So your first thought is, has Bill been drinking? The answer is no. Over the last few years we’ve heard over and over that the music is everything. I really want to challenge that thinking today. This discussion came up today while having launch with another radio guy here in town. I am sure Paul Anthony would prefer to remain anonymous, so I’ll keep his name out of this article and just refer to Paul as a friend.
I had the privilege of being a part of Christian radio when stations began switching over to all music. My first Christian radio station that I worked at full-time was in 1983. WCIE was in the Tampa / Orlando area. We played mostly music and very little talk. That was unheard of back in 1983. Not only where we playing mostly music but we were playing contemporary music. A few other stations across the United States where beginning to do this as well, not many but the movement was growing.
If you were to attend a radio seminar back in the day, being a radio station playing contemporary music would have been the main discussion. I don’t believe the conversation was “it’s All about the music”, it was about how we were going to use this new music format as a tool in order to reach younger families for Christ. We had a vision for our community and those who lived in it. Over the years we have gone from using the music format as a tool that helps us get the message of hope out to being our only product. Just because you are a music station doesn’t mean you have a vision it means you have a product.
So what is your vision beyond the music? Why are you a Christian music station? There has to be a deeper reason why God has placed you in your community. I am thinking God has raised your station up to be more than a juke box. I get the fact that the music is powerful but what is the vision for your station? Again, back in 1983 it was to use the tool of music to reach young families with the message of hope. The music gave us a platform to raise food for the hungry, encourage the hurting, raising toys for the poor, bringing hope to those who needed to be set free. Never was it just all about the music…music was the tool God gave us to reach the broken hearted.
Over the years our announcers have been reduced to those who give us the name of the song, time and temp. We’ve encouraged them not to get in the way of the music. No longer were they being challenged to be great story tellers, communicators and connecting with the listener in a life changing way. We hear don’t stop the music, don’t talk too much, don’t share a story but play a song etc…get to the next hit. I understand this is not 100 percent across the board but it is true for many stations.
I’m not here to say music isn’t important but we need to make sure we are using it as a tool in order to fulfill the vision God gave your station. Lets not let a great tool that God has given us become our only product. Your listeners are tuned into your station because they want you to encourage them in their faith, others who happen to hear your station, are looking for hope. Nobody is confusing your station with the Top 40 station in town. So lets not hide the hope we have for them and their family. Have a vision that will change lives.