KSBJ Educational Foundation
President/CEO of KSBJ, NGEN, Special Events & TicketServant (April 2018 – present)
VP of Operations, KSBJ, NGEN (December 2017 – March 2018)
Educational Media Foundation:
Director of Stewardship & Donor Communication, K-LOVE/Air1 (February 2016 – November 2017)
Director of Pledge Drives & Donor Communication, K-LOVE/Air1 (February 2015 – January 2016)
Columbia International University:
Director of Broadcasting, WRCM/Charlotte, NC & WMHK/Columbia, SC (2008 – 2014)
General Manager, WRCM/Charlotte, NC (2000-2008)
Various positions, WRCM/Charlotte, NC (1994-1999)
Middle school math teacher, Charlotte, NC (1992-1996)
Part-time announcer, WBRG – Lynchburg, VA (1990-1991)
Joe, tell us what’s new at KSBJ.. news, changes, & with YOU… etc?
We are in the midst of the greatest growth in outreach that KSBJ has ever experienced. In late 2018, we wrapped up a $5MM capital campaign that is enabling us to expand our signal coverage of “The Golden Triangle” of southeast Texas. Once all of the signal improvements and expansions are completed, we will have added 2.3 million more people under the KSBJ signals, resulting in a total population served of approximately 7 million people. This 50% increase has been a long-time dream come true!
This year, we’ve created two new departments that are the foundation for our future: digital content and data analytics. These are crucial to enable us to reach more people beyond terrestrial radio and in ways that are most meaningful to them. We’re in our infancy in these territories, but I could not be more excited about the direction we are headed and the people we have leading the charge here.
A big change for us recently has been the “release” of KSBJ Mentoring. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but it was the right direction for us to go in order to be laser-focused on our direct-to-the-heart mission. We’re humbled at how God has used KSBJ Mentoring over the past 12 years to help positively influence other ministries around the world and here in the USA. I chose the word “release” on purpose, but it is not simply being shut down. We are working behind the scenes on a plan that will allow the principles of mentoring we believe in so strongly to carry on and even flourish beyond what we could do through KSBJ.
What was most surprising to you after arriving at KSBJ?
I’ve been consistently amazed at how integrated into all levels of the community KSBJ is. This is a tremendous credit to Tim McDermott and all of the other leaders and staff who’ve worked so hard over the years to establish connections and build an incredibly strong brand in Houston and the surrounding areas. To have the mayor of the nation’s 4th largest city serve on the KSBJ President’s Council, to have a Houston Texan football player and his wife serve on a capital campaign committee, to have an Uber driver be listening to KSBJ while driving our consultant to the station and a different Uber driver two days later listening to NGEN while taking the same consultant to the airport – well, those are things we don’t take for granted and they demonstrate to me just how God has woven KSBJ into the fabric of southeast Texas. Simultaneously, I’m surprised by the astounding opportunities for growth that still exist for us.
Generally speaking, what are the biggest obstacles facing KSBJ?
I think by the word “obstacles” you really mean “opportunities.” Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, could have viewed the lion as an obstacle, but he instead chased it down into a pit and killed it (See 2 Samuel 23:20). By the way, Mark Batterson’s book, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day is excellent preparation material for tackling obstacles. And, to put in a shameless plug for CMB’s Momentum this September, Mark will be one of our speakers.
Back to opportunities, KSBJ has two large opportunities we are chasing down right now. The first is common to our industry. That is, how are we going to shift away from viewing ourselves as radio people, a broadcasting industry, to rather viewing ourselves as we really are: content providers… with myriad platforms at our disposal for distribution to reach audiences. We are beginning that transformation now at KSBJ because it is critical to surviving and thriving years from now. The second opportunity we are seizing is a future home for KSBJ. We are currently maxed out in our existing buildings and if we don’t do something soon, it will impact our ability to function the way we need to.
Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?
There are several ways to interpret this question. Rather than delving into ratings data, revenue potential and business strategies, I will assume “better” in the question means that a market’s population is flanked by more opportunities to grow deeper with God. An astute business leader will always prefer a monopoly, of course. However, a mission-driven, Kingdom-oriented leader will always celebrate more people and organizations working to draw people to Christ. The question is really are we in this more for protecting our existing territory or are we in this to drag, stretch, pull, cajole, compel and entice as many people into a deeper relationship with Almighty God. Godly stewardship demands that we work as hard as possible to make our respective ministries as excellent as they can be to lead our markets above all others, but we should celebrate anyone, any church and any ministry truly committed to reaching others with the gospel.
What is the ONE thing you must have every day to do your job?
My phone. Everything is on the phone – the Bible, navigation, email, contacts, text messages, reading material, news, podcasts, our content apps/streams, you name it.
In what area do you believe Christian Radio needs to improve most?
We need to stop making ourselves the hero and stop talking like we do in church. If we focus more on what people need, want and value, and if they feel like they are the center of our attention, we’ll have a much broader appeal without sacrificing anything related to our mission and beliefs. Without question, this is a broad generalization because some in our industry are doing this well now.
What is the best managerial advice you’ve been given? The worst?
There are quite a few great pieces of advice I’ve been given over the years, but my most recent favorite is, “Eat the fish and spit out the bones.” There’s a lot of wisdom in that little gem.
The worst? The worst is not what was said outright to me, but the example I was shown. Many years ago when I was making minimum wage, I had a manager who procrastinated on giving me the raise I had been asking for. He finally brought me into his office one day and told me he was going to give me that raise I so desperately wanted. It was only days later that I discovered the government had raised the minimum wage requirement and he HAD TO give me a raise.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
I gladly carry a piece of each boss I’ve ever had. I’ve admired every single one of them and have gained so much from their varied experiences, personality styles and leadership traits. Anytime I get to talk about radio influences, I can’t help but mention Ken Mayfield. He worked tirelessly to make a CCM station in Charlotte a reality in 1993 and demonstrated vision, unending energy and mission-focused passion through it all. He also took a chance on hiring a young middle school math teacher with virtually no radio background, but he saw something there beneath the surface. Over the 5 years or so we worked together, he sowed a lot into me and did everything he could to set me up for success well beyond his time at WRCM. Then there is Gary Morland who I hired in 2003. Talk about a mission-driven man! He left a successful career in country radio because something deep inside him was burning to do something spiritually significant. He’s a thinker. He takes notes. He pauses to reflect. He’s oddly quiet at times and then BOOM – he speaks. The result is wisdom and purpose that is rather uncommon. Few people know more than Gary about how to weave spiritual influence into what you do on the radio. I’ve always admired that about him. Plus, when you spend any length of time around him, you walk away wanting to know Jesus more… and that’s about the highest compliment one can give.