Kelly Gilbert Interview
Radio Marketing Coordinator/Program Producer
Career Capsule: My career in radio started as a student at Cedarville University, doing an on air shift and helping out with promotions at Resound, our student station. I then interned at TWR the summer after I graduated. I spent a few years after that doing weekend shifts at WEEC Hope 100.7FM in Xenia, OH, and eventually became a part of the morning show team. After two years of that, I came back to TWR, where I now serve full time in Cary, NC.
Kelly, tell us what’s new at TWR… any news, changes etc… and what’s new with YOU?
One exciting new are of ministry is happening in Singapore. We recently went on the air through an FM signal located in Indonesia, with the purpose of ministering to the people of Singapore where there is no other Christian radio. We also recently hit our 150th language in India. We’re always exploring new ideas and opportunities, and that’s one of the things I enjoy about my team in particular. We’re always dreaming things up! Who knows what all 2023 will hold in store.
How do you balance work & family, how important is it for someone in Christian Radio to ‘have a life”?
Family has always been highly valued and important in my life, as well as whatever community I surround myself with. As someone who doesn’t live near any family, it takes a bit of effort to retain solid relationships, but it’s something I do gladly. I make the time for phone calls and regular visits to see my parents and sisters, and there’s always the ongoing family group text. No matter who you are, work/life balance is important. Relationships matter, and God created us to have them. Having that foundation and support is a big part of what got me to where I am today. And fun family stories also make for some pretty great on-air content every now and then.
Why would a Christian radio station want to be involved with TWR, in what ways, and how can they go about that?
TWR does exactly what Christian radio does but on a global scale. We broadcast the gospel in over 300 languages and in 190 countries. Partnering with us means getting the gospel into places that we can’t physically go. It means you and your listeners are taking part in the work that Jesus laid out for us – to go into all the world and preach the gospel. We do on air campaigns with radio stations here in the US to further our ministry around the world. In 2022, we raised funds for radios to be distributed in Africa, for ministry aid for Ukraine, for a new program in Africa and Asia, and for new studio equipment in Malawi. If a station wanted to partner with us through a campaign (either in person or remote), they could talk to me or just reach out to John Summerville, and he’d be happy to discuss details.
What’s something you’ve learned due to the pandemic, about Christian Radio, that you didn’t know before?
One of the things that became so apparent to me during the pandemic was how Christian radio meets a need that the mainstream media doesn’t. It provides genuine hope because it points to Christ. In all the bad news and uncertainty, secular media can’t do much to expel the fear that people have. But a station that’s primary goal is to spread the hope of the gospel can speak directly to that fear and offer peace and comfort in a way that secular ones can’t.
What are your thoughts on podcasting, How do podcasts play an important part of TWR spreading the Gospel?
I think it’s a space we need to be in. If it’s where people are searching for answers, we should be there presenting the gospel. There’s so much potential in that arena, and TWR is only just breaking into it. We have one show called Real Talk in Europe that primarily focuses on talking through life’s hard questions with the millennial generation in mind. You can read more about it as well as why it’s important for us to utilize this form of media at twr.org/project/real-talk.
In what areas of the world would you like to see TWR expand?
I’d love to see us do more in the podcast realm. There’s a lot of potential there as well as an audience. TWR’s ministry has spent the last seventy-plus years adapting and utilizing new technology as it comes along to further the gospel, and the podcast world is the next place to go.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christians?
We are always searching for solid, biblical content and teachers to air and translate. As some of the greats grow older, the question of who comes along to fill that space is there. And as we rely on listeners to fund the work that we do, the question routinely comes up about how we get the next generation on board and participating in ministry through giving. Thankfully, we’ve seen the Lord provide up to this point, so I have faith that he will continue to!
Who are your career heroes and influences? and why?
I think part of the reason I studied broadcasting and media in school was because of my dad. He’s been a journalist my whole life and continues to be even as he teaches it to the next generation as a professor. I never set out to do what he does, but I can’t deny that it had some form of influence over where I ended up. Another person would be one of my professors from my days at Cedarville. Many people in this industry either know or were similarly impacted by Jim Leightenheimer, and I’m grateful for the chats and the prayers and the consistent support that he’s shown me since my college days. I’m thankful for the way he’s continued to root for and encourage me over the years.