Beyond Learning

Dear Christian Radio,

Gettin’ Woke
Do you find yourself missing the good ol’ days? In the past, just being a quality on-air talent—the kind who occasionally makes an appearance at a concert or event—was enough. Well, sweetheart…times have changed! New technology, social media, and smart phones have redefined the rules of the game.

For better or worse, new generations of listeners are demanding fresh ways to communicate and connect with their favorite brands. Audiences are more involved than ever before, equipped with a myriad of tech-driven options that allow them to choose how they will interact with on-air hosts. What was once private has now become public. It’s the rise of video and a new day for storytelling.

Radio is still radio. Nonetheless, if it’s going to remain successful it has to be far more than just crackin’ a mic and lettin’ it rip. For the tech-savvy listener, radio means connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. These same listeners are often bypassing your terrestrial signal and accessing your content and programming by way of your app.  New technologies present a steep learning curve for stations that confuse “what was” with “what is.” The curves ahead will be unforgiving for those who can’t negotiate the present.

Mind Over Matter
Carol Dweck has written an amazing book on successful thinking called, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.” Dweck contrasts two divergent ways of thinking: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. The fixed mindset suggests that a person’s capabilities are intrinsic. It contends that “talent” is pre-defined and will eventually reveal its ceiling due to either ability or choice. On the contrary, the growth mindset is constantly evolving and seeking new ways to contribute.

Our industry has to adapt a growth mindset toward everything if radio intends to remain relevant. Each station has an obligation to re-examine what radio truly is in the new millennium. Microphones and personalities no doubt remain at the core of radio broadcasting; however, video, social media, and portable “on-demand” tech are changing the habits of our most loyal consumers. What’s more, they expect quality at every touch point.

Now What?
Broadcasting degrees, certificates, and apprenticeships are great ways to learn the radio business, but when is the last time you built on that training? Sure, most of your team can run a board, but can they write a blog or effectively engage your station’s Facebook friends? Today’s technology is changing so quickly it’s even difficult for colleges to keep up with a constantly evolving curriculum. Busy work schedules, obligations to family, and church responsibilities compete for our bandwidth—seemingly leaving little time for learning.  Even so, stations must embrace continued education for their team members or stagnation will set in.

For most of us, going back to school full time isn’t an option. Remarkably, technology itself is the solution to the radio’s technology conundrum. Online learning platforms like Udemy, Edmodo, iversity, and even YouTube offer continued educational opportunities beyond the university doors. Taking advantage of these types of learning platforms doesn’t have to break the bank either. Most offer affordable à la carte options that are easy to use and built for self-paced learning.

One thing is for sure…the future waits for no one. Find new ways to educate yourself and encourage your team to do the same. Those who resist tomorrow get left behind.

Dear Christian Radio…

     1. Always be learning. Education is a lifelong endeavor.
     2. Utilize online learning platforms. Continued education is easier than you think.
     3. Start today. There will never be a “right or convenient time” to start, so start now.


Nathan Gist
Dean of PAR University
Positive Alternative Radio
Morning Show Co-Host: Your ‘PER & Spirit FM
Your ‘PER Production Director

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