have a future, especially Christian radio, we need to stop distributing content that is created by others and start creating our own.   At PAR, we’ve taken some giant steps in that direction but we still have more to take.


Q: Be honest.  This is just hype isn’t it.  PAR isn’t as great as the reports say it is.   Level with me.   What’s the real story?


A: Yes, I get this question.  When that question does come, I ask the person to call or email team members who have been here for longer than 5 years.   The result?  Everyone says it is real.


Yes, Positive Alternative Radio has gone through a massive transformation. 


Not only do we work hard at programming, fundraising, engagement but we pour resources into culture.    


As a leadership team, we have studied Starbucks, Apple, Google and Zappos.  Our goal is to create a culture where team members don’t just clock in but can’t wait to get to the office on Monday mornings.  


We celebrate our teams.  We invest in them.  But make no mistake.  We set high expectations and they work hard…very hard.


So, is PAR for real?  Yes.     Ask any of our team members; please do not take my work for it.


Q: What is the biggest threat to Christian radio?


A: We are.  Those of us who work in this industry are the biggest threat.   If we stop innovating and begin to “phone it in” – we hurt our format.   If we stop taking risks…if we stop pushing the envelope…if we stop asking our listener what she wants…    To put it simply, we hold our destiny in our hands.    



There are some of the top questions I get emailed on a weekly basis. 


The real question is this: What are your answers to these questions?  How will you lead your organization through these questions?


Are you leading your team to do their best?

Are you casting a vision that radio has a future?  By the way, your team needs to hear that.

Is your organization’s culture even on your radar?  What are you doing to create a passionate, vibrant and winning culture?

Have you identified your biggest threat?   How are you addressing it?


Want to continue the conversation?   Email me: 


Read more of our PAR blogs at


Brian is the Executive Vice President of Positive Alternative Radio in Blacksburg.

PAR has six brands which include Spirit FM in Lynchburg, VA; WCQR in Kingsport, TN; Positive Hits, WPER in Richmond/Fredericksburg, VA; Joy FM in Winston Salem, NC; Walk FM in Ashland, KY, Huntington,WV; and Joy FM in Union City, OH.



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