Member Spotlight – John Lawhon

What is your favorite song?
“Fix You” by Coldplay

What is the last book you’ve read?
“The Benedict Option” by Rod Dreher

What led you to a career in radio?
I have a short resume and a long story. Radio was never my plan but it was always a part of my life. I grew up in a Christian home, pursued athletics in high school and was recruited to play lacrosse in college. All I wanted was to be an athlete at the highest level. I failed out and never played a second of college ball. I spiraled into depression but music was always there to help me cope. I came home from school and tried to figure out who I was again. I produced music, I lead worship, played in bands, took some college classes, coached lacrosse at my high school and met my future wife. Looking back I can see how these points in my life’s “connect-the-dots” puzzle have created a masterpiece only God could.

I translated my production skills into producing imaging for the radio station my dad, the GM has worked at for now over 31 years. I started running the board for the evening show and began working so much that then PD, Dave Paul, asked if I’d like to go on the air since I was at the station. I said no. I didn’t even know who I was; I hadn’t lived life, let alone be able to encourage a middle aged mom. I didn’t have a voice… I thought. After some pushing from Dave (full-time salary and benefits helped) I said yes. I still don’t know what made him want to make that offer to a 20 year old with zero experience but I’m forever grateful. After 3 years I moved to middays, 2 years after that I became APD/MD and I was just promoted to PD in April.

True, radio was never the plan but it has made me who I am. From childhood to fatherhood, after all these years, I’m still just a guy trying to figure it out. Who knows what God has in store? I’m up for anything!

What advice would you give people new to the business?

  1. Don’t let working in ministry be a substitute for personal relationship with God. Let go and let Him lead every decision.
  2. Don’t be afraid.
  3. Fail. A lot.

Give a shoutout to someone who is making a difference in radio and what are they doing to make an impact?
There are a lot of good people who are, collectively, making a positive difference in radio. People who are focused on their markets and dedicated to their listeners. That said, artists are consistently making the biggest difference in radio. I legitimately pray for them regularly and do my best to fight for new artists.

How do you refresh your creative energy at work?
By collaborating with someone new. Someone who sees the world differently than I do and challenges my status quo. Typically, that is someone outside of the walls of the station.

Musically, I escape to film scores. I listen to music that can transport me somewhere else and I don’t need to subconsciously analyze it. One of my favorites is “The Ellie Badge” by Michael Giacchino from Pixar’s “Up.” My wife, Alex walked down the aisle to this song. It was the first movie we saw together. Yes, I cried … like a baby.

Amazon Echo or Google Home?
I haven’t taken the plunge with either.

What is your favorite part of your job?
That I have the freedom to take creative risks and ultimately that I know God is using my talents to reach more people. It’s a sweet place to be.

Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
I don’t listen to a ton of radio but I’ve come to admire Bobby Bones. I see a lot of myself in him. He breaks down walls incredibly.

What was your last non-industry job?
High School boys’ lacrosse coach. I LOVED it!

Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
I’m currently working on the biggest project of my career but my biggest personal accomplishment was becoming PD a few months ago. I feel proud to say that I accomplished that before I turned 29.  

Teach me something I don’t know in the next five minutes.
My favorite hymn is “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go” by George Matheson. At age 20 George Matheson was engaged to be married but began going blind. When he told his fiancée, she decided she could not go through life with a blind husband. She left him.

George’s sister offered to care for him.

The day came, however, 20 years later, when his sister fell in love and prepared for marriage herself. The evening before the wedding, George’s whole family had left to get ready for the next day’s celebration. He was alone and facing the prospect of living the rest of his life without the one person who had come through for him. On top of this, he was doubtless reflecting on his own aborted wedding day twenty years earlier. It is not hard to imagine the fresh waves of grief washing over him that night.

In the darkness of that moment George Matheson wrote this hymn. He remarked afterward that it took him five minutes and that it was the only hymn he ever wrote that required no editing. Here are the lyrics.

O love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
that in thine ocean depths its flow
may richer, fuller be.

O light that foll’west all my way,
I yield my flick’ring torch to thee;
my heart restores its borrowed ray,
that in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
may brighter, fairer be.

O joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
and feel the promise is not vain
that morn shall tearless be.

O cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
and from the ground there blossoms red
life that shall endless be.

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
Brussels sprout green. I don’t know, I’m hungry.

John Lawhon
95.1 SHINE-FM – Program Director
CMB Silver Member Since 2013


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