Times Square circa 1978
The mission statement for media in New York is to develop programming and new product that produces results and return on investment for both the Communications companies and the content providers and ministry leaders in the New York Metropolitan area. It is my goal and objective to develop original and great programs that are worthy of the stature of New York media; and ensures that the message is Biblical, Systematic and Evangelical in all teaching. I will take the responsibility for ensuring that the mission is pure and far reaching and that the music reflects the originality and flavor of the melting pot that it comes from. My task is to also ensure that the creative; production and the broadcasting integrity is up to the levels of New York Media; Madison Avenue Advertising Agencies and worthy of the great preaching heard from the churches of New York that stirred revival and life changes throughout the years.
It is a large task and it is a daunting challenge that no one can do on their own. It will take deliberate and focused team building but it can change the way people read; listen and view New York Media. Yet it has to be different and better. In the coming weeks there will be research and development projects with keys from people who experienced the best New York has had to offer and has seen New York at its worst. Between 1962 and 1972 New York was at its heyday. Media consisted of first run Broadway shows; Academy Award films and award winning advertisement. It may have felt that way as a kid doing Broadway; learning about radio and television; seeing shows and visiting Radio City; the museums and doing the media tour at NBC.
A Brief History in time
By the time I was playing New York clubs in the Village and on Manhattan Cable Vision, Broadway, films, radio and commercials were in disrepair and so was the pornography business in Times Square. Yes the pigeons messed with the statue of George M. Cohan and the advent of Manhattan Cable Vision lowered the broadcasting bar in New York. By 1975 through 1978 the city was broke. Disco, Punk Rock and the lights on Broadway became a shell of plays and musicals that made statements for social engineering; it was radio that seemed to rise above the confusion and the futility of a city that “couldn’t sleep” instead of a city that “never sleeps.” Then came Son of Sam and CBGB’s had bands doing lewd acts on the stage. For a young singer-songwriter in Greenwich Village coffee houses and a moral compass that had gone haywire, it was time to pack it in and find a new home. At the Academy of Dramatic Arts the disillusioned 20 year old had a reality check, when he told a professor, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” So he abandoned the everyday auditions for TV and radio auditions on Madison Avenue. He left the dance studio auditions for Broadway revivals of “Hair.” He moved out and forged ahead as a writer; a composer and a singer.
Rockefeller Center and Rock Bottom
What was missed in NY was found in Denver. The songwriter wrote for newspapers and began to manage a concert venue. He met his future wife, he recorded, did radio and print interviews and performed at clubs as an opening act and even at galleries in the Denver area. It was there were he got involved with TV and Radio composing and directing soundtracks for documentaries. A brief stint and training at NPR affiliate KCFR, and working in broadcasting; business, management and competitive analysis for a large mutual fund company rounded out a career for a young husband and father. Then an invitation to sing with a worship team and be part of an evangelical movement in Denver energized the young man. “I began to hear sermons differently and was fascinated by the Bible and so I read more; I listened more and I learned how to pray. On the meantime David Wilkerson’s church at Times Square was transforming the neighborhood and with correction of the direction of Times Square; Herald Square and Broadway; with challenge from politicians and the community and the eventuality of the terrorism of 9-11, New York was ripe for change and revival. Pastor Jim Cymbala painstakingly loved people in Bradford-Stuyvesant and wrote three pivotal books on the Holy Spirit; and the community in which he served at Brooklyn Tab. WMCA Radio became the Christian Radio home for New York; and talk-radio formats began to flourish. There have been growing pains; false starts; set- backs and disasters but through it all Christian Soldiers march onward.
Past- present- future
There is no sense in looking back unless you have been tracking what God has done in the midst of our past. At WMCA there have been grand entrances and quiet exits. There have been great men and women who have taken the task of forging ahead with a God sized plan, only to be battered down by winds and rains; and programs that are not up to New York media standards. My sense is that with Jerry Crowley at WMCA, he will be in corrective mode for a while and as Governor Andrew Cuomo likes to say, “calibrating,” as your GPS likes to say: “Recalculating.”
The challenge is to reach out and cultivate programming that originates from New York that come from pastors and leaders who have a message. A representative for a radio show told me that “in order to gain respect, audience and stature in any community, you need a launching pad, and that launching pad is WMCA in New York.” The joy of the journey is to discover and adjust and correct your vision; rise to the challenges that face you; and then and only then, will lives be changed. With that attitude and our eyes on the prize the bottom line begins in delivering the message in creative ways; living the mission in NY Tri-State communities; and cultivating the songs and music that reach across generations with a NY flare, Christian media in New York is at a crossroads. Team building is a big part of the success ratio at any media organization and with Jerry Crowley’s track record at WOR-Radio and before that at WCBS the future for the WMCA team looks bright. Listen as the transformation is on route at http://www.wmca.com/
Starting Friendship in your town
There is one way to start a great ministry that reaches out to people with special needs. When your group or church buys and downloads Friends and Fellowship, the new e-book by Richard Beattie. Its a guide to starting special churches for people with special needs you’ll be able to book a weekend workshop at your church through a webinar and consulting services from Friendship Fellowship. At $3.99 a download you will be supporting Friendship Fellowship, have more ministry opportunities and reach a segment of the population that is under served along with their families and caregivers. Go to: