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Rick Snavely

Family Life

CEO Radio Network Manager

Bath, NY

     

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Rick's Career Capsule
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.

 


1.
Tell us about Family Life (a little history, etc) ?

1.    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 listeners?

Family Life 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 demographics.

 

4. How do you keep the staffs motivated?

 I 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 Family Life!

 

6. What promotion are you most proud of at Family Life?

 I 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 “business” for!

 

8. There are still some big markets without a CCM station, why do you think that is?

8.    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 innovators today?

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 serve Him.
 

 

 

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