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Radio Interview



Melissa Montana


STAR Educational Media Network, WLAB

Ft Wayne


To contact Melissa click here



Melissa's "Beautiful History"
Where it started Ė In the beginning, never would I have dreamed that I would get to go on this amazing journey and get to mix my passion for music with ministry. Iím one of those that literally worked my way up. That was Godís plan for me 26 years ago when I started in the spring of 1984.  I was offered a jock position on a new Christian cable radio station in Quincy, IL. Was there a few months before moving to Rockford, IL, and was offered a job at WQFL. Moved again and was offered a job at 100,000 watt WVFJ in Georgia. Was there for 3 years and God moved me to Ft. Wayne, IN, in 1989 where I was offered a job at WLAB. I thought my life was over moving from Atlanta to this place but God had a major plan for my life. A journey of heartache and battles became a victory of monumental proportions the past 21 years as I went from announcer wearing many hats to forming a new company and buying the station as CEO/President of STAR Educational Media Network who owns STAR 88.3, WLAB.


1. Personally, how do you keep the ministry in the ďbusinessĒ?

I can appreciate the need to keep ministry and business in check when both need to be handled effectively so the other can be accomplished. Itís something we talk about often. Making it a consistent part of our communications within our management team and on air staff keeps us cognizant of what weíre doing and why weíre doing it.  Sometimes we have to stop and ask if this event reaches lives the way itís suppose to or does the song weíre playing truly have an impact that will bring hope & encouragement? But, we canít do ministry if we donít handle our finances as good stewards, so that balance has to be addressed daily and weekly.


2. What are the greatest challenges STAR 88.3 has faced this past year & what can you pass on to other stations from the process? 

I think most of the industry is aware that at this time last year we were fighting for our lives as our ownership put us up for sale. We werenít given the opportunity to have first right of refusal or first opportunity to hold onto the thing weíve given our lives to.  That was a great heartache.  We knew we could all be gone with the stroke of a pen.  I totally believed and we as a team believed that we were called here to stay, grow and move forward and we had to trust God for a miracle. The miracle did happen and we were able to win the bid for the station and now weíre seeing Godís hand of favor continue in a way we would have only dreamed about. My word to others is this.  NEVER give up!  Never stop praying.  Never settle for less.  Never stop dreaming big and never stop being honorable to God in your life so that you might have favor from the Lord in all things. Itís so much more exciting when the battle is tough as you trust God to come through and your team sees what God is capable of doing.


3. What ways or methods do you think works best to keep your staff motivated? 

I love this one because I love my team. First, hire the right people. Second, get the people out that are not the right person on the bus or in the right seat. Make it clear whatís expected of each person. When one team player becomes a cancer, it needs to be removed.  That will encourage & motivate other team players to keep growing when theyíre not suffering from the disease. It will affect everyone around if there is a negative spirit. The other part is to ďloveĒ on your team. Everyone needs to ďhearĒ theyíre doing a great job to their face and in front of others.  So important to let them know how much I appreciate them in front of other team players and in front of listeners and other business associates. Another thing, I always have the birthday person pick a lunch, we eat together, have a dessert, sing Happy Birthday and all sign a card. Put it in writing at times too. Conversation in the hallway is a great gift I believe. Asking how the family is, praying for and with your team about their struggles and acting like you care. I have more ideas if you want.  Call me. :}


4. How do you balance your position as GM/CEO/President and head of the company as far as how you keep your focus, handle the responsibilities and lead by example? 

First, I try to remember WHO put me here. I didnít campaign for this position, it was given to me by God because He could see past my position and into the future for greater things. I laugh if someone asks me if Iím the boss.  I pray Iím never the boss.  I want to be the servant leader, the visionary, the prayer warrior, the one that leads the team into the battle as well as the confidante that will laugh with and listen to those around me. Praying and talking with God constantly keeps my focus. The Word is my strength.


5. In what ways has STAR 88.3 connected locally in your community?

Oh, how shall I count the ways? The list is long & continues to grow as we reach out to our community to come alongside many non-profit organizations so that we can really connect with our listeners and their families. We have to be cautious because weíve established so many wonderful relationships that we are invited to more events than we can keep up with.  We will do our best to participate if at all possible while avoiding burnout among the team.  We know that itís important to connect personally and not just talk about it on the air.  We love the person to person interaction. We also create a few events each year that are just STAR 88.3 events like the Adoption Celebration, the Share The Love Valentineís Banquet, the Help A Neighbor Drive and Christmas with Charis House. When you do things with excellence people notice and want you to be a part of their event.


6. What do you think is one of the most important things Christian radio can do to continue to grow and be effective?

Be willing to change. Iíve seen too many people in the industry (or heard the frustrations of others working with these people) that think they donít need a mentor, guidance or a consultant in their journey of radio.  Even if we have some great success in one or all areas, we should never think weíve arrived. After 26 years in this business I still need it and want to grow to be more effective.


7. How do you think Christian radio should respond to the ever growing surge of technology and being socially connected?

Well, Iím not a research expert or computer genius (I have people that are) but I will tell you itís pretty obvious that if we donít step up and get on board with the changes weíll get left behind. Christian radio should be the best at everything we do in comparison to the secular world.  Weíre not but have the opportunity to be if we put away ďitís good enoughĒ and press on to learn everything we can and be on the forefront of expansion in the digital communication world. Weíre talking about it but itís time to ďdoĒ. Iím preaching to myself on this too.

Iím excited about our future if we can stop being afraid of doing something new.


8. Do you think Christian radio has a bright future and why do you feel that way?

Being in Christian radio can be the most emotionally wounding type of radio if we canít separate the negative listener comments from the goals & purpose of what we do. Itís important to hear from the people we serve but more important to know why we serve, then it will be easier to handle those tough times. That has nothing to do with numbers and research for the future but how we wrap our minds around the opportunity to touch lives will effect how we do what we do which trickles down to being effective and being ďhereĒ in the future. I love Christian radio! I believe that we have a vital role in our society to stand strong and win in our local markets so that we have earned the place to have a say about the music we play and the message we share. We do have a bright future but we do have to play the right music, say the right things between songs, learn how to be more effective technically and continue to tell the story.




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