Why did you get into Christian radio?
Maybe you started on the mainstream side and decided to pursue something with a deeper purpose. Or perhaps you began in Christian radio decades ago with a clear calling to share the gospel and haven’t looked back. No matter what brought you here, you’re here now and for such a time as this.
Over a third of adults report being lonely, anxious, and disconnected. In addition, seventy-six percent of parents report that they are somewhat or seriously concerned about their child struggling with anxiety and depression. Christian radio is uniquely equipped to provide listeners with companionship, hope, and connection to God and each other.
The future of the radio industry as a whole is bleak because the utility of radio has diminished since its inception over 100 years ago. It began as an exclusive source of real-time information, entertainment, and connection to the world. However, first, television, then the internet replaced radio as most people’s primary source of entertainment and information. Now, the last remaining advantage of radio is our ability to form connections with our listeners.
Will we continue to rise to the challenge? It’s not getting any easier. Why should people listen to your station, let alone donate? As fundraising consultants, we [Vidare] get asked all the time how to raise more money, and our answer is always, “if you want to raise more money, you have to be worth more.” Put another way, your station’s net worth is its network. The more meaningful connections you make, the greater your capacity for generating revenue.
Here a three practical steps you can take to be worth more to your listeners:
- Create a sonically delightful listening experience. This is non-negotiable. Everything that comes out of the speakers must be designed to create an emotionally compelling experience. Not a minute is wasted. There are no throw-away breaks or phoned-in production elements. (See also: Lee Abrams’ brilliant piece on The Magic of Sound.)
- Invite listeners to join you on mission to solve a tangible need in your community. For example, you could partner with a local food pantry to collect and distribute food to people in need.
- Curate encouragement. Instagram and Tiktok don’t produce the content that generates an audience. They curate it. Christian radio doesn’t need to generate all its own content. Find local podcasters, Pastors, or other interesting people who know how to be compelling and give them a platform on your website and app to offer encouragement.
Whatever your reason for getting into Christian radio, you are needed now more than ever to use your unique gifts to help listeners feel connected to a community where they are known and loved. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it. Thank you for what you do.