Member Spotlight – Janet Cherry

What led you to a career in the radio industry?

I hate to answer with “the God card”, but God clearly led me to a career in the radio industry. I started listening to Christian radio in high school – some of my favorite artists were  4Him, Geoff Moore and the Distance, Jars of Clay, Rich Mullins, Point of Grace, and so many more!

My career path was not a straight line into the radio industry. Most of my career has been within the technology industry in Organizational Development and Human Resources or other leadership positions. Although I’ve had a career in the business arena, I’ve served in ministry for over 30 years within our church and para church organizations (Young Life for example).

K-LOVE and Air1 have always been on my preset dials and I’ve been a fan of the stations before I was ever thinking about joining the ministry. When I was looking for a job, I noticed EMF was hiring. As a fan of the K-LOVE and Air1, I was so excited about the possibility of working here. There was one glitch – the position that was open was a significant step down for my career and a significant reduction in pay. I remember talking with my friends about the position and one of them boldly told me if I took the job I would be “committing career suicide”. My husband and I prayed about the opportunity and agreed we could afford for me to take the job for a year. We would see what God had in store and re-evaluate after the year was finished.

Well…nearly 12 years later and several different roles within EMF, I can clearly say God led me to the position and this ministry. It was a step of faith that I’ve never regretted! I love the radio industry and love being able to serve in ministry vocationally. What we do matters and makes a difference in millions of lives and in our culture. It’s incredibly rewarding!

What advice would you give people new to the business?

Learn as much as you can through experience and others. Spend time with people at all levels of the organization and within the industry. Christian Radio is more than radio. There are so many opportunities for people new to the business to impact the radio industry within radio and in other areas such as streaming, digital, donor relations, events and community involvement.

Give a shout-out to someone who is making a difference in radio and what are they doing to make an impact?

I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the best in our industry. I’ve been mentored by Alan Mason and Mike Novak. I was introduced to Programming by David Pierce and continue to learn from Randy Chase. I’ve learned Broadcast Engineering from Sam Wallington and have been part of our station expansion with Joe Miller. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Godly and talented people like Joe Paulo, Lisa Williams, Paul Goldsmith, Brant and Sheri, and so many more! I can’t give a shout-out to any one person. When I think of how many are making a difference in Christian radio – I’m so proud to be involved in this industry. There are so many people dedicated to serving and sharing the hope of Jesus through the airwaves.  

Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

The projects that have had the most significance to me have been around the development of people. The accomplishments I’m most proud of involve other people finding their calling and thriving in their roles.

A specific project that stands out happened a few years ago. I worked with a team to roll out our Leadership Philosophy – what we expect from our leaders at EMF and a 360 tool that measures how we’re doing. Most of the time a 360 review (where you are reviewed by your boss, your boss’s boss, your peers, your team members, and others) is an anxiety inducing, run for the hills event. Its purpose is to understand a 360-degree perspective of your leadership so that you can focus your development and get even better.

What’s been significant is that our staff embraces this tool and the follow up training we provide (we have a wait list of leaders wanting this review). Our team takes the feedback to heart and we see growth in their leadership. It’s become part of our culture.

Tell us about a story of a Christian song that made a difference in your life or the life of a listener.

The most recent song that made a difference in my life and the life of a close friend is Zach Williams, Fear is a Liar. I have a dear friend that is struggling in her faith. We live about 5 hours apart from each other. She will occasionally attend church online with me, but other than that she isn’t active in her faith. She has difficult life circumstances that have her stuck in a cycle of fear, insecurity and depression. I sent her Zach’s song and the words to the song. God used that song to soften her heart. I’ve slowly seen her begin to let go of her fears and begin to trust that regardless of her circumstances she can experience joy.

Janet Cherry
Chief Operating Officer, K-LOVE & Air1
CMB Gold Member since 2017

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