Member Spotlight – Jonathan Unthank

What is your favorite song?
I’m in this #throwback phase right now, so I’ll go with Lifehouse- “Hanging By A Mo-ment”.  Otherwise, my favorites are what my kids are currently singing at home…

Emmaline (2 yrs. old)— “The Wheels On The Bus”, or “Baby Shark (do-do-do-do-do)”

Evelyn (7yrs. old)—Lauren Daigle- “You Say”

Daniel (11yrs. old)—whatever the playlist is on NBA2K18

What is the last book you’ve read?
John Maxwell– Learning From The Giants: Life And Leadership Lessons From The Bible

What led you to a career in radio?
It all began in 1990…8th grade career day was what sparked it all!  A local DJ came to talk about what it was like working in broadcast media.  I have always loved Christian music from a young age, and on that day it just clicked.  I will always remember that day as the beginning of the call of God on my life.  I focused on journalism in high school as the Music Editor of the school newspaper, studied Broadcasting at The University Of Tennessee, Knoxville, and start-ed my professional career as Music Director at WYLV (Love 89) in Knoxville immediately after college graduation.  That’s where it all started…  20+ years later, and still thankful to be able to share my passion for Christian music, The Gospel, and life as Music Director of The Light (WMIT/WFGW).

What advice would you give people new to the business?

  1. Soak it all in. Be a utility player. Be willing to do anything. You never know when you could be called on to fill an immediate opening.
  2. Go into every day believing God can use your little and make it much in your listener’s lives.
  3. It’s not ALL about you. Stay humble, work hard, focus on meeting needs in your community, and you will feel an incredible sense of satisfaction in your work.

Give a shoutout to someone who is making a difference in radio and what are they do-ing to make an impact?
I’m going to give a shoutout to every person in CCM radio who faithfully gets up every morning to do a job that may not be their ultimate dream job, but it is where God is currently using them and their gifts. They have a deep connection and calling to their city or community, and they are relentless in sharing God’s love every day. Those are the heroes and difference makers in Christian radio!

How do you refresh your creative energy at work?
Calling my kids and seeing how their day is going.  There is nothing like hearing your 2 year old run to the phone, and say “Hey Daddy!”…  Instant refreshment!

Amazon Echo or Google Home?
Amazon Echo, except when Alexa blurts out randomly in the middle of the night. A little freaky… Anyone else had that happen?

What is your favorite part of your job?
Choosing music that encourages and makes someone’s day. A song can change every-thing! When I can be a part of creating a meaningful experience for someone who tunes in, it makes my day. It drives me to do my best! It doesn’t feel like a job, it truly is a daily ministry.

Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?

I like listening to those who tell it like it is. Flaws and all. That shows me there is a human on the other side of the radio, and someone who is just like me who needs God’s grace every day. Brant Hansen, Wally, Lisa Williams, Colleen Addair

What was your last non-industry job?
2007-2014: Director Of Family Ministries, Calvary Baptist Church- Knoxville

2011-2014: Boys & Girls Club, Knoxville–Teaching kids how to operate their own online radio station. God showed up many times in those experiences. Priceless!

Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
1999: Fresh out of college, and helped create a live and local radio ministry from the ground up.  WYLV Love 89 served the Knoxville community for over 11 years.

2018: During the week after his death, being able to program the music to honor Billy Graham and his life on The Light (WMIT), the radio station he founded 50+ years ago. A special privilege.

Teach me something I don’t know in the next five minutes.
If your power goes out for a long time, fill your washer with the ice from the ice trays/ice maker from your freezer.  Then put in all of your food that needs to stay cold, until the power comes back on. Then as the ice melts it goes through your washing machine. No clean up, and your food does not spoil.

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
Real Tennessee Volunteers Orange!  Go too deep, you’re more like Clemson, Auburn, or Syra-cuse. Go too brown, you’re more like Texas. There is only one BIG ORANGE! Go Vols! Had to throw that in there 🙂

Jonathan Unthank
106.9 The Light– Music Director & Community Relations Coordinator
CMB Gold Member Since 2016


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