Member Spotlight – Steve Swanson

What is your favorite song?
“In Christ Alone” – I was first introduced to it in 2005 and love the message. It moves me every time I hear it!

What is the last book you’ve read?
“The Advocate” – From Randy Singer. All though it is a fictional story, it is well told and has definitely kept my attention.

What led you to a career in radio?
It’s a journey the Lord started back in 5th grade when my folks gave me a transistor radio. Years later my church youth director “happened” to work in radio and fueled my interest. When I attended Bible college in Seattle WA, I had the privilege of listening to KBIQ (now KCMS) and meeting some of the talented staff there. After graduating from Bible college I completed broadcasting school in Minneapolis. I started on the air in 1978 when a buddy of mine and I bought weekly airtime to create our own show. I was part time until 1989 and have been full time since then.  Some days I feel like I’m just getting started… 

What advice would you give people new to the business?
Learn as much as possible about as much as you possibly can.  There are fewer folks working in radio broadcasting and there is MUCH to be done. You don’t need to become an expert in all areas, but you make yourself much more valuable as you are able to help make things happen, plus you get to be help get the work get done and move the mission forward. Ask “What needs to be done?” and “How can I help?”  The days of the “That’s not MY job” mentality are long gone. Also, if your heart is empty, you will have nothing to offer. Be intentional about growing spiritually – and creating boundaries so that WHAT you do is never mistaken as your identity. It’s NOT who you are! (Trust me- you need a good friend to help you accomplish this!)

Give a shout out to someone who is making a difference in radio and what are they doing to make an impact?
I recently attended the Atlanta CMB Summit. I always feel dwarfed by all of the talent represented in a room like that. Sterling Tarrant (KSBJ) is making an impact as he challenges us to treat words as the powerful and critical means by which we tell our story. Bob Thornton continues to lead many of us in striving for excellence with web design and the use of other platforms (like Alexa) that are now available to us. Radio Training Network (the network I’m privileged to work for) is full of Godly, talented people who are daily making a difference in their respective markets and the communities they serve.

How do you refresh your creative energy at work?
Shutting the monitor off — and getting away from my desk (I don’t do either nearly enough). I also find when I start the day walking for 30 minutes or more I feel better and have more energy.

Amazon Echo or Google Home
I’ve had an Echo for a while – because WAFJ is available through that platform. Most of the time (to be honest) it’s unplugged and sits silently on the kitchen countertop. (I plug it in occasionally to make sure our stream is still functioning properly).

What is your favorite part of your job?
Seeing / hearing / experiencing the power of God moving and changing people’s lives. I love the variety each day brings with it.

Who is your favorite air personality not on your staff and why do you like them?
I’m pretty sure I can’t zero in on only one- Folks I enjoy on the air include Sarah Taylor, Frank Reed, Corey Mann, Melissa Montana, Jeremy and Amanda at WCSG. Honestly that is just the start of a long list. There are MANY others!

What was your last non-industry job?
Wow—that is ancient history. Outside of radio I’ve worked in restaurants, delivered flowers, was a church youth director, and a telephone operator. Before full time life in radio I was working at a church serving as their communications director.

Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
Only because of God’s grace, I’ve been allowed to be part of hiring and connecting people at various stations that continue to significantly impact Christian broadcasting. The personal accomplishment is that I’ve been willing (with my wife’s blessing) to move to places where we knew no one and make those places our home and “mission field.” Susie and I are celebrating our 40th anniversary this month and continue to experience God’s daily provision and faithfulness. (Psalm 126:3)

– Teach me something I don’t know in the next five minutes.
OK, Repeat after me:

“It’s nearly impossible to over communicate.”

“Communication is the message received.” 

Assumption is the lowest form of communication.” Those are three of my favorite truisms to ponder and apply where appropriate.

More importantly:  A look at a word I was first made aware of while in Bible college. The word is segullah 

When Israel stood at the base of Mount Sinai, God gave her this message:

“You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:4–6 ESV)

The Hebrew word translated as “treasured possession”, segullah  is pronounced “seh-goo-LAH”). This word is found only eight times in the Hebrew Bible. It is used to refer to a royal treasure of gold and silver, but most of the time it is used in reference to God’s people. Israel is God’s special treasure, his precious possession. She is marked with God’s stamp of ownership, which sets her apart from all the other nations of the world.

The apostles also used Greek terms to describe followers of Yeshua, both Jew and Gentile in this special way. So, a reminder for you  today: You and I are God’s treasured possession!

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
Something in the blue color palette … blue being my favorite color. That said, I’d want to be a color that stands out without calling attention to itself. That’s the way I want to live my life. You’d notice the absence if my color was removed, but when present it adds something unique and memorable.

Steve Swanson
WAFJ – General Manager
CMB Member Since 2013