recently joined Family Life Network (FLN) as Publicity Director. In
this role, I lead development and execution of media relations
activities of the ministry. I also coordinate and write various
internal and external communications. Prior to joining FLN, I held
a brief stint as marketing manager for Carestream Health in
Rochester, NY. In 2004, I worked as a public relations account
exective at Buck & Pulleyn, Inc.—an advertising firm located in
Upstate New York. There I created public relations campaigns for
global clients such as Eastman Kodak Company, Citizens Bank, and
Johnson & Johnson.
Personally how do you keep the ministry in the “business”?
My job is to keep
FLN “in the news” which entails timely, consistent, and honest
communications that generate awareness and build positive
reputation. So in that respect, yes, good publicity can help a grow
a business, even if the results seem intangible.
However, a quality
product drives success more than anything else does. A former boss
of mine used to say, “You’re only as good as your product. The rest
is just puffery.” As a radio ministry, we’re in the business of
communicating the amazing love of God to people in need of it.
Family Life is devoted to strengthening individuals and families
through Christian-based radio broadcasting, educational programs,
social outreach, counseling, and theatre. What keeps us “in
business” are the quality, integrity, and creativity of these
If the goal is to
gain publicity, putting clear, relevant, and well-timed messages in
the media will get information in front people. Make the package as
palatable as possible – it’s important to digestion. I take that
part of my job very seriously. The key to good marketing is showing
people who you are and what you stand for in a matter of seconds.
Be concise. Stand big for one thing—a branding concept that’s
especially important in ministry, because as a Christian company,
Christ is the one big thing. He is the purpose of the work we
do at Family Life. That message should be unmistakable in all
communications. The trick is delivering the message in new and
different ways to reach a changing world.
2. Overall, how
is Christian radio different today than from 5 years ago?
differs in many ways from what it was five years ago. First,
Internet has given us great opportunity to increase our Web
presence. We’re continually adding content and interactive features
to our Web site in order to provide listeners with more ministry
options and better Christian entertainment. There’s also more media
competing for listener attention in today’s marketplace than there
was five years ago – cable and satellite television, YouTube, iPods,
and music downloads, to name a few. The competition isn’t
necessarily a bad thing since it stretches our ministry to think
3. What do you
think are the main characteristics of today’s Christian radio
First and foremost,
every ministry worker should exemplify the love of Christ – no
matter what title they carry. We must love Jesus and His Word to be
truly effective. A seemingly obvious mandate, but so often blurred
by crazy work schedules, and well … life. The second characteristic
is cultivating and maintaining a relationship with Him. Without
personally knowing Jesus, our desire to do his work will eventually
fizzle. And a passionless heart is not apt to win others.
On a professional
level, today’s publicity pro is ambitious and media savvy. They’re
up on Christian and secular news, and the issues driving each. I
feel most PR people have a good handle on conventional media, but
may be intimidated by new forms of media such as podcasts, online
networks, and blogging. Understanding these cyber worlds are key to
reaching younger generations. Many publicity people don’t know
enough about interactive media or how to reach it yet.
I also believe most
PR professionals now working in Christian news arenas have come from
secular workplaces, giving them a keen understanding of secular
media and how to influence it. Knowing how to slip under that
“religious radar” with Christian messages is important to reaching a
world of non-believers. I feel experts in the field are conscious
4. What criteria
do you require for promotion on your station?
actively works with a variety of concert promoters, churches, and
para-church ministries to promote Christ-honoring activities that
will benefit our constituencies – adults, youth, singles, families –
in both ministry and entertainment. The promotion has to be
relevant to our listeners, and of good quality and sound. We often
times seek to work in tandem with local churches and ministries like
5. What kind of
promotions work best for Christian radio?
The kind that
represent your organization most accurately. Don’t be something
you’re not. Whatever the promo method, your organization’s “look
and feel” or “brand image” must be woven into the work. Make it a
part of everything you do.
6. How do you
think Christian record labels can better serve Christian radio?
Most labels work
very well with radio in terms of providing artist content and
offering promotional support when needed. It’s definitely a two-way
street. I’d like to see labels work more seriously with new and
developing artists rather than drop one single, and if it doesn’t
“hit”, forget about the artist. A longer-term marketing plan would
help bring a more diverse range of artists to our listeners.
7. What are the
biggest obstacles facing Christian radio today?
The only obstacles
are letting ourselves be limited by small thinking and not taking
big steps of faith to trust the Lord in his leading.
8. What do you
believe is the primary role of the Christian radio air personality?
Be relevant. Make
what you say honest and relatable. We are all image-bearers of
Christ, correct? So let’s be sure we’re putting His face forward.
In doing that, our work on the air will become an indispensable part
of a listener’s day.
9. Where do you
see Christian radio in five years?
In order to remain
relevant and competitive as a delivery system for Christian content,
we’ll need to be at the top of our game. That means providing
quality content, programming, and on-air talent. To achieve this,
Christian radio must research and implement the most effective ways
to communicate with listeners, making them feel like a part of the
“family.” Let’s not settle with “good enough.” The Lord wants our