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Beth Crosby Interview

Beth Crosby
Program Director
Kinship Radio
Mankato, MN

 

Career Capsule: I was born in northwestern Wisconsin and grew up in the Twin Cities area, calling both places home. I began performing at an early age and was active in community theatre, band and choir for much of her childhood. While attending Minnesota State University in Mankato I was able to earn my bachelor’s degree in music. I’ve been active as a vocalist, worship leader, speaker, and journalist at a community newspaper. In my spare time, I most enjoy crafts, snuggling with my dog, Zoey, and being an aunt to three nieces. 

 

Beth, what’s new at Kinship Radio… and what’s new with you?

The question should be what’s NOT new at Kinship Radio! In the past two years we have welcomed a new executive director (Dr. Jennifer Hayden), moved our base of operations to Mankato, Minnesota, converted to a new automation system, implemented new music scheduling and traffic systems, revamped our underwriting program, redesigned our website, launched an all-new morning show last January, and we just launched a brand new app. We’ve also been working hard to improve our branding across all of our platforms. We will be re-formatting our Spanish language ministry and if that’s not enough, we will be bringing six new full-power stations online by 2025. We’re also celebrating our 40th anniversary this year by hosting a long list of fantastic events for people throughout our listening area to enjoy. We’ve been doing a lot of hard rowing at Kinship but God has been good to us by helping with the rowing.

For me personally, the past few years have been a whirlwind! I have been involved with the radio ministry in some fashion since the late 1990s, mostly as a part-time remote voice tracker. I became the midday host and production coordinator in July of 2020 and in January of 2022, I became the network’s program director. Life for me has been non-stop ever since. 

What does the future look like. in one word, busy!  But when the work is for the Kingdom and God is glorified in it, the work is always good. No complaints here.

 

How do you balance work and family, and how important is it for someone in Christian radio to “have a life?”

Finding that perfect work/life balance is one of the hardest things I personally wrestle with, especially since I am single and my extended family lives a distance away. It is easy for me to get swallowed up with the busy stuff at the office and forget to go home but I am thankful for co-workers who give me a good nudge out the door when I need it.

 

What’s something you’ve learned due to the pandemic, about Christian radio, that you didn’t know before?

The pandemic taught me the importance of flexibility, especially when it comes to your station’s technology. The pandemic hit us hard over the holidays in 2020. I personally had COVID over Christmas and New Year’s and I found myself programming logs from my couch at home on Christmas Eve. I was very thankful I had the ability to do that at the time, and I am even more grateful we have a much more robust automation system now with greater flexibility to do that when it is needed. 

 

What are your thoughts on AI in Christian radio?

Where exactly AI will fit in the radio industry is certainly a lively discussion and yet we have only just begun to scratch the surface about the role of AI in radio at Kinship. I see it as an interesting tool, but one that has me treading very lightly.

When you look at how AI is in many ways moving toward mimicking or replacing the human factor – areas such as labor, writing, thought, what have you – I think you have to consider what AI has the danger of doing when it comes to the call God has placed on each of us. I look at how Paul spoke to Timothy in his letters and how he spoke of “entrusting” Timothy with the message of the gospel. God has entrusted you and me with the same message and I have to ask, are we willing to run the risk of entrusting the call we have uniquely been given to deliver the gospel message to a machine?  Can artificial intelligence share the message of Jesus Christ with the kind of passion, connection, creativity and empathy like God’s children can and should? I pray not. AI could be a great tool but if it is serving as a crutch for ministry, that’s a problem. 

 

Where will new up and coming Christian radio air talent come from?

That’s a question I am always pondering as I look at Kinship’s future talent needs. Many of our on-air talent at Kinship didn’t come from radio backgrounds at all. They have been strong Christ followers with good voices, teachable spirits, a desire to share the good news of Jesus and a hunger to make an impact for the Kingdom. My own experience was like that. I had a background in the performing arts but a career in Christian radio was never on my radar. I got my start in radio because of a phone call I answered one day working as a customer service representative. I was blessed to have someone recognize I had the potential to serve in radio, and that there was a radio station out there willing to take in a young believer like me and help me get my start in Christian radio.

I believe great air talent is out there but I believe more of us in the industry need to seek out those diamonds in the rough and be willing to take the time and effort to develop them. You never know where your next great radio talent will come from. The question for me is whether or not we’re willing to invest in the process of raising them up.

 

Who are your radio heroes and influences, and why?

I have to give a lot of credit to Rick Boyd, my first PD. Rick gave up a lot of his own personal time to help me start my radio journey on the right foot. I’m eternally grateful for how he sowed into my career.

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