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Feature Interview

Brian Sanders

Executive Vice President

Positive Alternative Radio

Blacksburg, VA

To contact Brian click here


Brian's Career Capsule

1984-1986:  KRRP Radio, Coushatta, Louisiana – Afternoon drive / Saturday AM Host
1990 – 1991: WBSN, New Orleans, Louisiana – Overnight host
1991 – 2004: WBSN, New Orleans, Louisiana – Director of Development
2004- 2007: Positive Radio Group, Blacksburg, VA – Group Manager of several commercial frequencies
2007 – 2009: Positive Alternative Radio, WXRI, Winston-Salem, NC – General Manager
2010 – 2011: Positive Alternative Radio, Blacksburg, VA -  V.P. of Operations
2011 – Present: Positive Alternative Radio, Blacksburg, VA – Executive V.P.


1. Tell us about the new blog, , what is the inspiration to launch it, etc etc...

First, thanks for the invitation to answer some questions.  The opportunity is appreciated. 

Regarding the blog, this is something PAR (Positive Alternative Radio) has actually been working on for 4-5 months.  The blog is a natural extension of our vision statement to be the standard of all Christian Media.  If the blog can help other local Christian radio stations compete, gain market share, increase income, build leaders, and assist with community engagement then we will have fulfilled a major goal.

Also, recent events within our industry forced our hand to publish the blog now.   Instead of conversations happening in closed rooms with hands wringing with worry, let’s get all the brains in the game and have a discussion that could benefit us.

We plan to have that discussion at .


2. What is the best programming advice you’ve been given?  The worst?

I will beg some grace on this question.  I’m not a programmer.  I’m a leader. 

The best leadership advice I have ever been given came from my Dad.  It wasn’t a phrase or a statement he made.  I had to be in 8th grade.  A kid in the neighborhood named Jeff Chambers had beaten the snot out of me.  I rolled up at home and told Dad what had happened.  What did Dad do?  He said, “I want you to go back to his house, knock on his door, and when he comes to the door…take the fight to him.” 

I went to Chambers’ house.  Knocked on the door.  Jeff came to the door…and beat the snot out of me again.  That’s a true story.

Looking back, what did that teach me?  Dad was teaching me that life would knock me down.  I have to get up and fight back.   Even if I lose the second time, I must get back up and go at it again. 

As a leader, I have failed numerous times.  You could fill a book with the stupid decisions I have made.  But, with the grace of God, I got back up – and went at it again.  I don’t believe in quitting.

The worst leadership advice I have ever been given?  Sheesh.  I try to forget bad advice.  With that said, the worst advice I was ever given was to give up.  Just walk away.  I couldn’t do that.  Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t.


3. Regarding your career, what accomplishment are you most proud of?

In all honesty, I’m not comfortable in answering that question.   I’d rather be judged by the entirety of my career instead of just a slice of it.  Second, I’d rather those who serve with me answer that.  They could give a much more objective answer.


4. What is one thing you must have to do your job everyday? 

The grace of God.  Seriously, none of us are perfect.  We’re imperfect leaders leading imperfect teams.  That’s a recipe for a mess.  I need the grace of God because of my own brokenness, and I need His grace as I try to lead others in the midst of their own brokenness. 


5. Where will future Christian Radio talent come from?

I’m really not worried about the talent pool.   Talented, real, innovative storytellers are out there.  The number of people who have blogs and share stories tells me we have no shortage of talent.  We may have to coach them on how to craft those stories for radio but that’s what makes the leadership job fulfilling. 


6. Do you feel syndication is good or bad for Christian radio?

I can’t speak for the industry.  It’s up to the local Christian radio manager / operator to figure out if syndication is right.  

For us at PAR, our first preference is local talent creating experiences for our listeners and donors.   Our local talent is part of our corporate culture.  They’re excited.  Passionate.  They believe the mission.  I believe that culture gives the talent the framework through which they do their jobs.  When a local talent goes on the air, they know their purpose is to create an experience to inspire someone to live passionately for Jesus.  I also believe local talent being a part of our corporate culture gives us an edge.  If you listen closely, you can hear the passion and the belief.

Syndicated programs and talent have no interaction with our mission, vision and corporate culture.  They’re just piped in.  We hope they share our same values but what’s missing is that spark of inspiration that comes from being part of a local team that is sharing in a common mission and vision.

With all that said, we have some young stations that rely on syndication for certain dayparts.  Our goal is to grow those teams with team members who share in our corporate culture.


7. Generally speaking, what are the biggest obstacles for local Christian radio and what are some ways to overcome them?

There’s a loaded question.  One of PAR’s trademarks is that we practice candor in our work environments.  So – allow me to practice some candor.

Local Christian radio has a leadership problem.  There’s a huge disconnect between the Board and station management.  Station management doesn’t walk the halls and inspire the team in the building.   The team in the building feels defeated and uninspired.  We must coach and equip leaders.  We must invest in our future leaders and give them the experience and knowledge to serve their teams with passion and resilience. 

Local Christian radio fears having to compete…and this absolutely amazes me.  Somewhere along the way, we bought the lie that competing is unchristian.  Whether we want to realize it or not – every other format on the dial is competing against us. Every app on the smartphone screen is competing against us.  Every television show is competing against us.  Why aren’t we stoking the fire in our people to compete?  The more ears we can win will give us the opportunity to win a heart for the gospel.

There are major networks in our industry that aren’t afraid to compete.  They are advancing.  Instead of local Christian radio complaining about it…let’s compete!  If local Christian radio is to have a future it will have to adopt a philosophy that it’s healthy to compete and winning is good. 

Thanks for the opportunity and I’d like to invite everyone to visit our blog at  You might find the most recent post a little enlightening.  Let’s get this discussion started!!!!




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