Friday, November 9, 2018

See your trial from a different angle.

Today I got to visit Niagara Falls again.  Being a Western New Yorker, I've been over and over.  A few trips ago, it struck me--Niagara Falls is like trials in life.  Everything changes, depending on which angle you see it from from.

There are boats you can take right to the foot of the falls.  It's quite a journey to get down to the dock.  Then you launch.  At first you see the falls from a distance.  And they are impressive.  They kind of draw you in.  Then, the boat begins fighting the current and you're thrust right into the middle of Horseshoe Falls.   There is water plunging all around you.  You feel the power of it from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head.  If you think about it, your heart begins to race from the force of it all.

Here we are, in the middle of your trial.  It's a struggle so massive you don't see a way out.  It consumes you.  The water's roar is deafening.  The current is swirling around you.  The mist is flying at your face.  The movement is all-consuming.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Psalm 46:1-3


Then the boat begins to back out.  You get some perspective.  You feel that sense of conquest.  Same falls.  Different angle.  As the distance grows you have more of an appreciation for where you've been.  You notice the sky.  The boulders.  The birds.  The people.  Often when you're emerging from a trial, there's a point where you realize life has been going on all around you.

You can also see the falls from high above.  They look majestic.  Not frightening, but still awe-inspiring.  They are created by the hand of God.  His providence made them.  His providence also makes your trials.  Nothing coming your way without God allowing it.  When you get perspective on your struggles, you appreciate them. 


The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; Deuteronomy 33:27

This was the first time I've been to the falls in cold weather.  Normally the mist feels cold, but not like today.  It was piercing; stinging my face.  And the sheer volume of it soaked me to the core.  In the same way, similar circumstances can impact us differently, depending on what season of life we are in

Trials aren't going anywhere.  God allows them so we can grow.  We might even have to go through the same thing over and over, until we finally overcome it for good.   From the first glance, to the victory, seek God through your hard time.  He is always with us, looking to show us His purpose and plan.

Terese Main is a morning co-host at Family Life, a network of nearly 70 Christian radio stations across New York and Pennsylvania (www.fln.org).  She is a freelance air personality in Nevada, Kansas, Arizona and Texas also provides imaging voicework for stations in Florida, California, Minnesota, Indiana and Wisconsin (www.themainvoice.com).

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

You Must Go Through.

It was back on May 22nd that I had surgery on my Achille's Tendon.  The plan was for me to have a 4-6 week recovery and then slowly start standing and walking.  It's now week 7 and I'm still not on my feet.  Is this God's plan?  

Some things happened along the way.  On June 12th I suffered a massive pulmonary embolism.  After the fact, my cardiologist told me he didn't think I would survive.  Looking back, I see the hand of God every step of the way.  I was out of the hospital in just a few days, with a new way of living.  Is this God's plan?

Then there is my clumsiness.  I've never been the most graceful person in the world.  A couple times now I have lost my balance and stepped down onto my recovering foot.  Each time, I add extra recovery time.  Right now my surgeon is concerned the tendon isn't healing right.  We are taking it week by week.  Is this God's plan?

God has me going through these things because He loves me and He has something to teach me. I wish it were easier. The really good lessons are never easy. I have regretted this surgery time and time again. But I can't go back. I can't live in regret. I have to go through it.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9

In the same was Moses went through the desert. In the way Mary went through birth. In the same way Jesus went through the crucifixion. Many times, especially as Americans, we look for ways to get around things. We need to embrace the pain, and the struggle, grab Jesus' hand and move through it. It's not easy. Is this God's plan?  Yes. 

Terese Main is a morning co-host at Family Life, a network of nearly 70 Christian radio stations across New York and Pennsylvania (www.fln.org).  She is a freelance air personality in Kansas, Arizona and Texas also provides imaging voicework for stations in Florida, California, Minnesota, Virginia and Wisconsin (www.themainvoice.com).

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Making the Most of Online Research

Online research gets a bad rap.  Some of the arguments I have heard against it:  "The sample size is too small."  "It's unreliable."  "Only weirdos take online music surveys."

On the flip side, it's cost effective.  It has a crazy fast turn around, and for many stations, it's the only research tool they have.

So, how can you make the most out of your online research?  Here are some strategies I have used which have resulted in, what I believe, is a pretty reliable tool to help make my station is as effective as possible.

1)  Split your database:  When people sign up for your online research, they answer many questions about their age, where they live and sometimes even their interests.  Nose around in all that data and figure out who you trust the most.  Put them in one database.  Everyone else goes in the other.  I run two surveys simultaneously.  Every single time.  One survey group is my target.  The other is everyone else.  I look at data from both groups, but weigh the opinion of the target group more.

2)  Know who is in  your database:  Theoretically, the people who are signed up to take your music surveys are passionate about your station.  Hopefully they come to your events.  Meet them and get to know their names.  If that doesn't happen naturally, plan an event for your database.  Some sort of "Thank You" gathering with some cost-effective food and goodie bags.  This is where you might actually see some weirdos.  Make sure you have them in the right database.  (See above.)

3)  Massage your database:  I fiddle in my database every couple months.  As new people join, I move some to my target as needed.  As people age, I move them out of the target database.  Recently, I heard some programmers talking about testing W25-49 instead of W25-54.  The change in my results was significant.  The result is a fresher, yet still hit-based, sound. Give it a try.  If that doesn't work for you, move the 49-54 back in next time.

4)  Reward your database:  Start every message with "Thank You."  End every message with "We appreciate you!"  Let your database know they are important.  Then, give them stuff.  Random stuff is great.  Exclusive stuff is better.  Get them concert ticket pre-sale codes.  And on your next email, tell everyone who won the last time.  The goal here is not to bribe people.  The goal is to create buzz.  It gives your air personalities a reason to talk about your survey on the air, and reminds people to take it.  A giveaway can be especially helpful during those times of year when response slows down.  

5)  Remember you database is a tool:  With any home improvement job, you depend on a variety of tools to get the job done.  Programming a radio station is like that.  Online research, combined with all the other information we have at our fingertips, gives us a clear view of trends that are emerging with our audiences.  I don't live and die by my online research, but when it confirms what I already believe, I make a change and don't look back.

6)  Throw out bad surveys:  Once in awhile, you get back a wacky survey.  It happens.  By testing a variety of songs, you can easily tell if your data is good.  If proven hits suddenly take a turn and new music is testing like a rockstar, that would be weird.  In the four years I have been using online testing, I have tossed a few.  Trust your gut.  If the data doesn't quite look right, don't use it. If you have a few bad surveys in a row, massage your database.  (See above.)

7)  Keep adding new members:  People will eventually stop taking your surveys.  They get bored.  Their email address changes.  They get offended with your station.  Keep putting new people into the pipe.  So how many people do you need to have to make your data reliable?  As many as possible.  Once I asked a trusted consultant how many people had to show up at an auditorium test to have it count.  His answer was 35, if they are the right people.  This is where running two databases is helpful.  (See above.)  You will get more reliable results from a small group of the right people than a large group of the wrong people.

How do you get the most out of your online testing?  I'd love to learn ways to improve what I do.  Hopefully I've given you some food for thought.  As always, I appreciate your feedback.

Terese Main is Assistant Program Director/Music Director/Morning Co-host at Family Life, a network of nearly 70 Christian radio stations across New York and Pennsylvania (www.fln.org).  She is also a freelance on-air personality in Kansas, Nevada, Arizona and Texas and also provides imaging voicework for stations in Florida, California, Minnesota and Wisconsin (www.themainvoice.com).

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Do I Smell?
Have you ever smelled something so nasty that you wanted to throw up right then and there? I was in line at the grocery store yesterday when I got a whiff of this guy behind me and my stomach started to turn. I tried to smell my sleeve just to distract my brain. I got that light headed feeling. Didn't even care if I got change. I inched forward. And so did he. I wished for some essential oil to wipe under my nose. Mercy!
 

How does someone not even smell themselves when they smell THAT bad? 

I wondered if he had showered all week. All month? I finally was done and headed to my car. Head held high. Thankful that I have clean clothes and running water. I wondered "Do I ever smell that bad?"


Then I thought about my sin. Putrid filth. The way God could have looked at me and turned His nose up. He could have been repulsed. He could have fled from me. But instead, He ran towards me and embraced me, in all my nasty, vile stink. Then He washed me clean. Why can't I love people better? Who am I to think I am better? Cleaner? Fresher? I didn't do anything to make me any of those things. I was simply made new by the pure, profound love of a Savior.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous
to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Terese Main is a morning co-host at Family Life, a network of nearly 70 Christian radio stations across New York and Pennsylvania (www.fln.org).  She is a freelance air personality in Kansas, Arizona and Texas also provides imaging voicework for stations in Florida, California, Minnesota, Virginia and Wisconsin (www.themainvoice.com).  

Friday, September 30, 2016

Encouraging Without Words.

It's a very special thing I get to do--being on Christian radio.  Sometimes I forget people are listening.  Hardly ever do I think about the impact I'm having.  Once in awhile when I'm at an event and see our audience face-to-face, the reality comes crashing into me.

My words are important.  
Suddenly I become hyper-aware of every sentence I udder.
Are my words good enough to help someone draw closer to Jesus?

Someone I just met shared with me something that will forever free me from that pressure.  It was the end of her first marriage.  Her husband took her to a busy restaurant and bluntly told her he didn't love her.  That he was divorcing her.  And with that, she stood up and walked out, broken-hearted.

Soon after she prayed for someone to encourage her and she stumbled on a Christian station on her radio.  It wasn't any deep, profound thoughts that pulled her back to grace.  It was laughter.  The female co-host on the morning show had a laugh that oozed joy and love.  And with every giggle, the healing began.



Are words important?  Yes.  But even more so, is the spirit in which we speak them.  If you are uttering profound Bible truth with no love--no grace--no tenderness, you're only telling half of the story.  Let Jesus shine through every noise that comes out of your mouth...even if it's just a laugh.

Terese Main is a morning co-host at Family Life, a network of nearly 70 Christian radio stations across New York and Pennsylvania (www.fln.org).  She also provides imaging voicework for stations in Florida, California, Minnesota, Virginia and Wisconsin (www.themainvoice.com). 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Must Be Present to Win.

Those words are pretty universal for things like contests and drawings.  More than once I've been the one drawing a name, only to have the person not be there--and we move on to the next winner.  This past week though, I was on the other side...more than once.

I had the joy of going to the Christian Music Broadcasters "Momentum" conference in Orlando, Florida.  The speakers and music were amazing, but so are the interactions with people.  It's the balancing that I have trouble with.

So, back to the drawings.  One of my dearest friends was having a rough afternoon on the second day of the conference.  I texted if she wanted company, she said yes, so off I went and the two of us had a good heart-to-heart.  The next drawing was for an iPad Mini.  My name was picked.  I wasn't there.  I didn't win.

The next day, I vowed not to be late, but I got to talking with some wise women about health issues.  Then I sped down to the business center to mail a box home.  The hallway is always a temptation with me--a volunteer I love and get to hug--a industry co-hort who I get to share a smile with.  The second I walk into the ballroom, I get the news--my name was just picked again; this time for a $250 restaurant gift card.  Again, I'm empty-handed, and craving Mexican food.

Who gets drawn twice and misses winning both time?  Well, me.
But still, I'm the luckiest girl in the room!

So back to the rules of the contest:  "Must Be Present to Win."  It's true--I wasn't in the room both times my name was called.  However I was present in a few different ways.  I was present for an ill friend who I hope I was able to encourage.  I was present for a volunteer who I hugged.

Where is God asking you to be present?  At home?  At church?  At work?  At His throne?  Am I bummed about not winning and iPad.  Yes.  Do I wish I could treat my family to a dinner out?  Sure.  Am I super embarrassed about being laughed at during a conference?  You betcha.  Am I thankful God used it in a way to show me the areas of my life I'm neglecting?  Definitely.

1 Peter 4:10
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received
to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.


Terese Main is a morning co-host at Family Life, a network of nearly 70 Christian radio stations across New York and Pennsylvania (www.fln.org).  She also provides imaging voicework for stations in Florida, California, Minnesota, Virginia and Wisconsin (www.themainvoice.com).  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Waffles.

The First Graders in my Sunday School class teach me so much; I sometimes wonder who the teacher is.  A few weeks back, a wee one was trembling in the hallway.  I hadn't noticed her when another teacher came in, "Is this little one in the hall yours?" 

There she was.  Long blonde curly locks.  Looking down at the ground.  I figured she needed a little courage to come to class.  "Can I take your hand?"  She reluctantly took it, but barely moved.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit, for in that moment, I stopped, kneeled down to her sweet face, "What's wrong, sweetie." 

"I had waffles," she replied. 


It turns out, she had syrup stuck on her face.  I don't know about you, but I HATE dried syrup on my face!  I quickly whisked her to get a wet paper towel, she wiped off her face and practically skipped to class. It was just what she needed.

By taking the time to ascertain her need, I was able to truly minister to her.  It made me wonder...

How many times have I THOUGHT I was ministering to someone when I was completely missing their need?

Take a moment.  And ask.  Get to know people's hearts before you try to do something to help them.  You might be surprised by the simple things God has for you to do for someone else.

Terese Main is a morning co-host at Family Life, a network of nearly 70 Christian radio stations across New York and Pennsylvania (www.fln.org).  She also provides imaging voicework for stations in Florida, California, Minnesota, Virginia and Wisconsin (www.themainvoice.com).