Starting a radio station for your Christian Ministry may be the best decision you will make for your organization and certainly fulfills our obligation to preach the gospel to all creation. What better way to reach the masses than through radio?
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” Mark 16:15
“He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead” Acts 10:42
Radio is a powerful medium for communication. In the United States there are more than 550 million radios in use, including more than 170 million in vehicles. This amounts to nearly six radios per home! Americans utilize radio more than any other form of entertainment , averaging over 2 hours each day listening in their cars alone! Granted, the average commute varies greatly from metro area to metro area, but those listening averages are amazing! An incredible 96% of adults 25 – 54 listen to radio on a regular basis with the 12+ demographic not far behind!
Why is radio so compelling that most every American family has six radios and spends hours everyday listening? It’s kind of like broadcast Television, a free and over-the-air medium. But, unlike Television, it is a more “psychological medium.” It draws out the listener’s imagination, emotion. It sets a creative stage in the theater of the mind more than Television. This is because we feel the need to picture what we are hearing. Have you wondered what the DJ looks like? We respond to the spirit of the music, and react to advertising messages that beg us to intersect our lives with that advertiser’s product.
The obvious question is: How best to utilize this powerful medium for the Kingdom of God?
The statistics lay out a compelling case for radio. It illustrates the importance of how it can be utilized as a medium to share the word of god. If radio is truly the best medium at engaging the theater of the mind, then what better way to address the masses with the matters of the heart and the Gospel than through radio? If radio can be terrestrially broadcast, why not put positive music with messages of truth in people’s ears?
What better way to supplement the work of evangelists, pastors, and teachers around the world? With radio they can subtly (but very directly) inject the Truth of the Gospel into people’s lives in a way that is unarguably the most accessible and potent medium available!
Though radio is indeed a powerful medium which can be used effectively to further our goals of spreading the word of god, careful consideration must be undertaken to ensure this is the proper method for your ministry.
Prayer: The Most Important Step
Before any major undertaking such as starting a christian radio station, beyond earthly considerations prayer is the most essential step. Discern and seek the lord’s guidance as a christian radio station is a calling, not a business or part time undertaking. Evangelism through the airwaves, while a powerful medium is something that god accomplishes through us and not something that you personally will accomplish.
We have learned from Jesus himself, and conformity of our lives to Christ, that prayer is necessary for the success of all our works.
Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we ask you to pray for us. Pray that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes, just as when it came to you. Pray, too, that we will be rescued from wicked and evil people, for not everyone is a believer. Thessalonians 3:1-2
Formulating a Plan – Ask Questions
While considering whether a radio station is right for your congregation or ministry, it is important that you create an organized and practical plan. As you proceed through this process many questions will arise. You must consider each step through prayer, thought and discussion.
If you plan to do evil, you will be lost; if you plan to do good, you will receive unfailing love and faithfulness. Proverbs 14:22
Consider the following points as you proceed through the organizational stages:
· Do you have an existing organization? Example: Church, Ministry, Prayer group, Christian bookstore, fraternal organization, christian school etc.
· Discuss with your friends and/or congregation… Choose a core group of individuals who want to help with the project. You should limit the size of the group in order to maintain consensus and vision.
· Is the area that you are considering rural or urban? Is there a sufficient population base to support the type of station you wish to establish?
· Do you have a plan for raising the required funds? An effective plan in this area is crucial to the success of your endeavor.
· Identify those in your flock with the means to make a significant contribution, as well as those who may be willing to assist in your fundraising efforts. There will be donors who are especially attracted to your initiative that would not otherwise make donation. Note well that other Christian organizations may feel threatened by your proposed campaign. It is important to keep in mind that it is God who moves the heart of the giver to give. As the Holy Spirit converts the hearts of those who listen, there will be more financial resources available for all Christian radio stations.
Nexus Broadcast offers its assistance and guidance in formulating, and carrying out, an effective and practical plan. We can assist you in establishing your organization by sharing with you tested methods that work and pitfalls to avoid.
Programming can make or break your low power fm radio station. Consider whether you want to develop your own programming or use programming already available. Producing compelling programming can be very time consuming. The time and cost involved in producing your own programming usually precludes this option until well established. However, with today’s computer capabilities, computer automation can fill in these gaps. It is important not to use this as a crutch and get “lazy”. Originally produced programming is very important to the success of any radio station.
There are also multiple sources available that offer christian radio programming. Many offer these programs through satellite delivery, internet and Compact Disc.
Selecting the Station
There are many options available when deciding on a radio station. Consider the following points in determining which manner best suits your ministry’s goals and requirements:
- Purchasing a Station – This is generally cheaper than leasing a station. The upfront costs can be quite high depending on your local market. However, you usually receive the necessary equipment to begin broadcasting and do not have the continuing lease payments.
- Leasing a Station – You can consider leasing a radio station. In leasing, you have the necessary equipment to begin broadcasting and pay a monthly fee for use of the broadcast station. This is generally an one of the most expensive options. Stations owners must remain in control of the radio station, therefore there is no guarantee that your lease will be effective month to month. If the station owner changes his mind or gets a better offer, you may find your program without a home.
- Buying Time On An Existing Station –This is the quickest method to get your program on the radio. This is similar to leasing a station, as you lease an hour or more each day for broadcast of your program. Prices will generally range from $75 to $500 dollars per hour, depending upon the market and the time of day. Radio stations are not required to sell you time and it is up to station management whether they will allow or continue broadcast of your program.
- Applying for a License – This is the least expensive way to start a station! This option, however, is not available all the time. In fact the opportunity for LPFM Radio Stations has been closed now for nearly thirteen years! Fortunately, the FCC will be an application filing window for Low Power FM stations in October 2013.
Low Power FM is a service that was created in 2000 by the Federal Communications Commission to fill a need to provide truly local programming to an area. The FCC responded to pressure from thousands of people that believed that there was insufficient variety in the voices heard on the airwaves, as a result LPFM was created by an act of Congress in 2000. The process to obtain an LPFM license follows a course of action similar to a full-power license. In order to make the LPFM radio stations accessible to non-broadcasters, the FCC significantly relaxed its rules. Stations are available on the FM band from 92.1 to 107.9 and cover 15 miles or more; enough to adequately cover most small to medium-sized cities, or a significant portion of a metropolitan area.
LPFM radio stations can be used to provide educational, entertainment, religious and community broadcasts.
A projected Low Power FM application window by the FCC in October 2013 will provide new opportunities for christian ministries throughout the United States. This will be only the second filing window for the LPFM Radio service in nearly thirteen years. The window will be open for only five days and will likely be the last of its kind as spectrum is limited.
The Low Power FM radio service is one of the few remaining low cost opportunities available to obtain a new radio station license and build and bring a new radio station to your community.
Choosing Nexus – Choose Wisely
Nexus Broadcast provides technical, programming and operational expertise to assist in the procurement, development and operation of locally operated Low Power FM radio stations. Nexus helped hundreds of local organizations through the first LPFM process 13 years ago. It assisted dozens of organizations during the AM station and FM translator processes of 2004, 2007 and 2013. Nexus Broadcast has the knowledge, competence and experience needed to assist groups through the coming LPFM filing window.
Nexus Broadcast engineers are among the best in the broadcast industry! Their capacity to put together winning applications was most recently displayed in the 2001 LPFM window and the 2007 Noncommercial Educational FM window, winning over 80% of applications in a highly competitive environment. Equally important is the ability of Nexus to assist with coordination of the applications from multiple applicants in an area to maximize the opportunity for a winning application and lessen competition from other applicants.
How Nexus Helps You
To begin, Nexus will provide the engineering and application services required to make application to the FCC. This includes:
- A preliminary survey to determine the availability of FM spectrum.
- The final Engineering portion of the application.
- Legal & Qualifications portions
- Electronically file the application for you.
- Step by step guidance in selecting/creating the most competitive applicant for this competitive process.
- Referrals to communications attorneys (though rarely needed) to provide direct counsel at discounted fees.
- If the applicant is successful in securing the construction permit, Nexus will assist the applicant in bringing the permit to air through helping obtain and install the necessary equipment to begin broadcasting.
- Once you are on the air, Nexus offers continued operational support, such as: referrals to program providers, automation systems, marketing support, fund raising support, insurance, resource sharing, purchasing discounts, regulatory updates and guidance, training, education & consulting.
How to Get Started
What is necessary to apply for an LPFM?
- The applicant must be a non-profit entity with an educational goal or purpose, which would be furthered by use of a station. This can be as simple as two people being members of an unincorporated association or non profit corporation (we’ll help you form it), a parish or a school or government agency.
- The parties included on the application ie; board members of the entity or the headquarters of the entity must be within 10 miles of the proposed Community of License.
- Contact us by email or Phone 888-672-4234
What is the coverage area of an LPFM Radio Station?
LPFM Radio stations have a range of approximately 7 – 15 miles, enough to serve most small to mid-sized cities or a large section of a metropolitan area. Because of terrain and lack of adjacent channel interference, some LPFM’s are serving listeners over 15 miles from the transmit site!
What is the applicant’s responsibility?
If the license is issued, the applicant becomes the licensee. The licensee is a public trustee of the license and is responsible to see that the station is operated in the public interest.
Could I use the FCC’s online channel finder or REC to submit my application?
Yes and no. It is possible to use the channel finder to locate a possible channel. Yet, the online finder is unwieldy and only searches a specific point of latitude and longitude which you enter. It does not locate available towers, show you the effect which height and terrain will have on your signal, maximize your height relative to average terrain or help you to locate the signal to provide the greatest coverage to population and highways.
Nexus Broadcast engineers are among the best in the broadcast industry! Their capacity to put together winning applications was most recently displayed in the 2001 LPFM window and the 2007 Noncommercial Educational FM window, winning over 80% of applications in a highly competitive environment. Equally important is the ability of the CRA to help coordinate the applications of multiple applicants in an area to maximize the opportunity for a winning application and lessen competition from other applicants.
Will anything be placed on my property?
In most cases, the stations are engineered for the antenna to be placed on a tower in the community. Depending upon how much local programming you desire to produce, the minimal space needed at the studio site would be for a personal computer at a minimum. Of course more elaborate facilities can be built on your property or at any location within ten miles of the tower site.
How much will it cost me as an applicant?
The cost to put together the engineering, paperwork, exhibits, research and apply for the license will likely be $3000 – $4500
What are some of the costs?
The initial cost to acquire the broadcast equipment and construct the broadcast facilities is approximately $10,000 -15,000. Ongoing costs would include electricity and internet and could include a tower lease, some liability insurance and music licensing. Nexus can help you estimate these costs more accurately once an engineering assessment is done and the antenna location is determined.
Are there any LPFM Radio Stations on the air today?
Yes! There are close to a thousand Low Power FM Radio Stations licensed to date!
Do I really need to get started right now?
Yes! This is a unique filing opportunity to secure a new Low Power Radio license from the Federal Communications Commission. The previous opportunity was nearly thirteen years ago. This may very well be the last opportunity like this due to spectrum availability. If you want to secure a license for your ministry, it is imperative that you act now!
If the LPFM Radio Filing Windows isnt until October 2013 – Why the rush to start now?
While it is true the Low Power FM Radio Filing window is several months away, it is very important for you to begin preparation for the filing now. There are several steps that need to take place prior to the filing window. We must make certain that you and your organization are qualified. We must study the area to determine available LPFM Radio frequencies. The engineering and exhibits must be created to prove to the FCC that your station can operate in your area without causing problems for other existing radio services, airport communications, etc. A suitable tower site must be located, whether that is a lease of an existing tower or a suitable site for a new tower. If a new tower is needed, additional engineering needs to be complicated to comply with FAA regulations such as glide slope qualifications. There are many things we must take care of prior to the filing window. Since we are helping multiple clients, its is important to get started now. As with most filing windows as the filing date approaches, most engineering firms are booked completely. This is no time to procrastinate my friend.
If I retain Nexus Broadcast for my application, am I guaranteed to receive a license?
In short, No. Anyone offering you such a guarantee is simply telling you a lie. They are telling you what you want to hear or worse, scamming you. No one can guarantee a broadcast license to you. There are issues that can come up along the way, a felony of one of your board members for instance, multiple applicants in a given area for the same frequency, etc. The good news is Nexus Broadcast engineers are among the best in the broadcast industry! Their capacity to put together winning applications was most recently displayed in the 2001 LPFM window and the 2007 Noncommercial Educational FM window, winning over 80% of applications in a highly competitive environment. Equally important is the ability of the CRA to help coordinate the applications of multiple applicants in an area to maximize the opportunity for a winning application and lessen competition from other applicants. With Nexus you receive the best possible chance of receiving your broadcasting license.
Once I receive my permission to construct, how long do I have?
You will have up to eighteen month in which to construct the radio station and sign on the air. This is generally more than enough time to raise the necessary capital to purchase the equipment and build the station. Nexus is here to help you before and after the licensing process. Once you sign on the air a final application is filed which will convert of construction permit into a license.
Once I receive my license, does it expire?
Yes. The good news is your license is easily renewable as long as you have followed the rules during the previous licensing terms. Your first renewal might be due in a year or less after your license has been granted. Subsequent renewals are good for eight years. Each region is renewed in cycles – this the possible reduction in the initial license term.