Station Spotlight


Columbia, & parts Springfield, Joplin and Kansas City, all in MO

91.7 (plus 11 other network stations)

Station CUME:
50,000 (est. – non-subscriber)

Christian AC


Staff Size:

Tell us about your station:

Spirit FM started in 1985 as one small 3000 watt station at the Lake of the Ozarks and now covers 56 counties in Missouri and Iowa. We originally tried a “full-service” approach to music and eventually played a Contemporary Inspirational format during the Steve Green, Larnelle Harris, Sandi Patty era. We became Spirit FM in 1994 and changed our music to an AC emphasis in 1995. Spirit FM’s President, Jim McDermott, has been active through years in the leadership of NCRS, and CMB filling the first small market Board position. Jim has endeavored to be a champion of the smaller Christian stations with limited budgets encouraging them to use the many great resources available through CMB. Spirit FM’s parent foundation recently looked to the future by starting Christian hip-hop, pop station called the Pulse Channel.

Your station’s most successful promotion:

The Operation Christmas Child shoe box collection has been our longest and most successful promotion through the last 10 years. Starting with just 800 boxes in year one, our goal is to collect over 8000 this year. For one week each November our entire station becomes a maze of 2′ x 2′ x 2′ cases of shoe boxes.

Resources your station uses:

We have just recently rejoined up with Kevin Robinson as a talent coach for all of our personalities. We take advantage of the Creative Cardio resources regularly and get many show prep ideas from the Christ Radio Show Prep page on Facebook.

One bit of wisdom to share with others:

Do not let size or resources be an excuse of poor programming. For the first three years of KCVO’s existence our ANNUAL budget was only $60,000, but that did not stop us from sounding much bigger. Use the production skills of bigger market talent to help with imaging and buy quality promotions equipment – banners, tablecloths, tents, flags – so your listen sees you as big as any other station, even if your entire studio/office is only three rooms. Look for great talent locally and train them to be great storytellers. I have my staff practice reading a bit, or a weather forecast and then turning it over and telling me what they just read – in THEIR words. Always encourage great personality and your listeners will love your station!

Share an impactful listener story:

I was eating lunch on a Sat at Silver Dollar City and a man walked over ans asked, “Are you Jim McDermott?” I said yes and he said, “You saved my life.” He went on the tell me that he was working at an Army post in our area, but living in Kansas. He drove right through our coverage area twice a week. One night he decide he should just end it all and drive off the road into a bluff. But his radio “miraculously” picked up Spirit FM when Francesca Battistelli’s song “It’s You Life” was playing. He thought: “what is this?” and listened to song after song. He soon learned that we were a Christian station and he decided to go to church for the first time in years. All of the suicidal thoughts left him and he just wanted to thank me. I assured him that God really loved him and that night was proof. You just never know which connection is the one that will make an eternal difference in a listener’s life. – Jim

Tell us why you’re a member of CMB:

I have attended every Momentum convention and almost every CMB summit through the years. While I have not been able to bring my staff, every year I get several actionable points that I can take back and make a positive difference in the station. I believe in doing all I can to help other stations get better as well, which is why I have been a Gold Member since it’s inception.

    2021 Membership Exclusives

    January – Your 2021 Radio Goals – Virtual Event
    February – SURPRISE BENEFIT 
    March – Radio Station Field Trip
    April – A Webinar for YOUR Board
    May – Virtual Mentoring Event
    June – SURPRISE BENEFIT at Momentum
    July – Salary Survey Webinar
    August – Fundraising Webinar
    September – Creative Images
    October – Techsurvey Webinar
    November – Radio Station Field Trip
    December – Virtual Christmas Party

    *subject to change


    Wise, Weird & Welcome: Learning and Leading with the Lepers and the Locust Eaters

    We’ve all read the same books about teamwork, leadership, communication, and culture that everybody reads. We’ve mastered Maxwell, studied Sanborn, Sinek, and Sun Tzu, and liberally cribbed Collins in aborted attempts to go from good to great, but…

    How’s that working out for you? 

    What if you left St. Louis with an entirely new lens through which to view and act upon improvements in:

    Let’s examine how this all connects together, but approach it from an entirely different angle. Don’t just think outside the box. Kick the box to the curb and start at zero.