Member Spotlight – Chris Lemke

What led you to a career in the radio industry?

Today, I can honestly say, it was “my destiny”, my “calling”, almost as if I couldn’t escape it.  As a junior higher, I was always interested in radio.  I collected 45s, deejayed my own make-up station and played around with making my own “radio dramas“.  I went to college in hopes of forming my own rock ‘n roll band, but those hopes were dashed fairly quickly given my amateur keyboard abilities and the conservative standards of the school.  So I took to the school’s radio station and hung out there, volunteering to do whatever was needed.  By the time I was a junior in college, I was working 25–30 hours a week, and was hired full-time not long after graduation. I’m still at that very same station 34 1/2 years later.

What advice would you give people new to the business?

I think… I think I would say, “Stay hungry.”  Radio is still a phenomenal platform to reach people for Christ.  Be a student of the listener, note how the listener uses radio AND other media, and apply what you learn.  And, because we’re in radio that serves the Christ-following community as well as the mainstream market, be authentic and real about Jesus, which means, be hopeful about life while here on earth, and our life to come.  To paraphrase the most interesting man in the world, “Stay hungry my friends.”

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

Wow.  Where do I start?  There’s so many… Joe Paulo and Michelle Younkman are two that come to mind right away.  No strangers to most, they’ve been the dearest of friends and strongest of influence to me, and I believe within our industry.  They’re hungry, and they’re engaging teams to engage others.  There is one other individual.  While some would say his work on earth is done, I contend his influence on the lives of so many in the radio industry continues to help shape how many of us will serve in the future.  I speak of my dearest and departed friend, Lee Geysbeek.  It was an honor and privilege to work for and alongside him for better than 27 years, and then to follow in his footsteps in leading WCSG and Cornerstone University Radio these past ten years.  The impact he’s making still is alive and well in many of us who had the pleasure of knowing and serving with him.

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

What project or accomplishment people might associate with my leading was as much a team effort as it was anything I personally may have done.  And, my judgment can be somewhat flawed, so I guess I’d have to defer to what others think is significant.  At home, by the end of this coming May, our team at WCSG hopes to finish a $5.7M fundraising effort for our new studios, with construction starting later this year.  From a broader perspective, I’d have to say the retooling and refinement of CMB itself in 2011-2012.  That was truly a rewarding, industry-wide collaborative effort, an effort still accomplishing, still hungry for greater growth and benefit for the industry, and ultimately for our listeners around the world.

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

So much good music…  I think I’m going to go classic/old-school with three songs.  The first would be, “The Warrior Is A Child” from Twila Paris – Ephesians 6 blended with my own inadequateness and shortcoming; the lyrics nail me every time I hear it.   I feel the same way about Benny Hester’s, “When God Ran“.  And probably the song that solidified my career in Christian radio was “Water Grave” from the Imperials.  Having grown up on Aerosmith, Boston, Van Halen, etc.,  I was grateful (as was my mother) to have found “loud music” with drums and guitars but still pointed to Jesus.

Chris Lemke
WCSG /Executive Director
CMB Gold Member Since 2012

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