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Feature Interview

Doc Burkhart

Manager Of Broadcast Operations


Vero Beach

To contact Doc click here


Doc's Career Capsule

Doc Burkhart has served as a pastor, church-planter, missionary and broadcaster.  His broadcast experience includes starting new Christian stations, new content development, digital programming and international shortwave.   His most previous assignment was serving four years as a missionary in the Asia/Pacific region, with an emphasis on new church development, Christian education and international broadcasting.  He recently joined the staff of TruNews/Flowing Streams as Manager of Broadcast Operations.


1. For those that may not know, what exactly is TruNews?

TruNews was launched by Rick Wiles in September 1998 in Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX. During the first nine months, Rick traveled across America speaking to audiences about the moral decline of the USA and its eventual consequences. In particular, he warned of an economic collapse and war on American soil if the nation continued to rebel against God’s commandments. He appeared as a guest on numerous radio and TV programs. A Dallas/Ft. Worth radio station suggested he start a radio program. The first broadcast was on May 24, 1999. The original name was America’s Hope. The message was simple: Jesus Christ is America’s only hope.

As Rick honed his skills as a “citizen reporter,” the radio program quickly became known for its coverage of important news not heard on mainstream news channels – and for Rick’s in-depth interviews of important newsmakers. The program was briefly titled American Freedom News. In time, it became obvious that Rick Wiles was the best source available for true news. The program’s name was changed to Trunews is 2004. The rest is history. Today, people around the world faithfully tune-in to Trunews every weeknight for news, information, and inspiration that they can’t find anywhere else.


2. How does working for TruNews differ from previous radio jobs?

At TruNews I have been able to use all of my previous experience in areas that I truly believe in: new program development, online content, and international shortwave radio. At the ministry we are reaching out with quality information in a variety of broadcast platforms, and we find it a daily challenge to adapt to the latest technology and broadcast opportunities. I love the fact that I am taking a powerful message, packaging it, and transmitting that message in a variety of broadcast opportunities. In short, I’m having fun!
I am very impressed with Rick Wiles and the ministry of TruNews and Flowing Streams in their vision, their concern for staff, accountability spiritually and financially to listeners, and love for the Lord. I am honored to be counted among the staff of this organization.


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

I can tell you what I am least proud of: my mistakes. It has taken a long time to finally learn the lessons of youth and inexperience. I think that we all can relate to that. However, the past seven years of my life have been times of immense change, spiritual renewal, and character development. It’s not enough to be ‘saved’; God has called us to be ‘world-changers’. If someone can be proud of the change Christ has done in my personal life in that time, and how that has impacted my career, then that would be it.


4. What is the one thing you need to do your job every day?

I need to be accountable. I have tools and technology in place that keep me accountable on a daily, weekly and monthly basis regarding all of our many projects. These same tools are used to help me effectively manage my staff and to relate to co-workers in our various joint projects. Some of the tech tools I use are BaseCamp, IFTTT, and SalesForce. Accountability, however, has more to do with a spiritual condition of submission rather than technology. Any personal management software is useless unless you are willing to learn to follow those in authority and allow God to develop leadership skills within you.


5. Where will future air talent come from?

I believe future air talent will come from the enormous talent pool of online broadcasters that are already creating content. We have recently added the talents of former podcasters and bloggers to our staff, individuals who have zero terrestrial radio experience. As an industry, we have to realize that our content channels are rapidly shifting away from traditional broadcast delivery vehicles. Unless we recognize, recruit and develop that talent, we will find ourselves short on that adaptation.


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

I am a fan of new content, aggressive content, compelling content, radical content. Syndication is only as good as the content. Most Christian radio programs play it safe, trying to find the largest audience, and aiming for the broadest possible reception. That model worked well in the past. The reality today is that when it comes to content, the consumer has a choice. They can listen or watch their favorite Christian programmer at their leisure, when they want, and how they want. In the present broadcast paradigm, new programmers can customize their content to specific content or genres. I think that this is great for Christian broadcasting, as it will allow us for find and develop new audiences. However, that process of transition will be a painful one, as we tend think in terms of traditional broadcast models.


7. Generally speaking to the industry, what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio today?

The biggest obstacles we face as broadcasters are our limited thinking, our dependence on assets, and our compromise of the core Gospel message. Regarding limited thinking, we need to recognize that the content we produce is not simply limited to a single broadcast transmission. Content can be repackaged, rebranded, reproduced and retransmitted through any number of digital outlets. Each piece of content we produce can take on a life of its own, and have impact far beyond its original purpose.

Regarding dependence on assets, as an industry we need to rethink what a radio station ‘is’. Is a radio station a tower with a transmitter, or is it an app on my smartphone? Why should I listen to my local Christian radio station when the one I really like in a city a thousand miles away I can listen to on an app in my car? Why should I invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy real estate, build a structure, and buy equipment when for the price of a used car I can create and distribute compelling content competitively with that terrestrial station? Why should I create studios that only allow me to create one channel of content when we have the technology to produce multiple channels reaching multiple audiences? I am not abandoning terrestrial radio, but I am asking this question: what ‘is’ a Christian radio station?

Ultimately, our biggest obstacle in Christian radio is our compromise of the Gospel message. The world is hungry and thirsty to hear compelling, life-changing content. Can we deliver that content? The Gospel is radical, but most of Christian radio is not. We need to ask ourselves daily if the content we are producing and transmitting is truly capable of confronting sin, and offering a dynamic solution to the problem of an eternal destiny without Christ. I guess that’s just the old-time preacher in me.


8. Who are your radio influences and why?

I have always respected and admired ‘builders’ and ‘creators’. In my radio experience, two people that shaped and influenced that in my own life are Michael Glinter and Bob Wilkins. They would find a radio property that others had written off, and see something special in that property. Anyone they spoke to was a potential broadcaster! Pastor Bob Rodgers of Word Broadcasting in Louisville expanded that concept to international dimensions for me. Carl DiMaria of Communicom taught me the importance of constant program development, and really, how to be a class act in radio. There are a lot of others who have influenced me as well, but these are the ones that really stand out.




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