How Do I Go About Getting Our Church On The Air?
By Tom Read, President & CEO American Christian Network
I think you already realize that today we must get the Word of God beyond "the four walls". We must reach out to souls where they are and not expect them to immediately come to our church location. We must use the mass media and Christian Radio makes that possible.
First, you need to think through what type of radio program you would like to develop for your church and in what locations or cities you want to reach people.
The ACN radio network offers the opportunity for your church to reach out to all of Eastern Washington via the six, powerful, over the air, radio station affiliates that cover a huge land area in the three states of Eastern Washington, Northern Idaho, and Northeastern Oregon. That outreach covers approximately two and a half million people.
This is a rare opportunity for your church, as ACN is unique, in that it is the only regional over-the-air radio network in Washington State, Idaho, or Oregon.
The other opportunity, is to reach out only to your local community through a radio program on your local ACN network affiliated Christian station. The ACN affiliates are KYAK Yakima, KGDN Tri-Cities/Walla Walla, KTBI Wenatchee/Ellensburg and all of Central Washington, KSPO Spokane and Northern Idaho, and KTAC, Moses Lake, Ephrata, Othello and all of Central Washington, and KTBI FM, Ephrata/Moses Lake/Soap Lake.
You need to decide if you are interested in a daily or a weekly radio program and a half hour or an hour? We generally recommend that local churches begin with a once weekly half hour radio program. Daily time slots on the full ACN network are difficult to arrange but they do become available from time to time.
Once the number of broadcast times per week are determined for your program, the next question to be answered is the format of your program. There are a number of options. Do you want to use edited recordings of your Sunday morning service messages? Do you want to speak directly to the radio audience and not use platform sermons? Do you want a program where you have guests and do interviews? Do you want a program with a co-host who basically asks your pastor questions from the Bible?
If you want to use recordings of your pastor's platform sermons, do you have someone in the church with some basic computer, audio editing skills? An opening and closing for the program would need to be created and the platform recording would need to be edited into the time frame for your program.
If you do NOT have someone who can edit your programs, there are a number of Christians that do this for churches at very reasonable rates and we can put you in touch with them.
FUNDING FOR YOUR PROGRAM
The vast majority of local churches simply put the radio program outreach into the yearly church budget. In some cases, the budget is already set for this year and you need to get your radio program on the air now. What are some of the alternatives that have been successful for local churches?
DESERT AND COFFEE
Invite a small group of church members to a home for coffee and desert, maybe on a Saturday afternoon. Share with the group that the church has an opportunity to go on the air with its own radio program within the next few weeks. Share the vision of needing to get the Word outside the four walls if you are really serious about evangelism.
Tell the group that the budget is already set for the year and therefore you would like to arrange the financing for the first year of broadcasts with a small group of sponsors who share the vision.
Don't take too long in sharing the vision. Get to the specifics. Here is an actual example. A local church had decided upon a $1000.00 a month radio outreach. They explained to the attendees that all they would need is 12 families who would pledge to sponsor one month a year for $1000.00. The funds can be paid monthly which would be only $83.33, less than one Starbuck's coffee a day. Each family would select the month they would like to sponsor. They would be acknowledged on the air and in the church bulletin.
If a family owned or managed a business, they could have the business be the sponsor and that would be an advertising deduction for them, right off the top of their taxes.
In most cases, only one such coffee hour is necessary. If the entire year is not pledged at the first event, schedule a second event with a new group of members and friends of the church. Be sure to have paper work handled out to everyone and go over it with them and have it filled out then and there. Have space for credit card info and if possible, ask for the first months check at the coffee event.
A church in Seattle wanted to have their Sunday service broadcast on the local Christian station. They made arrangements with the station for the air time and broadcast lines from the church to the station, and started promoting a Sunday as "Outreach Sunday".
On that Sunday, they took a large calendar and put all twelve months on the wall around the side of the auditorium. The sermon that Sunday discussed the importantance of getting the church ministry out into the community. At the appointed time, the members were asked to go up to the calendar pages and mark on the Sunday they would like to make possible the live church broadcast. Some selected the month they were married or the month a parent went home to be with the Lord and wanted the broadcast in memory of that parent.
I don't remember the total dollar figure in the case of the Seattle church, but for this example let's just use $2000.00 a month. That comes to only $166.67 per month and it could be paid yearly in advance, monthly, or by a regular monthly credit card charge.
The entire year will filled that Sunday morning and there were more than 52 families that wanted to participate but did not get their name on the calendar fast enough.
There are other finance plans that have worked successfully by churches. One is obtaining one or more commercial sponsors. Generally it is business owners who are members of the church but not always. Sometimes a business in the community wants the good will of the church going population and are anxious to use part of their advertising budget to sponsor and underwrite church programs.
Focus On The Family has used commercial sponsors for years to fund the broadcasting of their yearly specials.
In short, where there is a will there is a way. Financing is not the problem. Organization, planning and marketing correctly is the problem.
WHAT IS MY FIRST STEP
The first step is to contact Tom Read at the ACN radio network via email at ACN@ACN.cc. Send me the answers to the above questions as to the frequency and length of your program, how soon you wish to begin, and if you want to start in Spokane only or you would like to be on the full ACN network or only on another ACN affiliate.
Once you have sent me the answers to these basic questions as outline above, we can give you specific time and day availabilities and rates.
The bottom line is that we can generally structure a program for you that fits any budget.
Please include the name and address of your church, the name of the pastor, their email, and phone number and cell number if they have one.
The ball is then in our court and we will get to work for you and get you on the air.
If you are primarily interested in reaching greater Spokane, we can provide rates and day and time avails for KTW 630 AM in Spokane. KTW is a "secondary" ACN network affiliate and is the flagship for our Liberty Broadcasting System network, LBS. KTW airs some ACN programs but generally at different times of the day and it airs LBS programs that are not on the ACN network or its affiliates.
ACN National Reach
In your presentation to families and sponsors, be sure to mention that having an outreach program on ACN will not only cover two and a half million people in our three state area, but also the entire country and in fact the world. Both ACN and LBS stream live all programs on the internet which can be heard over a computer. Your program will also be able to be heard on any iPhone, Ipad, other major cell phones, and any regular telephone. We will give you complete details so that your members can share the information with friends across the country who can then tune in and listen to your program.
The ball is now in your court. Click on firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be in ours.