Member Spotlight – Connie VanKleeck

What led you to a career in the radio industry?
I was the youngest of five children – the baby, who was 8 years behind my last sibling – so by the time I wasin junior high school I was the only child home. As a teen I’d spend many hours in my room listening to top 40’s radio…it was my companion. Though I was raised in a mainline denominational church, I hadn’t known that I was a sinner who needed a Savior. Through a series of God-ordained events from high school graduation and through the summer I became a follower of Christ and started attending a new church that had an active youth group and college age group. One of the guys there introduced me to many different Christian artists I didn’t know existed: Sweet Comfort Band, Imperials, Petra, Randy Stonehill, Phil Keaggy, Keith Green, etc… I soaked it up! During my first year of college, I was discipled by some young people active in Campus Crusade for Christ and as I thought about my new love of Christian music and the fact that I had grown up listening to radio, it seemed a perfect fit! I switched my major from business to journalism at the state school I was attending, and then applied to Moody Bible Institute. I was accepted to their Communications/Broadcasting program for the next year. After graduation, I was married to my husband, Steve, who was from Kingston, NY. The Sound of Life’s flagship station (WFGB – Kingston) had just gone on the air a year and a half before that and I was very excited when I was hired initially to do some part-time board operation in June of 1986.

What advice would you give people new to the business?
Everyone has their own special talents and giftings and you probably have a specific area of radio that you feel called to… but I’d say, try not to be so narrowly focused that you’re unwilling to do other things that need to be done at your station. Being willing to help where needed was the way I learned as much as I know now about our ministry and radio operations. And along with that, is being willing to learn new things in this changing industry… I’ve learned so much working at the Sound of Life, and I know there will continue to be more to learn!

Give a shoutout to someone who is making a difference in radio and what are they doing to make an impact.
My shout out goes not to one specific person but to Christian Music Broadcasters! We operated as “lone rangers” here in the Northeast for so many years! When we learned that CMB existed, and we started participating, we found so much to help us learn and grow. Whoever had the idea to start the email forums deserves a shout out. I love that I can pose a question and learn from so many others around the country as they are willing to take time to answer the questions and give input. It’s an awesome blessing!

Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
Well, I’ve been the general manager of the Sound of Life for a little over three years now. Prior to that I’d been the Promotions Director, but had been around the station for so long (33 years in June) that I’ve done most of the jobs at one point or another. I guess I seemed like the most logical person to do the job, but I had never had aspirations for the position. I was content to remain in a supporting position, but was willing to step in when needed. I’m thankful to God that He’s given me strength to step up to the task and I pray that He’ll give me the strength, creativity, insight and leadership to keep going if that is His will.

Tell us about a story of a Christian song that made a difference in your life or the life of a listener.
Wow! In 33 years of being at the Sound of Life, there have been a lot of great songs that have meant a lot to me. But if I had to pick a recent one, I’d have to say it’s Natalie Grant’s song: “More Than Anything”. I’ve always struggled with the concept of wanting God to grant all my desires, prayers, etc… and dealing with the “why” if He doesn’t. The words of that song are spot on for me: “Help me want the Healer more than healing, help me want the Savior more than the saving, help me want the Giver more than the giving… help me want you Jesus more than anything!” That’s my prayer!

Connie VanKleeck
The Sound of Life– General Manager
CMB Member Since 2016

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