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Faith in the Media Leadership Interview: Art Garza – By Elaine Welcome

Welcome to our Faith in the Media interview series on Christian Media Leadership. Here, we have the privilege of delving into the minds and experiences of influential leaders in the field of Christian media. Throughout this series, we aim to explore the unique challenges and opportunities faced by these leaders as they navigate the ever-evolving landscape of media and technology, all while remaining steadfast in their Christian values. Join us as we gain insights, wisdom, and inspiration from these remarkable individuals who are making a profound impact in spreading the message of faith through various forms of media. In today’s installment, we have the pleasure of checking in with Art Garza, Director of Broadcasting at STAR 99.1- STAR 93.3 – AM91.

Art is a seasoned radio professional who began his journey in Phoenix, AZ. He has held various management roles at KRDS in Phoenix, AZ, EMF Broadcasting in Rocklin, CA, KLTX in Los Angeles, CA, and KSGN in Riverside, CA. In 2006, Art joined Pillar of Fire as the General Manager at STAR 93.3 FM WAKW in Cincinnati, OH. Under his leadership, the station’s audience tripled, and its listener base more than doubled during the Christmas season.

In 2019, Art was entrusted with overseeing the Pillar Ministries Media Group, which includes STAR 93.3 FM Cincinnati, STAR 99.1 FM New York, and AM 910 KPOF in Denver, CO. Recently, Pillar of Fire expanded by acquiring two new FM stations in the Denver, CO area.

Art is deeply honored by the opportunities he has been given and remains passionately committed to Pillar Media’s mission of providing programming that fosters a growing relationship with Jesus.

Elaine Welcome recently sat down with Art Garza.

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Q: As a leader in Christian Media, why do you do what you do?
Ultimately, I have felt compelled and called into the Christian media industry.  I am in my 33rd year in broadcasting, and it took me 20 years before I really fully embraced a calling into Christian media.  Prior to that time, I used to think I had to be a pastor or go into some other full-time ministry to really feel worthy of a calling in ministry.   But 13 years ago through Mark Driscoll’s message at Momentum, God spoke and clearly reminded me how this is the lane He’s called me to.  Since that time, it has helped me to be more intentional and focused on how to express the gifts God has given me specifically for this profession.


Q: What are your thoughts on AI and how it might impact Christian Media?
It can become daunting and a little scary.  Thoughts of Terminator 3 come to mind (Skynet is the virus!). However, I do recognize all of the benefits of AI, and it challenges us as individuals and organizations to continually be better. Hopefully it will make a lot of people’s jobs much easier.

We’ve also begun to explore and experiment with AI in writing some of our content.

I decided to go ahead and ask AI what it thought of this question. Here is AI’s response:

The impact of AI on Christian media is multifaceted, offering opportunities for enhanced content creation, personalized user experiences, data-driven insights, and ethical considerations. By embracing AI technologies responsibly and thoughtfully, Christian media organizations can leverage these tools to engage with their audience effectively and advance their mission of spreading faith-based messages in a digital age.


Q: What do you see as the greatest challenges for Christian Media in the next 5 years?
I think revenue will be a challenge, considering the economy, and competition with a continued growth of other listening options. Radio’s portion of the listening pie is shrinking, and as a result, we are seeing shrinking audiences and revenue losses. Another challenge is Auto-makers; several have begun to eliminate AM radio, and now there’s a movement to remove FM. For sure we’re facing some challenges in media, currently and in the future.

I recently shared this quote with our leadership team from the movie Top Gun Maverick. The Admiral’s warning to Maverick was: “The end is inevitable, Maverick. Your kind is heading to extinction.”  Maverick’s response: “Maybe so, sir, but not today.”

Although there are a lot of strategies we need to think through, and ways we need to pivot as organizations, I also strongly believe that we still have great opportunities today.


Q: What advice do you have for mid-level leaders that desire to grow to Senior Leadership roles in a Media Company?
Be prepared to move. I realize this may sound pretty simple and obvious; however, if you desire to grow in this industry and stay with Christian media, we have limited options in the markets we live in. To grow into senior leadership, we have to be willing to move. Most of the executive leaders in our industry throughout the US have relocated numerous times. Of course, it’s easier said than done, and decisions like this need to be made as a family.


Q: As a leader of a Christian Media organization, how would you define success:  1. as a leader 2. for your organization
I’ve always wrestled with the inner ambition to grow and expand, and trying to discern personal ambition versus areas where God is directly calling me. As I continue to grow as a believer, I am convinced that success for oneself is knowing what God wants you to do, and doing it. And sometimes, it’s as simple as just knowing the next right step.

As an organization, success is knowing the lane that God has called us to for such a time as this, and being faithful as we move in that direction with clearly defined goals and expectations, combined with a healthy culture that values people.


Q: What should the #1 priority be for Christian leaders in media.
Culture. Peter Drucker said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” People are the only entities that are eternal.

So no matter how great our business strategy is, our plan will fail without a healthy company culture that encourages and values people in its mission.

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At FaithSearch Partners, we drive executive searches with passion and purpose. We understand the importance of these qualities in effective biblical leadership and strive to help our clients find the right candidates who embody them.

FaithSearch consultants bring more than 130 years of cumulative experience in faith-based executive search. If you’re looking for leaders who can make a difference for the kingdom throughout your organization – people who will positively impact your people and community – reach out to us. FaithSearch excels in securing leaders for Christian media, nonprofits, higher education, ministries, and faith-driven organizations.

Contact the FaithSearch team today for more information.


Check Out Previous Faith In Media Leadership Interviews:
Chris Lemke
Jason Sharp
Matt Austin
Joe Paulo
Ty McFarland
Paul Martin
Rick Dunham

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