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Brian Sanders “Let’s Be Honest About Competition”

Dear Christian Radio…let’s be honest about competition.

Is it wrong for Christian radio stations to compete against each other?

There’s a prevailing thought in Christian radio that every Christian radio ministry should sit around a fire, hold hands and sing “Kumbaya.”

While that’s a nice thought, it isn’t reality.

We need to be honest about a few facts.

Fact #1: If there are more than two radio stations in your entire market, you are competing.

Fact #2: If there are two or more Christian radio stations in the same market, you are competing.

Embrace those statements.

You and the local Christian station across town can be friends.  You can acknowledge that everyone is on “Team Jesus” but the reality is, you’re competing.

There are only so many ears in a market.

There are only so many dollars to be raised out of that market.

If your station is short on donations and can’t make payroll, will the competing station across town make up the difference?   Nope.

(I can feel the angst growing among many readers.)

Competition is good.  That I will affirm.

It makes organizations strive to be excellent.  It often creates additional jobs.  (It also can result in the loss of jobs when one competitor triumphs over the other.)

It forces us to innovate and learn new skills.

The uncomfortable part of competing is determining HOW to compete?   Do it with integrity.

Have the better product.

Hire the best talent.

Do creative marketing.

Don’t be afraid to pursue exclusives on events.  (You already have exclusives for your on-air talent.  Why not events?)

Test your music.

Coach your talent.

Bleed the mission and vision.

Take some risks.

Be at every baby shower and christening.

Don’t just present your station to listeners at events, engage those listeners.

Work hard.  Work very very hard.

Create a unique and rewarding culture where people will want to work and invest their lives.

Be paranoid.  Never stop considering what the next move by your competition could be, and if possible…be there before them.

Be humble.  Be kind.  Be caring.

Whether you want to publicly admit that I’m right, somewhere deep in your soul you know that I am.

There are two truths we need to embrace:

#1) It is not sin to win.  Let us stop being ashamed or embarrassed by winning. Let us celebrate our efforts and the victories our God gives us.

#2) While you’re considering typing a response to tell me I’m wrong, there’s a station across town strategically making moves to win listeners away from your station.  If your competition is successful, you not only lose audience but you lose dollars, influence and impact.

Please don’t over spiritualize this.

Please don’t say, “We’re just going to trust the Lord and leave the results to Him.”  That’s often a lazy or fearful person’s way of saying, “We have no new ideas and we’re not going to try.”

You’ve been given a ministry to lead.  Lead it.

You’ve been given a team to inspire.  Inspire them.

You’ve been given a grand opportunity to change lives.  Don’t squander it.

Dear Christian Radio,

1)      Accept the fact that you are competing with others.

2)      Compete with integrity.

3)      It isn’t a sin to win.

Brian is the Executive Vice President of Positive Alternative Radio in Blacksburg.

PAR has five brands which include Spirit FM in Lynchburg, VA; WCQR in Kingsport, TN; Positive Hits, WPER in Richmond/Fredericksburg, VA; Joy FM in Winston Salem, NC; Walk FM in Ashland, KY, Huntington,WV.  You can find more articles from the leaders of PAR at www.dearchristianradio.com.

One thought on “Brian Sanders “Let’s Be Honest About Competition”

  • Thank you for this. I cringe so many times when people bring up one of the other Christian signals in our area and say, “Well, remember you’re all in this together for the same purpose,” insinuating we aren’t competitors because we’re a ministry. I cringe typing this. I acknowledge that yes we do what we do to reach people for Christ. However, at the end of the day we are a business that needs to do it with excellence and not be afraid to win!!


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