Career Capsule: I have lived in the Dickinson, ND area my entire life. I received my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from Dickinson State University. I absolutely love my hometown and state. North Dakota is one of America’s best kept secrets! I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home and listened to Christian music, but never thought I would have the opportunity to work in Christian Radio. I worked in many industries – PR/Marketing at my alma mater Dickinson State, engineering/surveying, and clinical research administration. God brought me to The Connection in October 2019 as a part-time, “temporary” employee. Long story short, God facilitated the finances for me to become the full-time office manager. Then, in June 2021, I was promoted to General Manager.
I have always had the stance that just because we are a small town doesn’t mean we don’t need to hear about Jesus!
Heidi, tell us what’s new at KPAR… any news, changes etc…
We are continuing to focus on reaching our community with the Gospel. Fall is busy with various events where we set up a booth. We were invited to set up a prayer tent at the local Suicide Prevention Walk in early September. It is exciting to see how God is opening up doors for us to minister to our community!God has blessed us with financial provision this summer in amazing ways. Great is His faithfulness!
How do you balance work & family, how important is it for someone in Christian Radio to ‘have a life”?
Living in a small town for all my life, I know A LOT of people. Many times my personal and professional life overlap. That can be good or bad. It is good to have relationships with people and to let them know that you care. However, that can lead to feeling like you have to be “on” all the time. It is imperative to have people in your life that you can just relax with.
As a small station, I am the only full-time employee. Which means if something goes wrong with the radio, I have to try to fix it. Or contact our tech person to fix it. I am able to do some things remotely from home, but occasionally I have had to go to the station or tower site at night. It isn’t ideal, but it is what I signed up for.
I try to take the occasional day off (as in not in the office) to recharge. I am hoping to train someone to be on-call for the station so I can take a true vacation soon!
What is something about your market that would surprise outsiders?
My community is very “religious.” This opens the door for us to be a part of events and support some great ministries. Also, we are very limited on venue space for concerts, speakers, comedians, etc. So we need to get creative for events!
What’s something you’ve learned due to the pandemic, about Christian Radio, that you didn’t know before?
I was reminded how Christian Radio can still be impactful and used, especially in times when we are being told to not gather together. Our station hosted multiple prayer convoys in 2020. The first one was in April 2020. We created a route with stops at the hospital, clinics, nursing homes, etc. At each stop, we would all have the radio on in our car and be lead in a prayer by one of our local pastors for that specific entity. At one point, we counted over 60 cars in the convoy! We were able to show the love and hope of Jesus to our community. At one of the stops, the clinic administrator called the station in tears thanking us for blessing them.
What are your thoughts on AI & how will it impact Christian Radio?
I haven’t studied AI in depth. From what I do know, I can see how it might be a more cost-effective way to do certain things, but we need to be cautious. One of the main things with Christian radio is that we have the Holy Spirit leading and guiding content (or at least we should be!). We hear stories all the time about people being impacted by something that was said or sung on the air that God used to touch their lives. That component is lost with AI.
In your Christian Radio career, what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?
It’s totally fine to reach out to others in the industry with questions! And even if someone is at a larger station with a different culture, we can still learn from each other and adapt ideas for our area.
You’ve interviewed many Christian artists over the years, who’s been your favorite and why?
Ben Fuller – he was very attentive and cared just as much about our ministry as we did about his. After the interview, he asked if he could pray for the station. Instead of rushing out the door, he took a few minutes for a heartfelt prayer for The Connection.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
I am still fairly new to this industry, so everyone I have met the last few years who have invested time and given me advice is a hero! I am constantly amazed at the supportive atmosphere in Christian Radio. No one looks down at me because I have a very small station. John Owens and Chris Lemke have been mentors for me the past few years. We are currently working with Jack Eason and his Heart Share Group as well.
Prior to me coming to work in radio, one of my radio heroes was Dave Masters. He had the morning show at the Christian station I used to listen to prior to The Connection’s inception. He was funny when needed, serious when needed, etc. I was able to meet Dave at an event and we formed a friendship. I had no idea back then that I would someday be GM of a Christian station, let alone one in my beloved hometown! Dave is no longer in Christian radio, but we still occasionally stay in touch. He is just a text away if I need his input!