Feature InterviewInterviews

Sally Barton Interview 5-6-16

interview-sally-barton2016Sally Barton
General Manager
KNOT Arizona Shine

Career Capsule: Sally Barton has served as Station Manager for Arizona Shine for 5 ½ years. Her career in radio began in 1992 eventually becoming Executive Producer for the Family Life Communications’ nationally syndicated “Parent Talk” radio program featuring Dr. Randy Carlson & Dr. Kevin Leman now known as “Intentional Living.”

Sally was recruited to create and launch The Presidential Prayer Team at God’s perfect timing just days before 9/11 providing an opportunity for the nation to unite in prayer.

Joining Arizona Shine in 2011 as Station Manager, Sally lead the station team and listening family to receiving two “Station of the Year” awards and through an ownership change, eventual sale of the three original signals and is now enjoying the blessing of leading the station into new ownership with Great Circle Media and welcoming back the station support family for the three new signals.  Sally’s great joy is found in her roles as wife, mom and grandma. Her life focus is communicating a message of hope, joy and peace provided by the saving grace of Jesus. 

1.  Sally, tell us what’s new at Arizona Shine/KNOT?

Under our new leadership – see question #2 – we have increased our outreach to our local communities. We have established quarterly community based efforts that include “Arizona’s Biggest Baby Shower” benefiting our local CPCs and a Food Drive to fill our local community cupboards, a Back-to-school literacy campaign and ending the year with a coat drive we call a “Gift of Warmth.” We are enjoying this increased focus on impacting our community in a practical way providing opportunities for our listening family to be active in their faith along with us.

2. Tell us about the transition to the new “Arizona Shine.”

The last four years have been a time of transition for this radio station. Arizona Shine was recognized as the “CMB Small Market Station Of The Year 2013,” Certified as a “Best Christian Workplace” in 2014 and received the “NRB 2015 Station Of The Year” award. Simultaneously the station and our staff experienced a change of ownership and eventual sale of the three original signals.

We mourned the loss of those signals and planned for impending end of our Arizona Shine. Glory to God alone, an army of station listeners did not want to let their local Christian station go. They took the story of the impending sale to the streets. Roger and Nancy Anderson, owners of Northern Arizona-based Great Circle Media learned of the plight and provided three signals allowing Arizona Shine to continue broadcasting.
In faith we held a beautiful “funeral” for our original signals paying tribute to the prayerful support family, celebrating the hope and joy in Jesus these signals had provided for over 20 years.

Friday night October 16, 2015 the “switch was flipped” but God wasn’t finished with us yet – we were back on the air on our new signals Monday morning. Praise God for His provision! We broadcast on three new signals now and are successfully rebuilding our donor base of support.

3. What is the best programming advice you’ve been given? The worst?

“What do people remember about your radio station?  What is memorable gives light to what is meaningful.  What is meaningful—thinking–is what they care about—feeling.  What they care about determines how much they’ll care about your station.”  -John Frost

4. Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?

Well, what will be will be – that to say we are in a small market, Flagstaff/Prescott, and I believe there are five Christian stations for listeners to choose from. Each is unique and reaches people with the Truth of God’s Word through music and conversation. I believe if a station is honoring the Lord with excellence and programming that is relevant and captivating, He will provide for the needs of that station – I know because my team and I are living and experiencing His provision against all odds.

5. What is the ONE thing you must have every day to do your job?

God’s Word, joy in Jesus that transcends circumstance, coffee, friendship – ONE thing??? Okay, John 15 – the whole chapter, check it out you’ll be glad you did!

6. Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?

The streets of life – our mid-day host literally walked in our front door because she loves the ability of radio to build relationship, I hired her on the spot and that was three years ago. She offers friendship and with a humble spirit, shares life’s trials and joys with her listeners and they love her for her “realness.”

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

Apathy, but that’s our own “fault” we must fill a void that digital can’t – and that is a delicate balance isn’t it?! For me, it comes back to a word I have used throughout this questionnaire; relationship; music they look forward to hearing and conversation that is relevant, captivating, and relatable. Friendship that causes listeners to think, “I wonder what Fred is up to today…”

8. Who are your radio heroes and influences? Why?

Wow, I have been blessed by the kindness of so many. My initial love for radio was sparked by a secular Phoenix DJ, Bill Haywood, who first modeled what it means to be a friend through radio. Dr. Randy Carlson who modeled excellence in radio production and staff management. Chris Lemke has been a friend since my days producing Parent Talk – he has been there for me to lend advice and encouragement especially in the early days of stepping into the role of Station Manager. Chuck Finney has an uncanny ability to know when I need a second brain, the phone rings and there he is asking how he can help. Terese Main who guides just by living out her love for the Lord. I am so very grateful to be counted among all y’all radio/media professionals, living life out loud in a way that encourages our listeners to grow in their faith.

4 thoughts on “Sally Barton Interview 5-6-16

  • It has been a truly amazing and blessed journey to walk with you through these last 36 years and to see how God is faithful to provide in every circumstance. To watch you and your team at AZ Shine walk by faith each day and to see how you have trusted Him for the outcome is a huge blessing to me and to all who know you. I know your heart and I know you say, “To God be the glory, great things He has done!”

    So very proud of you and so blessed to call you my wife.

  • Sally- y’all do a great job and are an inspiration to so many who seek to great local radio.

  • Good thoughts, Sally! I do believe that to many Christian stations in the same market — especially listener supported stations will have a negative impact on each other and the community as a whole. While it good for a community to have a good selection of stations/formats to choose from however the question becomes — CAN and WILL the local community financially support more than one or two stations? Especially, small and midsize markets where the economies are generally weaker than the big metro areas.

    Competition can be good but to much can be devastating for the local industry and the community. While the giants produce good radio which is great for the industry but what will happen in the future to Christian radio when the economy goes south (far south) and the giants are unable to pay tower rent, license fees, and the hometown stations have sold-out because they were no longer able to compete?

    Lets keep local Christian radio strong for the cause by being friendly with each other and not trying to buy-up the neighborhood to dominate the dial. There’s lots of communities in America and around the world in need of a good Christian station. Support those communities in need and help fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus. You will be planting a good seed! The LORD bless you!


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