Bill Thrasher Interview 8-12-19

Bill Thrasher
General Manager
Truth Network
Winston Salem

Career Capsule: I came to radio in 1988 after serving in the United States Marine Corps and managing several non-profit organizations.  My first job came at the invitation of Steve Williams, Owner and CEO of American Broadcasting of Texas.  Steve invited me to be his General Sales Manager.  My background in management, marketing, public relations and financial development was a plus in taking on this new role.  In 1999, Don Wildmon with American Family Radio recruited me to manage two new FM properties being developed in two adjacent markets in Texas.  In 2013, I was invited to Northern New England to manage a chain of twenty stations.  From New England, I headed next to Viva Las Vegas as General Manager of KWAVE Las Vegas, a change of three FM signals reaching metropolitan Las Vegas and the Interstate 15 corridor between Las Vegas and LA.

Currently, I am General Manager of two properties owned and operated by the Truth Network that serves Coastal Carolina from Fayetteville to Myrtle Beach and the I95 corridor between Florida and the Northeast. 

When you serve God you never know where he might take you in life and where your next assignment might be.  I have learned to trust him in these matters as he always knows what is best and what he is preparing me for in the future.

 

Bill, tell us what’s new – and changes with you?

What has changed, I hope, is that I am getting a little wiser and knowledgeable as I grow older.  After 31 years in the industry, I find myself still learning new areas and new ways of keeping the ship headed in the right direction.  What’s new is that in February my daughter gave birth to my first grandson.  What a blessing!

 

Christian radio has become very competitive.  What do you do to stand out from the crowd?

My philosophy is to lead and not to follow. Of course, this doesn’t always apply when smarter people come your way.  Life is competitive in every way and it’s no different in Christian radio.  We all can learn from each other, but the difference, is to stay ahead, and be devoted to being relevant, creative, responsive and giving stakeholders a sense of ownership. Getting people involved and letting them feel a part of an organization or movement is an essential element of achieving success. 

Personally, I’ve learned not to consider other Christian stations in the market as “competition” but as friends and colleagues serving on the same mission field.  While other stations may take some of your audience and advertisers or underwriters but do not view that as a setback but as a springboard to work harder and smarter.  As Waldo Emerson once noted, “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” 

Do what you do best:  Be local, be relevant, and to be real.  Nice voices are great, but sincere and caring hearts tell the audience you are real.  It’s not always the giant that wins the day but an unconquerable spirit that perseverance no matter what.  Don’t be intimidated but be bold and inventive!  Don’t make enemies but build alliances.   Your competitor may very become your best friend!

 

What’s the best managerial advice you’ve been given and what’s the worse?

Good advice.  Take good care of your people as they will care for you.  Being a good shepherd wins the trust of the flock.  Manage your resources well as money doesn’t grow on trees.  Build a good reputation in the community so when you need the community, they will be there for you.  Be diligent in everything and appreciative of whatever God gives you.  Being grateful can open God’s door for more!  As you manage a little God can make it big! 

Worst advice.  It takes money to make money.  Holding back to act because you don’t have money will stop you from succeeding.  God doesn’t always supply our need in advance, but he does reward faith.  Step-out and see what God can do!  Be wise and prudent but don’t limit what God can accomplish through you.  Think outside of the box and be open to new things and new people.  Remember, there is wisdom among many and you can’t tell a good book by it’s cover.

When Elvis Presley started-out, he was told, he couldn’t make it in the recording industry and to go back to truck driving.  However, Elvis had a dream and his dream became a reality because of his perseverance to overcome obstacles.

 

Some say that more Christian stations in the market — the better – do you agree with that and why or why not?

Having more Christian stations in the market can be good like having more tomatoes growing in the garden.  The more you grow — the more you feed! 

It would be selfish to think that any one Christian station should have a monopoly in the market.  One or two stations could never meet the needs of a diverse audience.  Not all listeners like CCM, Talk, Southern or Urban Gospel.  As the Chevy commercial says, “Some like a little Country and some like a little Rock and Roll!” 

There’s plenty of people in the market for every station and every format on the dial, but the best programming stations with warm-hearted people will have the biggest audience.  So, be creative, inventive and lead!

 

What is the ONE thing you must have everyday to do your job?

A cup of Joe or tea can be nice on a cold morning but what gets be out of the gate is to remember “why” I am here.  I am here to serve, to bless, and produce.  This is my motivation for showing up every day! If I fail in these fundamentals, I will fail in my mission, and that kill’s my drive. 

 

In what area do you believe Christian radio needs to improve the most?

While technology and automation have been good for the industry but at the same time it has consequently reduced human resources entering the profession.  While on the other hand, it has also caused Christian radio to explode and expand across the country like a wildfire!

 

In general terms what do you see as the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?

A rapidly changing culture and worldview that is becoming less friendly and more oppositional to the faith.  While we are not quite at the point of closing-down stations or censoring content, but the shift is rapidly approaching zero tolerance.    

 

Who are your radio heroes and influences?

Steve Williams who taught me the basics and essentials of broadcasting and showed me much grace.  Michael Conn, a college intern, who truly demonstrated passion for radio and proved to me that you can’t tell a good book by its cover.  Dr. Donald Wildmon who showed me favor and exemplified the qualities of a visionary leader.  Gary and Diane Heavin who sacrificially gave to support the cause. 

As for influences they are many!

2 thoughts on “Bill Thrasher Interview 8-12-19

  • August 14, 2019 at 2:04 pm
    Permalink

    There’s some real wisdom here. God bless you Bill.
    Steve Moore

    Reply
  • August 15, 2019 at 10:50 am
    Permalink

    Thank you, Steve.

    Reply

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