Thinking Forward

“Normal rules no longer apply.”  I read those words in the business section of my local newspaper yesterday.  They were in a story about how COVID-19 has practically destroyed the free-market economy we were all enjoying at the beginning of 2020. As I read the story, Isaw that once again most of the experts, financial or otherwise, were caught totally off guard by the pandemic and its effects. Nobody saw this coming.  I mean, other than God, who could?

The thought of a pandemic that would reverse the economy, curtail our ability to shop, travel, gather, and attend school, and cause many of our on-air personalities to have to find ways to broadcast from closets in spare bedrooms was not on anyone’s radar at the beginning of this year.  Nevertheless, it happened – more quickly than any of us would have thought possible.

This adventure has gotten some of us pondering other scenarios, and I would like to invite you to “think forward” with us.

Consider this: What if our radio ministries are a lot more fragile than we thought?  What if another global catastrophe were to happen that caused what’s left of our economy to crumble?  What if the source of funding for commercial and non-commercial Christian music stations disappeared because of an even deeper crisis than the one brought on by COVID-19?

As farfetched as I hope these scenarios are, if we’ve learned anything during the past few months it ought to be that only God knows the future.  While He has promised to provide for His children, He’s never promised business as usual. So, if you are hoping everything is going to return to normal one day, here’s an opportunity to reset your sights.

Because the unexpected happens, some forward-thinking organizations are investing time and resources in scenario planning.  By looking at some improbable (but not impossible) things that could cause negative repercussions, our organizations may be able to take steps today to protect ourselves against these situations before they come knocking on our door.

Before I go further, I want to say I’m a firm believer in the admonition of Proverbs 3:7 to ‘be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.’  Whenever we are undertaking a task that depends on human wisdom, it’s prudent not to trust our output as the final authority.  In fact, I read that proverb to say that being wise in my own eyes is actually one of the evils I am to turn away from.  But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t seek wisdom, and, as God grants it, use it.  Scenario planning is a useful exercise when balanced with a healthy, biblically informed and God-dependent humility.

Simply put, scenario planning is where an organization attempts to look at events that could happen and figure out their potential impact. You’re probably already doing versions of this at your station.  If you’ve purchased fire insurance for your transmitter site or created a succession plan for when the CEO retires, you’re already looking at and planning for possible future events.

True scenario planning is that process, cranked up to eleven.  It looks at situations that may not seem probable, but that could happen. The goal is to discuss and plan what to do if it does.  What would the event mean for your station?  How would it impact your mission?  Is there anything you can do today to keep it from hurting your organization?

Since our organization is doing this right now, I can tell you the real benefit is in being prepared should the unlikely adverse situation happen.  We may not ever need to implement much of what we’ve identified. But any good crisis management firm will tell you it’s better to have a plan and not need it, than to need it and not have it.  By its very nature, a crisis seldom gives much warning.  Those who weather the storm best are the ones who have set aside the umbrellas and raincoats in advance.

Our leadership team and board of directors are looking at two scenarios right now, with a third to follow later this year.  I think we are already a better organization for having done so.  Considering how different scenarios will actually impact the work you’re doing can help you look at your resources (human and financial) differently.

So, if normal rules no longer apply, how would your ministry respond if any of the following 10 scenarios happened?

  • The FCC decides unexpectedly to eliminate the distinction between non-commercial and commercial licenses.
  • The IRS eliminates tax exemptions for all charitable giving.
  • Your station is sued in court for propagating hate speech.
  • New advances in technology change the concept of ‘radio’ for those who have traditionally been your listeners. Because of that they are spending 10% of the time they used to spend with your station.
  • A prominent member of your on-air team is implicated in a highly publicized moral scandal.
  • A new “performance tax” is levied on music-formatted radio stations that makes the cost of continued operation less and less viable.
  • Legislation is enacted that prohibits your organization from requiring employees to adhere to a statement of religious faith.
  • A better financed, higher profile station with the same format you play comes to town.
  • Our nation faces a catastrophic economic downturn to the point that commercial sponsors are no longer able to afford to buy spots, and non-commercial donors can no longer afford to give.
  • Autonomous cars become so prevalent that in-car radio listening is diminished by 80%. This curtails the unit-price you can charge advertisers as a commercial station, and most of the quarter hours that donors were spending with your non-commercial station.

Some of these scenarios may look very unlikely to you today—as unlikely as a previously unknown virus causing a global pandemic.  Others may actually be things you’ve stayed awake at night thinking of.  Regardless of how unlikely they may seem, keep in mind that if we’d been able to predict the future many of us would have bought stock in Amazon when it was in single digits, and pharmaceutical companies would already have a vaccine for the coronavirus.  Since we can’t predict the future, maybe taking a lesson from what we’ve seen in the very recent past can cause us to look at some “what-if?” scenarios and work to futureproof our ministries from forces over which we have little to no control.

I won’t take the time to detail how scenario planning works.  However, it’s worth the financial investment to find someone who can do that with you. Or, maybe there’s a listener who does scenario planning for a living who would donate their expertise to your mission. Either way, thinking forward now may be able to keep you from wishing that you had.

Jon Hull
Sr. Director of Donor Engagement, KSBJ & NGEN Radio

Having been in Christian music radio since 1974, Jon Hull is a frequent seminar speaker having served on the board of directors for the Gospel Music Association and Christian Music Broadcasters. Jon is currently on the board of the National Religious Broadcasters andserves as the Senior Director of Donor Engagement for KSBJ and NGEN Radio. He and his wife Karen, have two daughters and four grandchildren. Jon is an Ordained Deacon at Founders Baptist Church in Spring, Texas.

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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.


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January – 2023 CMB Calendar
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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


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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.