I kind of
“grew up” in the ministry as my father was the founder of Family
Life Ministries in 1957. In 1976 I joined the staff of what was
then known as Area Youth for Christ and worked in the youth
department until we began to investigate the idea of radio. In
1983, our flagship station, WCIK came on the air in Bath, NY.
We knew very little about radio and had no radio staff to speak
of, so out of necessity I became the Program Director, Music
Director, you name it – I did it because there was no one else
to. Though we were very green, we had a core group of people
who truly understood what ministry was and desired that radio
would be an extension of ministry.
Today, I am
privileged to serve as CEO of the ministry and GM of the radio
outreach. When I joined the ministry in 1976 I was the fifth
full-time staff member. Today we are blessed to have about 50
incredible people who blend their gifts and skills to serve the
Lord in a variety of outreach departments.
Tell us about Family Life (a little history, etc) ?
Radio began in 1983
with the construction of WCIK. At that time that was the only
radio station we were thinking about. But people in outlying
areas would ask us to raise our power because they appreciated
hearing the radio station when driving through the area. We
couldn’t increase our power so we began to investigate filing
for new stations in the southern tier of New York. In 1989 the
Family Life Network came into existence with the construction of
three new stations. Once again we began to receive, almost
immediately, requests from those living in outlying areas of
these new stations to do something in their area. We built
three more stations in 1992 and today we are blessed to
broadcast on 22 stations and nearly 50 translators across New
York and Pennsylvania.
2. Describe your local markets, uniqueness, etc?
There is no one
description of the markets that Family Life is blessed to
serve. We cover two states, rural and urban, high income, and
economically depressed, pockets of communities with Christian
influence, but mostly spiritually cold climates. The diversity
of Family Life’s coverage makes programming a challenge, but we
have made the decision that we will never expand beyond what we
can serve on a personal level. Having face-to-face ministry
opportunities is our “bread & butter” when it comes to ministry!
3. In what ways are the Family Life stations impacting
started off as a ministry before radio came into the mix. As a
result ministry is in our lifeblood and it dictates everything
we do. The radio broadcast is upbeat and fun, but ministry is
the foundation of everything that is heard. Even as in a
battlefield, any military personnel will tell you that a battle
cannot be won without the ground troops, such is Family Life’s
philosophy. Radio opens the doors for more intimate ministry
opportunities. The organization has a full-time Performing Arts
department that travels to many of the areas that are reached by
a Family Life radio signal in presenting dinner theaters and
stage productions. We send out teams each summer to conduct
youth theater workshops, training young people in the creative
arts. We’ve been blessed to have a full-time family counseling
department and are active in organizing “Healing Journey”
workshops – a 29-week course designed to bring spiritual healing
to those who hurt. Family Life continues to partner with local
churches in providing leadership training to young adults by
equipping them to stand in a non-Christian environment. We have
a full-time event ministry team bringing concerts and special
events to each part of the radio network artists that are heard
on the network. Knowing that not one music style is going to
appeal to the overall audience, Family Life has developed online
streams with various styles of Christian music to appeal to all
4. How do you keep the staffs motivated?
am extremely blessed to serve alongside a wonderfully gifted
management team. Each oversees a department and is responsible
for making sure that everything is done and done right. I’ve
been involved in the ministry for over 36 years and the team
that the Lord has put together now is the best overall we have
ever had! We’re blessed to have staff members who have a
passion to use their gifts and skills to serve the Lord and that
passion dictates their motivation.
5. Where do you find new talent for your station?
We pray! The
typical first reaction when someone hears about Family Life is
“where in the world is Bath, NY?” I try and put the best foot
forward and say that staff have the best of both worlds – a
major market potential audience with the opportunity of living
in small-town USA! But in all reality, unless an individual
truly senses a call from God on their life to serve Him in this
capacity, it just won’t work. I think that’s one of the ways
that we’ve seen God’s blessing the most – He has brought us
gifted and dedicated people. I could write a book with a
chapter devoted to each staff person on how the Lord led them to
6. What promotion are you most proud of at Family Life?
love what we do in radio and online, but my shirt buttons tend
to pop off when I experience what Family Life’s Performing Arts
department is able to accomplish! Last Christmas season we did
the musical drama, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. We performed this
13 times in four different locations before over 4,000 people
and it was just incredible! People walked away from each
performance literally blown away by the talent and the message
in the production. We experienced an increase in listener
loyalty and financial support as a result of this production.
This Christmas we’re expanding to 16 performances in five
different locations with a new production.
7. Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest
obstacles facing Christian radio today?
I read many of
the responses to this question and I understand the dynamics of
funding, research, etc. But to be honest, I believe that the
biggest obstacle that we face is overcoming the temptation to be
popular. God never called us to be popular but to be faithful!
Now that doesn’t mean we don’t try our hardest to do the best
possible job we can. If we’re going to do something in the name
of the Lord, let’s do it right! But it seems that most of the
emphasis that has been given to Christian radio in the last
decade is to be popular and do what is necessary to get our
numbers higher. God has given us a sacred tool in radio, and
it’s my belief that we need to use this tool to communicate the
truth of His Word. That, in and of itself, will lessen our
“popularity”. But again, that’s not what we’re in the
8. There are still some big markets without a CCM station, why
do you think that is?
Vision, personnel, and
funding – nothing great ever happens without all of these three
things. You can have one or two of them but without the third
it won’t happen.
9. What (if any) Christian radio stations do you consider as
I believe that
we continually need to seek better ways to communicate the
gospel. When Paul talked about godliness and contentment, he
was not referring to complacency. To rest on anyone’s laurels
is the quickest path to stagnation. I would answer this
question by simply stating that any station that is continually
seeking effective and productive ways to communicate the
timeless truth of the gospel is innovative.
10. How would you describe the Family Life morning show?
We like to have a lot
of fun with banter, games, give-a-ways, etc. We have three
hosts and a newsperson as part of the morning team. They have
great chemistry and get along so well. I love hearing the
balance of the fun along with their genuine spirits that
communicates their own walk with the Lord and their passion to