Christian Radio: We Desperately Need You Now

In the wake of the Coronavirus, we worry about many things. We worry about our families, our elders, ourselves. We worry about the people we work with. And we worry about the community of listeners who come to us for inspiration.


Our first priority is, of course, to our families and friends. And our second priority is, by association, to each other. Every listener shares our worries. We are, as the saying goes, in this together.


As a result, I can say this with no doubt whatsoever: There has never been a more important moment in the history of your career in Christian radio than this moment right now.


Our communities are anxious and the flames of that angst are being fanned with constant news updates containing little information you can actually use to make yourself safer or healthier (how does knowing that Idris Elba has the virus make me safer or healthier?). People are scared. Every day brings an avalanche of bad news.


What’s the best way for you to serve this audience now? What can you do to make things better?


For Christian broadcasters, it’s not simply about conveying the headlines and reminding people to wash up. It’s about doubling down on why listeners come to us in the first place.


The antidote for anxiety is calm. The antidote for fear is hope. The antidote for bad news is encouragement. The antidote for despair is to be uplifted.


The thing we need to do is to double-down on why listeners come to us in the first place because that’s the benefit – the value – they need now more than ever.


This is from my good friend Tom Asacker, and it sums up our individual and collective dilemmas well:


When the rug has been pulled out from under you, when you experience groundlessness and sudden powerlessness, it can feel devastating. And that’s because you’ve temporarily lost control of your script. You’re floating in uncertainty and the world suddenly stops making sense. You don’t know where you’re heading, or who or what to hold onto.


On the other hand if you believe you know what’s happening around you, especially the near term future and general direction, you feel safe. That’s why you resist change and want your agendas and ideologies to prevail. It gives you the comforting feeling of knowing how things will turn out, assuring you that your script is solid—that you have the knowledge and experience to survive.


It’s really strange. We cling desperately to control, to a delusional certainty about life, while, at the same time, we deny the actual certainty, which is that it’s a temporary trip and that you, and everyone around you, are going to die. And sooner than you think. And that’s the trouble, for as Buddha made clear: “You think you have time. You don’t.”


I find that to be encouraging. The implication is that our story is all about control but in reality that control is an illusion. God has a plan for us and irrespective of our intentions things are likely to work out differently from the way we expect. And facing up to that will help us to live a more stress-free life, even under these trying circumstances.


Tom goes on to describe two life orientations, the “stay alive” one and the “be alive” one. In one case, we are obsessed with control, in the other, we recognize that “control” is illusory:


Stay Alive Orientation

Relentless search for the “best” information, which is changing daily, in an attempt to feel in control. This compulsive desire for certainty causes incessant, unwanted thoughts, exacerbating feelings of confusion, helplessness, fear, and, eventually, irritability and anger.

Anxiety and panic, as our minds spin dreadful stories of personal loss (ourselves talking to ourselves about ourselves). The resulting physical stress weakens our immune systems, which puts us at even greater risk of infection and health complications.

Emotion-fueled, selfish behavior, driven by social cues and fear of the future. And so we start panic buying, hoarding food, profiteering, buying guns, and looking at people as opportunities or problems.

Be Alive Orientation

Calm, conscious, common sense actions. We wash our hands often (for at least 20 seconds), clean and disinfect frequently touched objects, DON’T touch our faces, stay 6 feet away from others, etc.

Curiosity and creativity. We lose ourselves in a new book, program, or project. We learn a new language, sport or skill, and start a journal to deeply explore the patterns in our lives that have been causing us to do things that we don’t want to do.

Care, connection and compassion. We physically distance ourselves from others—staying home when we’re sick, avoiding group gatherings, etc. We take these precautions so as not to infect others, especially vulnerable people, and overwhelm the healthcare system. But… we socially expand ourselves and engage in simple acts of kindness. We empathize with those exhausted workers who are working diligently to bag groceries for harried shoppers and calmly assure frightened patients. We use our phones as phones and call people who are isolated and lonely, especially older people who are unable to play bridge, go to church, take part in a book club, and meet friends for lunch. And we wave to each other, smile, tell jokes, laugh, and, generally, lighten up!

Tom concludes:


We don’t control how the world works. We only control how we respond to it. So let’s resist our survival orientation and the desire for certainty, and let this time be a reflection of the fullness of our unique spirits. Life becomes more meaningful when we take responsibility for something or someone beyond ourselves, and now is the perfect time to bring that reality to life.


And this from a resident of Wuhan, China who has been isolating since the crisis there was first declared:


We have been at home for more than 40 days now. At first, I vacillated between worried and bored. But then I gradually adapted to our new life of isolation and learned to entertain myself. I wrote in my journal, I sketched pictures, and I learned to make a whole array of pastries, like rose-shaped steamed buns and scallion pancakes with beef.


Although life is a bit more inconvenient than normal, we no longer worry about the day-to-day. Our community leader coordinates with local supermarkets to ensure every household has enough food and supplies. When the coronavirus outbreak first started, our community faced each other with panic and fear; now we are calm, encouraging each other to stay positive through WeChat.


The way you serve your audience now is not only by educating them on how to be safe and where to seek help. It’s by doing what Christian radio has always done: Calming panic, erasing fear, restoring calm, uplifting and encouraging them.


Meanwhile you can do what almost nobody else seems to be doing right now, reminding us that we need each other and depend on each other. Reminding us to care for each other, especially those of us who need the most care. Maybe not in person, but by Facetime or email or Skype or even the old fashioned communication and connection tool called a “phone.”


For every story of the guy on the corner selling a roll of toilet paper for $5 (yes, that happened near my office), there’s a story of the young woman who purchased groceries for the older woman too terrified to leave her car and enter the store.


We all desperately need you now.


Mark Ramsey is president of Mark Ramsey Media, strategic research provider to many Christian music stations including K-LOVE, AIR1, KLTY/Dallas, WPOZ/Orlando, KTIS/Minneapolis, and many others. More information about his services is at Sign up for FAITHBRIGHT, his weekly email of smart and actionable ideas for Christian broadcasters here: Reach him at 858-485-6372 or

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2022 Membership Exclusives

January – 2022 Calendar
February – Social Series for Holy Week
March – Virtual Radio Station Field Trip
April – Book
May – Mediabase Webinar
June – Surprise at Momentum
July – Exclusive Momentum Content
August – Virtual Peer Networking Gathering
September – Fall Fun Box
October – Techsurvey Webinar
November – Noisemaker Promotions Vol 2 Book
December – Christmas Surprise 

*subject to change


Jim Campbell, Founder & Network President of Radio Training Network, Inc. began his radio career in commercial radio in Tennessee in 1964.  In 1966 he moved his family to Lakeland, Florida to attend college, and upon graduation he joined the staff at First Assembly of God Church where he and the church launched in the mid 1970s the first Contemporary Christian Radio Station in the nation, WCIE-FM. The station grew in both market impression and influence not just in Lakeland, but around the country inspiring others to follow Jim’s lead. In 1989 Jim left the church and founded Radio Training Network, Inc. (RTN) and over the next 30+ years, he oversaw the acquisition and development of 40+ stations plus translators. With 130 team members, RTN stations serve the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Missouri. These stations are well recognized in their respective markets thanks to the servant leadership of the staff, aggressive marketing, and a commitment to a strong emphasis on Jesus first. At present RTN has some two million listeners each week on air and approximately the same number online.


Andrea Kleid is a 24-year veteran of radio and records. She began her career working in Christian radio at WNLT in Cincinnati, and then moved onto WAY-FM in West Palm Beach working in programming and promotions. Her next stop took her to JOY-FM in Tampa where she served as the Promotions Director. In 2004, Andrea moved to Nashville to begin her music industry career in radio promotion under Grant Hubbard at Capitol CMG. In 2008, Andrea became the Vice President of Promotion at Word Label Group where she led one of the most successful and influential radio promotion teams in the Christian music industry. Through her signature brand of honesty, passion for Christian music, and focus on relationships, Andrea developed a reputation for successfully launching new artists’ careers including for KING and COUNTRY, NEEDTOBREATHE and Francesca Battistelli. This year, Andrea celebrates her fifth year as the President of her own company, Boxer Poet. An advocate for both radio and artists, Andrea continues to zealously host conversations around further representation for women and people of color on Christian radio.


Jason Sharp has a rich history with CCM radio and leadership. His early years at WONU/Chicagoland and The Bridge/Delaware gave flight to his passion for great programming and innovative promotions. As Program Director of WCQR/Johnson City and eventually the network PD for Positive Alternative Radio, Jason’s influence grew across the industry. In 2007, Jason joined the team at Northwestern Media as Program Director and then Station Manager of KTIS, Minneapolis/St Paul. In 2015, Jason furthered his formal education and earned his master’s degree in organizational leadership. Applying his leadership knowledge and skills to work, he now serves as Senior Vice President of Broadcasting at Northwestern Media’s 23 stations in 14 markets across ten states that service 1.5 million listeners each week. Jason also served Christian Music Broadcasters, first as a charter member and eventually as the lead of CMB’s educational track at Momentum for more than ten years. He then served as the organization’s board chairman from 2017-2020. Jason continues to inspire others within Christian media toward excellence and compassion through a Christ-centered attitude, education, and practical application.


2023 Membership Exclusives

January – 2023 CMB Calendar
February – Virtual Air, Digital, Fundraising and Imaging Checks
March – CMB Case Study Webinar with Dunham+Company
April – Momentum Speaker Book
May – Virtual Peer Networking Gathering
June – Member Party at Momentum
July – Exclusive Momentum content
August – Salary Survey Results
September – Member Box
October – Techsurvey Webinar
November – Special Member Devotion
December – Christmas Gift

*subject to change


In 1972, while serving in the U.S. Air Force in Orlando, Johnny Stone dreamt of a second kind of “air force,” that of radio. He took an overnight position at WDIZ-FM, the station where Z88.3 now stands. In the past 50 years of his career, Johnny’s work and personality raised the bar for other programmers in markets ranging from New York City, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, San Diego, Tampa, Atlanta, Tucson, and Minneapolis/St. Paul. During his stint as Program Director and Morning Show host at Star 99.1 New York, his team won the NAB Crystal Radio Award and CMB Station of the Year. Presently, Johnny serves as afternoon host with his wife, Stacey, at 91.9 WGTS in Washington D.C. winner of the 2021 NAB Marconi Award for Religious Station of the Year. Owner of StoneStudios, LLC. and as a 22-year veteran in Christian media, Johnny mentored several on-air talents. Today, along with his on-air role at WGTS, he mentors college students at CMBU, teaching and modeling the belief that “you have to win in the hallways to win on the airwaves.”


Lisa Williams was called to Christian radio while praying in 1990. She walked into KCVO in Camdenton, Missouri and started on the air that same week. Over the past 32 years, Lisa served in various roles in on-air, programming, fundraising, and station management at radio stations and networks including K-LOVE, Z88.3, Star 99.1, KCVO, and KCWN. As an on-air personality, Lisa earned several number one ratings in several markets and was the recipient of three industry awards. Lisa now serves as the Network Talent Coach for Northwestern Media, owner of 23 stations in 14 markets across ten states that service 1.5 million listeners each week. While at Northwestern, Lisa hosted the nationally syndicated show Life with Lisa Williams from 2016-2021. She stepped away from the show to focus on coaching more than 90 on-air talents, encouraging and nurturing them to shine the light of Christ through excellent radio. When she’s not coaching talent, Lisa helps stations raise money for their operations. She also hosts a Facebook group for women on-air in Christian radio called GodsRadioGirls and helps facilitate their annual retreat.