In Defense of K-Love


HisAir.Net posted a story about K-Love going live on stations in New York, DC, Atlanta and other cities starting June 1. The post generated 199 comments. Wow!

Let’s get something straight out of the box…K-Love isn’t wrong. They have a clear mission and vision and they’re passionately pursuing it. While many in Christian radio are wringing their hands and privately complaining, EMF continues its march across America buying stations.

Notice the difference…one group is complaining while another is focused on doing the work. 

I hear the voices now:

“How can K-Love be doing this?” 

“They’re changing Christian Radio!”

“They’re decreasing the workforce!”

I must defend K-Love. They’re doing what all of us want to do…they’re being successful. For so many years and in so many areas, there was only one option for Christian media content. As a result, many broadcasters won by default. In other words, organizations won because they were the only option, not because they were great.

K-Love shows up with a passion to win, a willingness to compete, a quality product with solid content, and a strong marketing budget. Then, suddenly, the phone lines to the complaint department begin to heat up! My dear friends, complaining about EMF’s business model does you no good. They have a right to pursue their passion just as you do. Instead of complaining about EMF, do what they do…get in the game!

I say this with all kindness and affection. To the local operators, the days of winning by default are over. You must win based on quality. Listeners want quality. They flock to it. The more listeners you have, the better your income. Do you want to win? Then increase your quality. 

For many of you, the words “increase your quality” scare you to death.

It means…

  • Having hard conversations with on-air talent
  • Raising extra funds for a generator because the power company isn’t reliable
  • Increasing your fundraiser goal so you can hire additional personnel
  • Practicing candor and tackling problems in the building so a healthy culture can be born
  • Finding the money for a music test
  • Running your station more like a business and less like Vacation Bible School

Finally, it means wanting to win! You have a choice. Do you whine or do you win? The only thing separating you and EMF are the zeros.

You can…

  • Make your talent better
  • Raise more money
  • Increase audience
  • Invest in marketing
  • Attend events and turn listeners into friends and donors

Someone will email and say, “We’re losing the record companies. If an artist can have a hit on K-Love, then the record companies don’t need us.” Yo cupcake…you don’t need the record companies. You can download the music you need for .99 cents. In 2019, your job is to be great, not just good, but great

Begin asking your team the question, “How can we be great?” Ask that question about your signal quality, on-air talent, music selection, event execution, relationship building, fundraising, letter writing and team culture.

Also, why do we complain about K-Love when they acquire a new signal? People post complaints and concerns about classic stations going away. That isn’t K-Love’s fault. The ownership of the station had to make a decision to sell. Blame them, not the station pursuing their passion.

At some point, local Christian radio operators will study how Target thrives in an age of Walmart. We’ll read books about how Lowe’s Home Improvement learned to succeed in a market dominated by Home Depot. Perhaps we’ll google articles about how ACE Hardware and Dollar General saw a resurgence in their brands even with the dominance of other big box retail companies.

Learning the principles of how they differentiated themselves can help us win–but will we take the time to learn? And once learned, will we implement?

K-Love isn’t wrong. Maybe we’re just afraid to play the game.


– Brian Sanders