One of the most important characteristics of radio is that it’s always on. Whenever you turn the dial, hit the button, or the start the stream, your local station promises that they’ll be there for you. Your friend over the air, bringing you music and entertainment, and in times of crisis, the minute by minute updates to carry you through.
It’s a promise that the industry has consistently fulfilled for decades, and continues today. It’s also a promise that has at times been a struggle for me to personally fulfill with Keys for Kids Radio. With a staff of 1 and 3/4 people (I’m full time, with a 10 hour a week music director and 20 hour a week production director/host) and a volunteer radio engineer, we go “off the air” more than the industry average, and more than what I’m comfortable with. I hate the feeling of disappointing our listeners trying to catch some music or their favorite show. It’s especially hard because our audience is primarily kids.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. Keys for Kids Radio is a part of a (slightly) larger ministry, Keys for Kids Ministries, and so much of the station’s IT needs are coordinated between our engineer and the ministry’s outside IT support company. We’re working on several projects that will help us stay on the air if our primary streaming system goes down, continue to provide content if we do go down, and help us troubleshoot what went wrong after the fact.
Our primary need as a radio station, and as a ministry, is simply more people to balance the tasks. We (Keys for Kids Ministries) are working on some new programs over the next year that we hope will help us hire more staff, and I am also creating an underwriting program for Keys for Kids Radio so that we can continue providing excellent Christian content to kids.
The culture of “always on” has been hard for me. It’s not something I knew about when I first came into my position, and as the only full time staffer, any and every emergency falls to me to fix. It wears on me sometimes, and makes me wonder what I’ve gotten into. I just try to trust God that He knows what He’s doing with me.