|Moments before leaving Nashville. The tears aren't visible.|
I had been working in the U.S. at the Christian radio station that, some say, pioneered the way for future stations. Truly, WAY-FM was an innovator and the company President was a visionary.
Working in Nashville at WAY-FM was my dream job. It's where I learned how to do Christian radio, and listener supported radio. Living in Nashville was more than wonderful and the day we packed up to return to Canada, I cried like a girl. It was a great city; I had made good friends; it was an exciting place to live; O'Charley's Restaurant, Cool Springs Mall - arrrrg - I could go on and on.
In September 1997, it was like God was dragging me out of the country with me kicking and screaming. As I crossed the border from Tennessee to Kentucky I felt like I was leaving everything good behind. It was a horrible, long drive back to Canada. At the time I thought that no radio station would be more fun than WAY-FM and now that I had lost it, nothing good would come from it. I screwed it up. I had no idea that WAY-FM would be the catalyst for LIFE 100.3.
I moved to Barrie for one reason only - I had nowhere else to live. Coming back to Canada was the last thing I wanted to do but I spent all my money in the U.S. My parents brought me and my family to Barrie to live with them. It was a humbling time - having a wife and kids, no job, no prospects of a job and having to live off my parents.
I remember picking up three part-time jobs and grossing $12,000 in 1998! I was lucky I could put gas in my car and pay my insurance.
|Dad and me, about 2007.|
This was a career valley in my life. I was fed up with secular radio and the sexy rude music, which was less rude in 1997 than today. With my daughter being a new teenager, I missed the (Christian) songs that proclaimed virtues like trust, honour, purity and love.
While living with my parents in their basement I continued to attend church, pray, seek God and ask people for advice.
One day I was leaving my parents house to go to my part-time weekend job and my Dad was in the driveway. I was totally forlorn at my hopeless situation. I stared at my Dad, my eyes welled up and I grabbed him for a hug. He patted me on the back, like a father and told me everything would be alright. I know he felt my pain.
Living with my parents in their basement lasted a year a half. I often was angry at my parents about my situation. As if it was their fault that I got fired. I am embarrassed to say that I was ungrateful for their generosity and hospitality, blind to the fact that they fed me, clothed me, paid my dentist bills while I searched for the next chapter in my life.
Most people think that starting a Christian radio station was my lifelong dream. It wasn’t. It just happened. The CRTC had changed the broadcast rules and were awarding licenses to full-time Christian stations and I wondered what might happen if I combined my faith and experience. So, I sent in a pitiful application that not only won me the license for LIFE 100.3, but skipped the entire hearing process. We got a rubber stamp approval.
Now LIFE 100.3 is here. LIFE celebrated its 17 anniversary last August and today I continue to lead this radio ministry. Most of my days are fabulous. Radio has changed alot with new technology but I still love this business and I've come to believe that wherever God has you, that's the best place to be.
The advice I got along the way:
Pastor Ian McLean told me “you have to give up your idols before God will reveal the next plan”. What’s your idol? Figure it out and surrender it.
Rebecca St. James told me “God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.” While I had a substanial amount of radio experience, it was God who led me to the people who cheered on my vision and supported me.
Pastor Kevin Bushey told me “God gives grace to the stupid”. I interpret that as meaning, I knew programming but not business, not engineering and not fundraising and so God gave me a shortcut before I gave up.
Bob Augsburg, the President of WAY-FM told me “To whom much is given, much is required”.
If you’re stuck in a valley - seek God. He will bring you out of it.