K-LOVE: Radio Listening Even I Can Love

I’ve been listening to a lot of radio lately.

Yeah, I know. Big deal. I work for a bunch of radio stations, so I listen to the radio all the time, right?

Okay, true confessions time. No, I don’t listen to the radio all the time. I listen to the radio when I have to. With ten different transmitters to monitor, there comes a point when I’ve heard all the radio I can stand.  I seldom listen to those stations for enjoyment—I’m evaluating the technical quality, coverage, or audio processing. I’m listening for technical issues that cause subconscious annoyance to average listeners and, in the wrong quantity, can make them tune away. Even when I try to listen to one of my stations for enjoyment, I can’t turn off that evaluating-the-signal thing. It’s even hard to turn it off when it’s not one of mine, but for the right programming I can do it.

Like any other consumer, when it comes to listening for enjoyment, there are some things I just don’t listen to. Sports, for example. I’m not into sports all that much, and I find no pleasure whatsoever in listening to grown men talk smack like ten-year-olds (a primary component in some—but not all— sports talk programs). I also don’t listen to Hip-Hop when I don’t have to. I find some of the songs outright offensive, and that offense has nothing to do with ethnicity and everything to do with content. I don’t listen to a lot of talk radio either, and when I do there are certain triggers that will make me tune out faster than you can say Arbitron. Any form of racist rhetoric for example, including those who believe I should apologize for being born Caucasian. I have zero tolerance for racism in any form. Period.

A common thread that runs through all my tune-out triggers is negativity. I don’t need any extra negativity weeds in the garden of my mind, thankyouverymuch.  I have to tolerate a certain degree in order to do my job and coexist with a negative world, but I don’t have to consume negativity when it’s optional. I prefer to put as much positivity into my ears as possible. I need encouragement to fuel my soul so I can encourage others. That’s exactly why I’ve been listening to a lot of radio lately.

My favorite radio station these days is known as “Positive, Encouraging K-LOVE.” It’s not just a radio station, but a network of hundreds of stations coast to coast all carrying the same programming. Some are full-power signals owned by non-profit Educational Media Foundation (EMF), some are leased signals (what the industry refers to as a LMA, or Local Marketing Agreement), and some are low-power satellators (satellite-fed translators), but all carry the same listener-supported format of Contemporary Christian Music with relevant personalities and content. K-LOVE’s mission statement is:

To effectively communicate the Gospel message to those who don’t know or fully understand it, through full-time contemporary Christian music and short educational elements over radio and the Internet-using modern day language and the highest professional standards.

As I see it, they’re doing exactly that, and doing it well. It’s remarkably close to the kind of Christian radio we used to dream about producing ‘back in the day.’  K-LOVE is exactly what I need (from a listener’s perspective) in a radio station. It cleanses my head, encourages my heart and feeds my soul. I don’t just like K-LOVE, I need K-LOVE.

Even if you don’t have one of K-LOVE’s over-the-air outlets where you are, you can listen anywhere you have internet connectivity. There are K-LOVE apps for iPhone and Android phones, as well as streaming through their website that works well on my Android tablet.

I love K-LOVE. I think you will, too. Check it out.

About “The N Word”

Everyone’s been buzzing this week about Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s decision to bail out of broadcast radio following that over-publicized “N-word” boo-boo on her nationally syndicated program. It’s really unfortunate that Dr. Laura feel the need to do jump ship—although there are four months between now and the end of the year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she surfaces in January on some other radio network.  Stuff like that happens in this business all the time.

Even more unfortunate is that Dr. Laura’s point—a very valid point—has been lost in all the name-calling and rock-throwing that followed her unfortunate foot-chomping moment. If only she’d had the good sense to say, “N-word, N-word, N-word” instead of actually using the N-word, perhaps the conversation could have turned more productive.

Dr. Laura’s point was, quite simply, that there is a double-standard in our society when it comes to the N-word. When I searched for a suitable picture to accompany this post, I found zillions of pictures of African-Americans wearing T-shirts with the offensive word emblazoned upon them, album covers, artwork, and other such examples of the same word being used daily, and I’ve yet to hear of the African-American community boycotting musicians or protesting in front of stores selling the offensive apparel.

Let’s be honest here: If Michael Baisden or Tom Joyner had made the same point in the same way using the same words, would it have even caused a blip in the national press? I’ve heard both of those national radio talents say things that, in the mouth of any Caucasian radio talent, would cause an immediate one-way trip to unemploymentland.

It’s a double-standard. It’s wrong. Period.

Personally, I find the “N-word” offensive. It’s offensive on African-American lips, it’s offensive on Caucasian lips, it’s offensive on any lips.

As a boy, I used that word once in my father’s presence—and I do mean exactly once. When I picked myself up from the floor, he explained to me in his salty and straightforward manner that if he ever heard that word on my lips again, I’d be taking a break from further conversation while having my teeth removed from my throat. He went on to say that he served side-by-side with black men in World War II who bled the same shade of red he did. He learned to judge a man by the content of his character rather than the color of his skin. He taught me to use the same method of measure.

Looking back, I can still recall the passion that drove his anger that day. It still speaks to me as it did then, of heartache-laden memories he seldom allowed to surface, respect for those who served our country regardless of their race,  and anger he could usually control when sober but that overtook him when he drank. I always felt there was more to Dad’s interracial war experience than he shared with me that day.  I regret that I never pursued that with him.

I do not, however, regret that I never again said the “N-word” in his presence.