been at this radio thing for nearly 30 years and the expectation
level for radio has increased to an almost unbelievable level.
shift and personal appearance schedule was not uncommon then. Sure,
we had to record things on an ancient device known as a reel to reel
machine. Multi-track recording means recording several tracks at the
same time, which gave rise to audio aerobics. We ran a board live
with carts, reels and records.
forward to today. Most stations are dealing with a smaller staff and
higher expectations. Sometimes a live show is abandoned in favor of
voice tracking so staff members can manage duties such as website
development, video creation, and connecting with listeners via
social media. Radio is in need of graphic designers, promotions
talent, producers, programmers and sometimes one person manages
all these things.
new environment is the outgrowth of an online mentality. Your
listeners are used to information and entertainment on demand. They
don't want to see you fail, but they have high expectations. They
are aware that if you can't supply what they need they can acquire
what they want with a few clicks and keystrokes. These has bred an
environment of fickle loyalty, which means more work to keep
connected with listeners (both potential and actual).
Internet has opened up the world to a listener who throught they
were satisfied with hearing about life through what they heard on
your radio station. Strangely, once they get a taste for more they
don't want to go back to simply listening. They want a value added
experience. If you talk about a cute dog story you saw online they
want a link to join you there. If you talk about a new video from an
artist they will want to watch it. If you were at an event they want
to see the results. If you feature news they want to be able to
refer to it later online.
listeners also want to see you as approachable and human. Social
media like Facebook can make that happen, but staff members need to
be trained in what you determine to be appropriate and
innappropriate in staff postings. You will also need to determine if
you are willing to allow your staff to involve themselves in social
media while on the job. This will all come down to whether you
believe this is a tool that can help you achieve your goals or a
waste of a staff member's time.
look at box stores like Target. They didn't used to sell groceries
today they do. Stores are challenging the way they are perceived.
They are diversifying and offering more to their customers.
Sometimes the results are mixed, but they are intentional about
maintaining and growing a connection between their franchise and
the consumer. Blockbuster is an example of a business that was too
little, too late in this goal.
view ministry has to change, too. We should be ministry first and
radio second. How do we minister best? And where does radio fit into
that goal? Can we diversify into areas we have not been
traditionally known for? How does the Internet help or hinder what
we are doing in ministry? Is your vision for what you do willing to
grow beyond your region? Are you simply holding on hoping something
good happens soon? Or are you intentional about bringing your
ministry message to others in new ways?
are no easy answers to the transition that seems forced upon
Christian broadcasters, yet the greatest success stories are among
those saying, Where is the Lord working, and how do I plug what we
do into that work? This may mean connecting with other ministries
to reach a mutual goal.
Online, offline, and in line with His dream for you. Pray hard and
follow. He, too has higher expectations.
Hascall is station manager for KHYM and moderator of the Fellowship
of Christian Broadcasters email and Facebook forum. Winner of
multiple broadcasting awards including a Gold Addy, Telly Finalist
for documentary work as well as multiple state awards.