The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Local Business

October 19, 2013

Listening to the message

Bringing a message Christian radio adapts, grows



The movie changed her life.

“I remember thinking that’s just so awesome,” Thompson said with a laugh. “I just started talking to him then and I haven’t shut up in 40 plus years."

Today, Thompson shares Scripture and her faith with more than 110,000 listeners each week in Indiana.

According to James Crompton, an analyst and industry expert for IBISWorld, Inc. in New York, the radio broadcasting industry has undergone many changes in the past decade. The Internet along with digital platforms for music sharing are altering how consumers listen to their music.

In 2012, about 29 percent of Americans listened to online radio stations which compares to about 11 percent in 2007, Crompton said. Overall, Crompton said Americans spend about 20 hours a week listening to the radio.

And for broader appeal across the nation, Christian stations have started using podcasts, live streaming and satellite radio to make the format available 24 hours a day.


Fine tuning the format

Ray Hashley is the station manager of 97.9 FM, WGNR, and AM 1470, WGNR, where Thompson’s program originates on the south side of Anderson.

Thompson’s program is aired daily on all of the Indiana stations owned by Moody Radio and they include stations in Anderson, Covington, West Lafayette, Kokomo and Bloomington.

“We have a huge area we cover,” he said.

In December, Moody Radio plans to convert its AM station here to all-Spanish to reach a wider audience. That will give Moody Radio an edge, Crompton said. He said many factors come into play when accessing a potential listening base including an area's employment rate and population. For example, Madison County's population is 3.3 percent Hispanic.

"Periods of higher unemployment typically coincide with people listening to less radio, as they would not be commuting as frequently," Crompton said. "So while I cannot definitively say whether or not your city radio stations are reaching the majority of the local population, I can say it is likely they reach a solid majority of residents."

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