Christian Radio

This blog has been established to talk about Christian Radio (the industry) and to encourage those who are working in the industry. I would like to talk about news, music, programs and whatever else comes up. My goal is to get listeners and the professionals to talk about the issues to help make the ministry even better and stronger. Tell all you know about this blog.

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Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States

I'm the Executive Director of Mission Network News, a broadcast network servicing more than 900 radio stations in North America, New Zealand, Eucuador, Romania and Moldova

Friday, April 22, 2005

Is what they want what they need?

"Give 'em what they want" seems to be the mantra being sung by most Christian radio stations these days. It seems to be the case with almost every part of Christian radio these days. Unfortunately there's a flaw in this kind of thinking.

I understand giving them what they want is important to attract the listener to begin with, but there's much more to Christian radio than just giving listeners what they want. I know when I got to church I love the music. That part of the worship service in an important part of focusing on God. But, I also appreciate it when the pastor says something that truly ministers to me. In fact, I'd trade all the music for those wonderful words from the man who God called to be my pastor.

If someone we're to ask me, "what do you like about your church?" I would tell them that I like the music. I would probably tell them that I don't like hymns much, and the message would probably come last. But, then there are those times when I'm blessed incredibly by what I've heard. It was exactly what I NEEDED. It wasn't really what I wanted, but it was definitely needed and it was great.

I think Christian radio stations focus so much on the music, hoping the music keeps people listening. Unfortunately, they end up losing listeners because they need spiritual encouragement. While some song minister, do they really minister as much as God's spoken word? I'm not so sure.

But I know one thing, with more music and fewer programs, time spent listening is going down and Christian radio listeners are being treated more like a consumer than a family member. I miss the family feeling of Christian radio.

Monday, April 11, 2005

I was the interviewee

Well, I got to sit in the oposite seat over the weekend. Our NBC affiliate, WOOD-TV 8 called to ask if I would be willing to do an interview in response to the bombing that took the life of an 18-year-old West Michigan man. He was traveling across north Africa 'seeing the sites', but at the same time handing out medicines and sharing the Gospel when ever they could.

They ended up in Egypt where Alex was killed in a random terrorist bombing. Three others were injured. TV-8 wanted to know the dangers of sharing the Gospel around the world. He noticed we were here in West Michigan and called us.

His questions we all good. Mission Network News was shown in a good light. He used great video cuts, but he took one of my comments out of context and used it. I was telling him that many Christians around the world give their lives every day for sharing their faith. When I was in India, I asked those pastors how we could pray for them...'should we pray for your saftey?' They said, 'no we consider suffering for Jesus is a worth it...' Then I told the reporter that their battle cry was, Phil 1:27 "For me to live is Christ, to die is gain..." Well, he used that as a battle cry for these young men, of whom I had never meant. A bit of a bummer.

I guess reporters can't get everything right.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Poll results

The results of the web poll are in. They weren't surprising, but here are the results out of a little more than 1,000 votes cast.

When you listen to Christian radio, what causes you to tune away?

A. A song I don't like.
 [tally] 55%

B. To find more comprehensive news.
 [tally] 29%

C. I don't like the news.
 [tally] 2%

D. A long/short program.
 [tally] 14

Let's evaluate this a bit. When listeners listens to a Christian music radio station they want to hear their favorite songs. But, when they hear a song they don't like, they're more likely to tune away because of that song they don't like than for any other reason. What does that mean? Don't play a song they don't like or you've lost them.

The second reason people leave is to get more comprehensive news coverage. Nearly 30-percent of those people listening want more comprehensive news coverage. It doesn't make sense to me that music radio stations are cutting news coverage. Their listeners aren't asking for it. Most Christian radio listeners want news from Christian world-view. They're not saying they want less news, they're saying they want more of it.

And, it also doesn't make sense that Music radio stations are taking programming off the air because people are more apt to tune out because of a song than a program. If fact, if you talk to people who listen to Christian music radio, they often name not only their favorite songs, but also their favorite program.

Very few people said they didn't like the news.

In summary: If you work for a music radio station do a lot of surveying to make sure you're playing the right songs. Make sure your news is comprehensive coverage and don't drop Christian programming and make sure you don't drop the news. Ultimately you'll lose audience if you do.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

MNN update

I thought I would give you all an update on what's happening here at Mission Network News. We're in the middle of 2005-2006 budget time. We're in very good shape. I'd like to outline where we're heading in the next year, but before I do. I have an announcement to make.

MNN is in a new office! If you didn’t know, Mission Network News is a part of Cornerstone University. CU owns three radio stations; WAYK, WAYG, WCSG. It also owns a ministry called, His Kids Radio. And, it owns MNN. Our radio building is bursting at its seams. At any rate, we are now located in a portable unit. I'm not sure how long we'll be here, but it's comfortable and we're able to get a lot of work done because nobody comes out to visit us. :)

Back to planning for 2005-06. We will be making a major announcement about a partnership. This partnership will allow us to translate Mission Network News into another language (which I won't name right now). We'll be able to tell millions more Christians how they can get involved in reaching the lost for Christ. We're also working through a really next 2006 MNN calendar. This is one like none other, really. Well, maybe one other. We're also working through some other partnership issues that could allow us to expand our program offerings to radio stations around the world. It's really exciting around here. It's fun to see God at work.

The internet is also expanding. MNN online is now "podcasting". We also offer several RSS feeds. And, we continue providing resources there that are helping the church stay missions minded. We now have churches in 11 states who have subscribed to our church bulletin insert service. You can see a copy at our web site, MNNonline.org.

That's it for now.