Member Spotlight – Jim McDermott

What led you to a career in the radio industry?

I was in seminary in 1976, planning to be a college Bible teacher. My wife and I daily watched the 700 Club and I caught the vision of reaching so many more people through Christian broadcasting. After graduating, I would have loved getting a job in Christian TV or film, but the door that opened was radio. Career path: Nightime DJ, to DJ/News Director, to Station Manager, to finally starting my own station in 1985. But I realized about 20 years ago that Christian radio is the best broadcast medium because we have the resources to be as good as any other station on the dial.

What advice would you give people new to the business?

1) Radio is about emotionally connecting with people. To be good in radio, you have to be a “people person.” 2) Learn as much as you can about computers! Radio stations use computers for just about everything. 3) Radio is lots of different jobs. Being on the air is just one of them. Your strength may be there or it may be in another very vital area. Don’t limit your vision. Contribute in the best way you can to the overall success of the station. 4) Have a vision! Yes, you need to follow the vision of your leaders, but you should also be thinking of where you want to be and what you will be doing in 5, 10, or 20 years

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

Bill Scott, and his Men in Radio Facebook group, is making many of us rethink how we do Christian radio. Bill also helps so many of us be better at fundraising.  Brian Sanders, with PAR, is doing everything he can to make this industry better. He challenges me all the time. Brant Hanson is a “prophetic voice” for us all, making us examine our practices, our motives and our real connection to God. I can’t leave out Jon Hull. Jon has given me so much great advice over the years, which he has done for hundreds of others in this industry. Christian radio all over the world would not be as good as it is today without Jon Hull.

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

As one of the founding board members of CMB, looking back, that is probably the most significant thing I have had a part in. While I’m not famous and my stations are small market, I still got to play a formative role. I am so proud to be a part of an organization that has been a major force in the success Christian radio over the last 10 years

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

After 34 years at Spirit FM, I could write a book on this one. I will tell you my own personal story. In his latter years, my dad was sick often because of an autoimmune disease, myasthenia gravis. One time when visiting, his white count plummeted (.7 out of 10) and we had to take him to the hospital. The doctor told him that if they couldn’t get it back up, he would die. I still remember that phone call and driving to the hospital in tears. The radio was on and Steve Camp’s song, “He’s All You Need,” was playing. God was assuring me whether my dad lived or died, that HE was enough for me. I will never forget the day my own station played the right song at the right time.

Jim McDermott
KCVO /President & GM
CMB Gold Member Since 2013

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