Ok, I’ll begin by pointing out the obvious. I’m one of the veterans in Christian radio, beginning my career in 1982.
In the 80’s and perhaps early 90’s it wasn’t uncommon to hear radio personalities sharing scripture, devotions and prayer time on the air on a regular basis and even perhaps during every air shift. We began to realize that it wasn’t our place to be preaching on the air and at times that is how it sounded, even though it was done with a good heart. As consultants began to encourage us to provide better programming, many stopped sharing scripture on the air, devotions and prayer time. In some cases the personalties were not allowed to talk about God, as we were told to “just let the songs do that.” I watched the pendulum swing from spiritual to very little spiritual content during that time.
As we entered the mid 90’s we changed to being “seeker friendly.” I never really got that way of thinking. Why? Listeners were smart, and they wouldn’t really tune into a Christian station thinking it was a top-40 station. A new listener came to a Christian station because they were searching for hope and the songs we played, provided that.
We live in a world where people need hope more than ever before. It’s evident from the comments you see in emails that come into your station, on social media, and during fundraisers. People are hurting and we have the hope they need! I don’t suggest we go back to preaching on the air but I do think it’s time to not be afraid of providing the hope people are looking for. Call me crazy but I think it’ ok to share a verse that provides hope or even praying quickly for a caller on the air when the right time comes. I know there is a balance in all of this but my encouragement would be to go deep with your listeners and really share the hope they are so desperately looking for.
I know, you are saying, “Bill what does this have to do with fundraising?” I’m so glad you asked. My answer is EVERYTHING!. As you connect at a deeper level and provide more hope, your listeners will continue to support you, even when the economy is tough. If you want to raise more, you have to be worth more. Providing hope doesn’t goes unnoticed with your listeners.
When the time is right, go deeper and become something they cannot live without.
Bill Scott is Chief Content Officer with Vidare Creative / www.VidareCreative.com. Contact Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org