officially been with Family Life Ministries for 32 years, however,
technically I’ve been part of the ministry for my entire life as my
father, Dick Snavely started the ministry in 1957. It began as a
Youth for Christ program reaching teenagers for over two decades
before the ministry expanded its outreach to the entire family.
In the late 70s the
ministry began looking at radio and in 1983 the flagship station of
the Family Life Network, WCIK began broadcasting licensed to Bath,
NY. Today the Network has nearly 70 signals on the air throughout
NY & PA. Our theme continues to be “To God be the glory!”
I began overseeing the
programming of the radio ministry from the very beginning. In the
late 90s I was moved to General Manager and in 2002 I was appointed
to succeed my father as President/CEO of the entire ministry which
has ministry departments for youth, adults, performing arts, and
counseling along with radio. My wife Sherri and I have been married
for 31 years and have two grown children, Chad and Rachelle.
Personally how do you keep the ministry in the “business”?
There are business elements to
any organization as we seek to be good stewards of what has been
entrusted to us, but frankly, it’s all about ministry! If what we
are doing is not being used by the Lord to touch hearts, impact and
change lives, and strengthen the family unit, then we have no
business being in ministry. It’s not about numbers, it’s not about
ratings, it’s all about doing the best job you can to reach more
people for Christ and to bring Him glory!
2. Overall, how is Christian radio
different today from 5 years ago?
There are some very good things. The
professionalism of many more stations is apparent. There is a focus
on doing things well and reaching more people. That’s the good
news. A potential negative consequence of that is the “dumbing
down” of Christian radio in that we can become so seeker-sensitive
that we are not saying anything. When “experts” are saying that we
better not say too much about Jesus because it might turn away some
prospective listeners then something is desperately wrong! I love
it when we run across people who love radio and want it to be the
very best, but also love the Lord and want to use the tool that
radio is to tell their world about the Savior!
What do you think are the main
characteristics of a Christian radio GM?
I look at the importance of my role in
helping the staff keep its focus on the reason why we do what we
do. It’s easy to get caught up in working hard to do a good job,
but it is so important to daily remember why we are doing that
work. I also have to be a cheerleader, seeking to encourage those
who have been called to the ministry. Making the work place
enjoyable, fun, and challenging is part of what I need to do daily.
What ways or methods do you think
work best to keep your staff motivated?
Public acknowledgement is important. I
love “bragging” about the staff in a public setting. I like to
single out someone during a staff meeting and acknowledge something
that they have accomplished. One of the hardest things for me to do
is to keep my hands off of things when I see that they aren’t going
right. But I’m learning that I can do more harm by jumping in and
fixing the problem instead of letting the one in charge of it do the
fixing. Letting the staff have a say in big decisions that will
affect them or their department is also very helpful in keeping the
What kind of promotions work best
for Christian radio?
Promotions that connect with the
audience and cause a greater connection with the radio station.
It’s not all about give-a-ways and contests, as fun as they can be,
but doing things with your listeners that make them feel a part of
what the ministry is all about.
How do you think Christian Record
labels can better serve Christian radio?
Diversify! So much of the music that is
coming out today sounds the same. It appears that very few labels
want to run the risk of providing something unique and refreshing.
Personally I love when an album comes out that is not totally guitar
and percussion driven. There’s something about full orchestration
that is inspiring, but they are few and far between today.
7. In your opinion what are
the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio today?
Finding talent that is both qualified
and has a passion for ministry is always a challenge. Providing
compelling content that engages the listener while balancing it with
Biblical teaching that is relevant and uncompromising is essential
though not easy.
What do you believe is the primary
role of the Christian radio personality?
Connecting with the listener by being
real, friendly, and encouraging. Sharing the love of Christ in a
way that is relevant. Speaking truth without being judgmental or
pious. Having fun and accenting the positive.
9. What (if any) Christian radio
stations do you consider as innovators today?
Any station that is willing to step out
of the mold and be creative without losing the focus of being used
by the Holy Spirit to draw listeners unto Christ.
10. Where do you see
Christian radio in 5 years?
I think that Christian radio needs to
address both the younger audience through cutting edge internet
broadcasting and the aging baby boomers with quality inspirational
radio. Continually striving to be professional yet personal and
ministry focused will always be our challenge!