In this edition of Beyond the Song, Jantina Baksteen caught up with Brain Crowe and did an interview about his work on the radio station The Life FM and his show, Gospel Radio Favorites.
Jantina Baksteen: Please introduce yourself.
Brain Crowe: I have been happily married for 28 years. I have two children and four grandchildren. Believe it or not, radio has not always been my primary full-time source of income. Although I have been on the radio for many years part-time, law enforcement was my primary career for nearly ten years. In August of 2019, I retired from law enforcement and I accepted a position as the Network Director and Morning Show Host for The LifeFM. The LifeFM is a 26 station Southern gospel radio network covering ten states.
JB: Are you the founder of Gospel Radio Favorites?
BC: Yes, I have listened to Southern gospel music for as long as I could remember, (including) groups like the Blackwood Brothers, Speer Family, Cathedral Quartet, Gold City and so many more. I remember around the age of nine, asking my parents if I could walk across the street to the local neighborhood church to hear the Blackwood Brothers in concert. I was so excited to go and loved every minute of the concert. I was mesmerized by the tight harmonies and passion the guys had for the music and the love for the Lord.
In the late 90s, I felt called to pastor and started a 30-minute radio ministry on WSNL A.M. 600 in Flint, Michigan. Little did I know, God had bigger plans for this station and my ministry. After about a year of radio ministry, I was approached by now my good friend and mentor Donnie Cox who asked if I was interested in filling in for the Saturday morning Southern Gospel host from 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. I was thrilled to have this opportunity. The temporary fill-in position turned into a full-time radio show. It is at this time I started a program called “Gospel Radio Favorites.”
After several years of ministry in Michigan, both as an ordained pastor and radio host, my wife and I prayerfully decided to move to Tennessee. We packed up a few boxes, loaded our U-Haul, and said goodbye to Michigan and hello to Tennessee. This was a very difficult decision. We moved to a small town outside of Chattanooga, Tenn.
While living in Chattanooga, I was offered the opportunity to host Gospel Radio Favorites on a couple of secular stations for a short time. This opportunity didn’t last very long, the formats changed and my program was canceled. Then in November 2017, Gospel Radio Favorites was aired on 101.7 WJSQ, a large Country Music Station in Athens, Tenn. Since November 26, 2017, Gospel Radio Favorites has been heard every Sunday on 101.7 WJSQ, Athens, Tenn. I consider WJSQ my anchor station and I am grateful for the opportunity I was given and Gospel Radio Favorites is still heard on this station every Sunday from 7:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Since 2017, God has blessed my program by expanding to numerous markets all over the United States and now in the United Kingdom. The LifeFM is a radio network of 26 stations and currently airs the program.
I am truly blessed and honored to have been syndicated and can now be heard on affiliate stations across the United States like Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, South Carolina, North Carolina, Indiana, Florida, Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, Alaska, Tennessee, Texas, Ohio, Mississippi, Arkansas, and many more, including a station in the United Kingdom and around the world online!
JB: How did you get into this business? Was it a dream for you to do radio?
BC: I remember as a young boy holding a hairbrush like a microphone and pretending to announce the last song played, give the weather and announce the next song coming up…I’ve always loved Southern gospel and been told I have a radio voice. Many people have left voice messages and commented, “You ought to be in radio!” I guess I have one of those voices!
JB: Could you share your testimony?
BC: I grew up in church and was very active in our youth program. It wasn’t until my early twenties I realized although I was going through the motions, I had never accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior. I was saved and baptized in a small church in Pontiac, Michigan. A few years later, I felt a strong calling to the ministry. I was ordained and had the privilege of pastoring two churches. Today, I consider my syndicated radio show a ministry, and we are reaching more now than ever before with the gospel of Jesus Christ through Southern and Bluegrass gospel music.
JB: Do you know the number of listeners?
BC: Although I don’t know the exact number of listeners, I know that my program reaches tens of thousands of people every week.
JB: How many States tune in to Gospel Radio Favorites?
BC: Currently, Gospel Radio Favorites is aired in over 50 markets. This includes both terrestrial and online radio stations currently covering approximately 23 or more states and streaming online all over the world.
JB: Are there listeners from foreign countries?
BC: Yes, I receive messages weekly from listeners all over the world, (because of) the ability to stream Gospel Radio Favorites online, and the majority of Gospel Radio Favorites affiliate stations stream their feed. This opens up my program to anyone with an internet connection and a love for Southern Gospel Music. I have received messages from listeners in the Philippines, Uganda, Kenya, Australia, Fiji and many, many more!
JB: What other than music is broadcasted on Gospel Radio Favorites?
BC: Gospel Radio Favorites is primarily Southern gospel music with a few Bluegrass gospel songs mixed in along the way. GRF has artist interviews, industry music news, interesting quick topics of interest and always appropriate, clean humor.
JB: Is there someone (from the past) that you wish you could have interviewed on your station?
BC: Growing up listening to many of the artists like the Cathedrals Quartet, Happy Goodmans and the Speer Family, I would have loved to be able to interview George Younce and Glen Payne, Vestal Goodman and Ben Speer. I would have also liked to have had the chance to interview Billy Graham.
JB: How is the station supported?
BC: Gospel Radio Favorites is a listener-supported radio ministry. We are currently in the process of becoming a 501-C3 ministry. We should have this process finalized in 2020.
JB: What is your vision for 2020 for GRF?
BC: To continue to prayerfully seek the guidance of my Lord as we grow and expand the ministries of Gospel Radio Favorites. I would love the opportunity for more speaking and preaching engagements in 2020.
JB: How can Southern gospel listeners find Gospel Radio Favorites?
BC: Gospel Radio Favorites can be found at www.gospelradiofavorites.com. Click “Broadcast Schedule” to see the affiliate stations and broadcast timeso or visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GospelRadioFavorites/
Address: GOSPEL RADIO FAVORITES, A Nationally Syndicated Radio Program. 810 S. Pendleton St. P.O. Box 204 Easley, SC, 29641
STUDIO NUMBER: 423.567.3004
JB: Thanks, Brain Crowe, for allowing us a look inside the fine ministry you work in. We pray that the message that goes out from that program won’t return empty, and will lead listeners to Christ.
For more Gospel Music News, read the latest issue of the SGNScoops Magazine HERE.