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Feature InterviewInterviews

Nic Ferguson Interview

Nic Ferguson
President/GM
KDUV – Spirit 88.9
Visalia, CA

Career Capsule: I just hit 40 years old, to some of you that is ancient and to some of you that is still a pup.  I think the nice thing about being 40 is that I am able to own that I don’t know everything and yet able to say I know a little. I believe that’s called perspective. I only open with all of that to say, it has been fun to reflect on my job history and see how each one gave me an experience/life lesson that I use to this very day.  I was a clerk/cashier and pharmacy tech at Longs Drug Stores.  I was a Reserve Deputy for Fresno County Sheriff’s while I attended Fresno State. I was a high school outreach pastor while in Bible College. A youth pastor who ended up running a music venue out of the church in Merced, Ca.  A financial advisor for Northwestern Mutual trained in verbiage of the sale and not taking no for an answer.  A director of student ministry for a multi site mega church managing staff who managed teams.  An exec pastor at a church overseeing facilities, operations, volunteers, finance, etc.  Exec Pastor is a great title for “what the head pastor doesn’t want to do”!  And this all brought me into the role of General Manager of KDUV Spirit 88.9/100.1 in February of 2021. 

 

Nic, tell us what’s new at KDUV… any news, changes etc… and what’s new with YOU?

In one word, Everything.  When you take over a station with 30 years of radio history, and you have well none, then everything is new with, for, around, etc you get the picture.  I didn’t come into some start up station, I came into a station with 30 years of history here in the Valley of California.  We call that a legacy.  At KDUV, we are building on that legacy.  “The Best Is Yet To Come” is our battle cry.  We have remodeled the offices.  We have built new studios.  We have new staff.  New equipment.  New vision founded on the legacy of 30 years of ministering to the valley and that’s what we intend to do for another 30 years.     

 

How do you balance work & family, how important is it for someone in Christian Radio to ‘have a life”?

Coming out of church ministry, I have found it much easier to balance work/family.  It was probably my first month on the job when I realized how few times I was getting a text/email, etc that would have to pull me away from the dinner table or set me into a mood or spiral of other things that I would have to do.  If you are struggling with that balance, boundaries are a great thing!  

 

Tell us about your transition to GM in Christian Radio…. challenges, surprises, what did you learn?

I have learned that the mission of the Church and the mission of radio SHOULD be the same; reach more and more people for Jesus!  The challenges of the station and Church ministry are often the same as well; People!   Honestly, the biggest surprise has been the community in Christian Radio.  I have made friends so quickly with so many people across the country.  Men and women have been quick to help me with resources, connections, advice, prayers, you name it!   The “for each other” ness of Christian radio is something I have really appreciated and truly admire.  I hope to not mess that up for ya’ll.  

 

What’s something you’ve learned about Christian Radio due to the pandemic, that you didn’t know before?

I started in Feb 2021 so depending on your timeline that was post or mid pandemic.  I think something most managers noticed is the difficulty of “returning to normal” post 2020.  Lets be honest, “survival mode” was what most of us went into and trying to get people out of that mentality is tough.  

 

Where do you see Christian radio  in 5 years?  

I’m new to Radio and for some of you that may mean you dismiss what I’m about to say, but I think the next 5 years are crucial for every station to establish a plan on where they are going to be in 15.  If the answer is “we are going to keep doing what we’ve always done” and there is not a real focus on streaming, digital content, localization, community impact, partnerships, etc then I believe that the end will be coming for your call letters.  

 

What is a unique characteristic for your market (or station), that many wouldn’t know about?

We are actually in the Bible belt of California and yes California has a Bible belt!  From Bakersfield to Fresno, there are a lot of unreached people who need Jesus but there are a lot of hard working God fearing Church going people who love Jesus and love this station.  

 

Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio? 

We aren’t losing the war against streaming, we have lost the war.  Typically, those who are in a position to create/innovate aren’t creating for what is current but what will be and when someone tells me radios won’t be in cars in 10 years, I believe them.  I rented a car in Nashville last week and I couldn’t find the radio on the dash but my phone sure was easy to sync and start streaming.  We have a window to fight, adapt, adjust, and that’s what I plan to do.  

 

Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why? 

Honestly, my heroes are anyone who 30+ years ago said I’m going to start a radio station.  For KDUV, our heroes are Bob and Judy Peart who sold their grape orchards to reach the youth with teaching and music for Jesus.  What an amazing legacy.  What a risk.  What an innovative time that must have been.  My influences in radio are so many of you who know my name and have taken a call, text, email from me to walk me through something.  Who have stopped during momentum to share a nugget over the last year and a half with me.  Without a doubt, I am a sponge still and I am listening.  I will name drop one person, Rob Wagman, who told me “Nic your greatest gift is that you are not a radio guy, don’t become a radio guy, just keep it about the people”.  That’s the goal, changing lives for Jesus, making His name great, and so many of you have helped me figure out how to do that better, and for that I am thankful.  

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