Many weeks during the year we are “in survey”. That’s when thousands of radio listeners throughout the country are being monitored by a research company to gauge how many people are listening to which station. It’s extremely important that we attract the greatest number of listeners possible for this period. If we rate well, we will remain on air – if we don’t, we will no longer have a programme. It’s that tough!
The most challenging aspect of the show of course is how to get ‘non-religious’ people to talk about God and faith, naturally, and in a way that actually is beneficial to pointing non-Christian listeners toward Jesus. That is always a challenge. It’s much easier, of course, when the guest is a Christian… but sometimes, the way things work out, we might have several weeks in a row without having a guest who is a Christian. While we are in survey, the ratings are king, and for those few weeks the most important thing is to rate well with the audience.
Then again, sometimes we have several weeks in a row of strong Christian content. Under normal circumstances, we try to have a Christian guest at least one week in three – and more often when possible.
The criteria set by the station is that they must be a “household name” – and over the survey period, the higher the profile, the better.
We sometimes have several weeks in a row with lesser-known guests, or a string of non-Christians guests. This doesn’t phase us too much – since we need to bear in mind the over 85% of listeners for whom spirituality and religion is not an interest. If they continue to tune in, in increasing numbers because of the quality and interest of the programme, then that’s great – because in a couple of weeks we’ll again have a programme that delivers a strong Christian message. By not having ‘God-content’ every single week, we are able to bring that in naturally, positively, without it being forced, contrived or predictable. This is particularly important so that when a guest really doesn’t want to talk about it – or may indeed have a very contrary view-point – then we don’t feel we have to go there.
Please pray that God will direct us to respected, articulate and faithful guests!