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Feature Interview

Rick Snavely

CEO/Radio Network Manager

Family Life

Bath, NY

To contact Rick click here


Rick's Career Capsule

I started working at Family Life in 1976.  Radio never came along until 1983 with the construction of our flagship station WCIK.  We had no one on staff at that point that had any radio experience, so many hours were spent just trying to learn what was needed.  Looking back on those days leaves me to believe that only God knew what was in store for the future, because we had no clue!  I took on the responsibilities of program director, music director, public relations, and even did on-air work.  As the Lord allowed the ministry to grow, the budget also grew allowing us to hire additional help.  Eventually I ended up handling the role of General Manager.  Twelve years ago, the Board of Directors asked me to succeed my father as President/CEO over the entire ministry.


1. Tell us whatís new at Family Life?

Family Life is more than just a radio ministry and thatís what keeps things busy and interesting all the time.  The radio outreach continues to grow within the geographic reach that we have targeted.  Enhancing coverage in those areas has been our major focus this past year by utilizing the leasing of HD side channels to increase our coverage in some of the bigger markets where we have translators.  The Performing Arts and Biblical Counseling departments at Family Life are exploding as they reach thousands of people each year.  Itís a great combination of having a daily presence through radio and a face-to-face presence as a result of the other aspects of the ministry.  We are truly experiencing the blessing of the Lord!


2. How has Family Life evolved over the years?

The ministry started in 1957 as a Youth for Christ program.  For the first two decades its primary focused was reaching teens through Saturday night rallies, Campus Life clubs, and summer camps.  In the late 70s we began to look at expanding the outreach to include adults and families and then in 1983 radio came on the scene.  Today we continue to reach young people but with different means through performing arts.  The radio outreach has grown to include about 70 signals across New York and Pennsylvania and a Biblical Counseling department has grown in helping to oversee dozens of groups across the entire radio listening area.


3. Currently you have a few staff openings.  Tell us about those and what youíre looking for?

We have an opening for a Director of Radio Operations, a position that will primarily focus on programming and overseeing every aspect of the radio ministry.  We are also looking to fill a morning show co-host position as we recently lost one of our female on-air personality.  At Family Life, ministry is at the center of all we do so the type of people that would join this team would not only have to have the skills to perform the job responsibilities, but also have a deep passion for the Lord.  I spoke with a listener just the other day who commented that ďyou can tell that Family Life people love Jesus!Ē  When a personís heart is right with God, and when that person has a passion to use the skills that He has gifted them with, itís an incredible combination that makes ministry possible.


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

I read a book recently by Crawford Lorritts where he stated the truth that we as leaders have to come to grips with the fact that we are totally inadequate to accomplish anything without the Lord.  But itís the Lord who desires to do His work through us.  I am extremely grateful that He has allowed me to part of His work at Family Life and for the privilege of watching Him use the skills He given me to help grow the ministry in reaching more people.


5. What is the one big thing that you must have to do your job every day?

Thatís a simple answer Ė the blessing and presence of the Lord!  I recently was laid up with back surgery and during the recuperation period I was overwhelmed by His presence.  That is something I desire more every day because I know when Iím walking close to Him, it is the Lord who gives me strength, guidance, and creative ideas.  There are times when an idea pops into my head that is way beyond me, and I know it showed up because Iím walking in Godís presence!


6. Where will future air talent come from?

In staff meeting the other day I asked how many on the team started off as interns at Family Life.  I was amazed at the number of hands that went up.  I believe that pouring ourselves into young people has tremendous benefits for the future.  Of course none of them start at the top, but having that support system always coming along is a great blessing.  I also look with interest at the number of long-time secular radio people who desire greater significance in their lives by working in Christian radio.


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

At Family Life we have made the decision that the radio outreach will go no further than what we can service on a personal level.  If itís too far to go to host a concert, put on a stage production, or connect personally with people, then we lose our effectiveness in serving the listening audience.  Syndication runs a precarious risk of being so generic that little personal connection can be made.  At the same time, I believe there are some dayparts that can be served through distant voice-tracking that helps with budgetary constraints.


8. Who are your radio heroes and influences?  And why?

My hero is my father who just turned 83.  Though he probably doesnít have a ďbig nameĒ in radio, he has been such an inspiration for many reasons.  My father started this ministry 57 years ago.  He was excellent in so many things, and as a result he was always being contacted by other ministries to move and direct those ministries.  Such invitations meant bigger markets and a bigger paycheck.  As a family, we would sit around the table and pray about these offers.  Dadís response always ended up the same.  ďGod led us here and this is where we need to be.Ē  I know that the Lordís blessing is our greatest wealth, but I also know that He blesses faithfulness.  We are asked all the time how something of this magnitude happened in tiny Bath, NY.  I truly believe that itís a result of a faithful servant whom God chose to bless.  I tell the staff all the time that we are reaping the benefits on such faithfulness.  If I can be half the man that my father is, Iíve accomplished a lot in life!





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