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Heidi Prahl

Donor & Community Relations

WEMI

Appleton, WI

     

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Heidi's Career Capsule
My college degree in interior design from UW Madison turned out to be a big help when it came to promotion planning here at The Family.  I'm using a lot of the same skills; how to take a huge job and break it up into small do-able pieces, tracking everything, working on a time line, scheduling all the people and materials, staying in touch with all of the players, and thanking everyone.  I did commercial interior design for 10 years, then miscellaneous part time jobs while our children were at home, and joined 'The Family' eleven years ago to do event planning and fund raising.

 

1. How have your stations evolved recently, becoming The Family etc?

Leadership at The Family has been intentional about keeping staff representatives of all three stations as active participants in organizational and creative planning and decision making.  This has been good for moral as well as event planning - our major events are comprehensive (same name, schedule, forms etc.) and include all three frequencies and territories which cuts down on the work load and planning for staff.  We do things times 3. 

 

2. Has The Family been affected by the economy, affected donations?

The economy has affected our donations and they have dropped some, but I'd have to say that the economy has affected our listeners more; there are many people who are personally feeling the squeeze of unemployment, downsizing, and 'lean' - yet they choose to continue to support their churches and this radio ministry. It is very humbling and a huge honor to be the recipient their sacrifices in Christ's name.

 

3. What criteria do you require for a promotion to air on your stations?

Ideally these four components must be present. 

1) Media - that's us and any television stations or newspapers that we partner with. 

2) Financial support - The event must be attractive and worthwhile to sponsors.

3) A project or purpose that catches the attention of the community without compromising our Christ-centered ideals and mission. 

4) Manpower - we must have enough staff or volunteers to make it happen. In order to keep some degree of sanity among our busy-busy staff we need to be willing to walk away from a project or else figure out how to adjust it to our limited time and energy.

 

4. What promotion are you most proud of at The Family?

The promotions that I am most proud of are those that have captured the hearts and imaginations of thousands of people in our listening areas and enabled us to provide (in Christ's name) real, hands-on, practical help to people in need or in crisis.  They are what I consider wildly successful because individuals in paper mills, hospitals, schools, and churches have caught the spirit of what we're trying to do and then become champions of the event within their areas of influence.  It only takes one person (well equipped with promotional materials) to make a passionate plea to their leadership to get involved, and then a listening ear on the other side to approve the activity.

5a: To say I am proud of our Help for the Homeless or Christmas Care campaigns makes me very uncomfortable.  Both of these events have grown to be frighteningly HUGE for this little home town radio network. My position of coordinating the events gives me a unique perspective - seriously - it's like standing on top of hill where I can actually see the entire vista stretched out before me.  God has put hundreds of people in place with just exactly the skills, the heart, and the connections to make these happen. It takes my breath away.  I won't dare to say I'm proud; but I'll be the first to say that I am hugely honored to participate in what God is doing here.  This year 800 area businesses, schools, churches etc. will collect hygiene items for 52 local crisis agencies and shelters in Central and East Central Wisconsin. At Christmas, we were able to give 3,400 gifts to 40 area emergency rooms and crisis agencies.  Both of these events are grass roots, everything is donated - we have no budget for them.

 

5. Are the any ways Christian Record labels can better serve Christian radio?

More product for prizes please!  Seriously, we've been very well treated by the Christian Record labels.  Right now we're planning the spots for our 21st annual Help for the Homeless hygiene drive and we were thrilled to learn that Fair Trade Services gave us the green light to use a song from one of their artists to help us promote the event.  Our music director, Todd Christopher, was really impressed by how quickly Fair Trade Services responded to his request, answered his questions, and followed up with a sincere attitude of "What do you need? I want to be of service to you."  They really went out of their way and gave us what we asked for.  This proves to us how important the relationship with a Christian record label is - it's totally about relationship - it is the body of Christ in action.  (See 5a)

 

6. In your opinion what are the biggest obstacles facing The Family radio today?

Name recognition. We're still a well kept secret - we're not-for-profit and our budget for billboards and such is quite limited.  Our community events are one more way of getting our name and logo in front of people. 

Popular culture and misunderstanding. David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group has written a couple of books "Un-Christian" and "You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church and Rethinking Faith" that are worth a read. We try to be sensitive to Mr. Kinnaman's research and find new ways to reach people with the Gospel who may be prejudiced against what they think Christian radio is all about.

 

7. How do your air personalities touch your listeners on a daily basis?

We've got some wonderful on-air talent here at The Family.  Once again, it's all about relationships and each one of our people have a sound and personality that is friendly and attractive. People tune in here to help keep Christ in the midst of their distractions, busy-ness, joys and challenges. They want to be reminded of Christ, worship him, learn about him, and be part of a community of others doing the same. Our on-air personalities work at being able to relate to listeners and provide what they need.    

 

8. Where do you see Heidi Prahl in 5 years?

 Five years?  I'd love to see Heidi Prahl watching hundreds of other communities benefiting from the planning and organization that she's put into the Help for the Homeless hygiene drive.  I've put together a basic step-by-step 'How To' package for new communities as they join us and would love to share that with others. Then I'd like to see Heidi Prahl still doing work she loves with people she respects where she is able to laugh loudly without getting into trouble....and fitting nicely into a pair of size 8 jeans...we can dream right?

 

 

 

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