Today (Monday, December 9, 2013) begins my last week at 89.5 KVNE and 91.3 KGLY. “Bittwesweet” doesn’t even begin to describe it.
If you haven’t heard, this Friday (December 13th) is my last day at KVNE and KGLY. I’ve accepted a position as the Senior Communication Specialist for UT Health Northeast (formerly the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler) where I’ll be directing their donor communications.
When DJ, Caroline and I came here more than five years ago, our daughter was only “free yirs old,” I was nearly 20 pounds heavier and my wife was … just as beautiful then as she is today! 😉
Since I walked through the doors here at 2721 East Erwin, things have changed a lot.
First and foremost, there are a lot more people in this little bitty building than there were when I arrived. Chad Stanley, Jill Smith, Kevin Harris, Jarrett Calvert and Nikki Martinez have all joined us since I got here. Elaine Whittington left shortly after I arrived, and my adopted little sister, Jennifer Winborn moved on to Orlando, Florida, where she now hosts the number one, top-rated afternoon show in the 33rd largest radio market in the country. (Way to go, Jen!) Yeah, she’s just that good and – as much as I’d like to take credit for her success – no, I didn’t teach her everything she knows!
We replaced the websites that were here when I arrived not once, but twice … first on Joomla and now on WordPress. (Sorry, geeking out a little bit there.) A couple of years later, KVNE became “The Christmas Station,” the only radio station in East Texas to play Christmas music – commercial free – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from Thanksgiving through Christmas day. As a result, lots of people who had never heard of KVNE before have come to us for Christmas music and stayed around for the encouraging contemporary Christian music we play the rest of the year.
We’re also on our second consultant since I got here. Kevin Robinson helped me overcome a lot of my paranoia about discussing my family on the air (I used to be a cop, for goodness’ sake. We like our privacy!), and Chuck Finney managed to squash the last little bit of “announcer guy” out of me and teach me how to just be myself on the air … after more than 30 years in the media. Soooo, you can “blame” Chuck for that! :o)
My role has “evolved” at the stations, as well. I started out as mid-day announcer, webmaster and production director. I moved from mid-days to afternoons before Jennifer left; took on graphic design and video production, then Kevin Harris was hired to take over as production director; and I moved from afternoon drive back to mid-days when Nikki Martinez was hired as our new music director.
Then there’s that little building project on Old Jacksonville Highway. If you haven’t been by the construction site recently, you’d better go now because the framing for the exterior walls is almost finished. When the building is completed, KVNE & KGLY will have a state of the art broadcast facility that will allow them to minister even more effectively to the people of East Texas and beyond. (I’d be lying if I said that I’m not, at least, a little bit sad that I won’t be working in that new building!)
Since I walked through the doors on September 2, 2008, we’ve been through 11 PraiseShares, four Orphan Outreach mission trips, four Pastor Appreciation Dinners, four Valentines for Kids (& Seniors) collections, five fan drives, five Adopt-a-Family collections, three Listener Appreciation Party’s at Splash Kingdom, 73 concerts (76 if you count Mike Harper appearing at Java Jams!), eight filling replacements (just me, not counting everyone else’s fillings), 214 staff meetings and, approximately, 9,687,737 tissues. (I cry … okay, I cry a lot.)
But, most importantly, we’ve seen God use KVNE and KGLY to make some amazing changes in people’s lives. For as long as I live, I will cherish the emails, cards, letters and phone calls from:
- People who said they felt worthless, until God told them through a song we play that HE believes they are worth his son’s life,
- People who were going to kill themselves, until God told them through one of our short feature programs that HE has a reason for them to live,
- People who thought this life was all there is, until God spoke to them through something one of us said about Jesus dying so that they could have life and live it to the fullest!
- Moms and dads who said something they heard on the station started their child asking questions that led them to accept Christ as their savior … just like my daughter, Caroline, did!
Don’t let anyone tell you that I won’t miss KVNE … and KGLY … and you! We’ve grown together over the past five and half years. You are my friends and some of you have even become the family DJ, Caroline and I didn’t have here, as transplants to East Texas.
Because several people have asked, I want you to know that, yes, I will still be involved in ministry. I work with our youth at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, where we would love to have you if you don’t have a church home. You can find out more about us at http://phbctyler.com. (As of Sunday, December 8th, we were the only church in East Texas to have a beatboxer (me) as a regular part of their praise team.) I’ll also still be building websites and doing voice over work, media training and communications consulting for churches, ministries and select non-profits. You can find out more about that at http://radicalimpact.com.
Finally, there are two things I want to share:
First, to my friends / our listeners: Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” It doesn’t say, “If you confess with your mouth and go to the right church …” or “If you confess with your mouth and clean up your life first …” or “If you confess with your mouth and do enough good things …” We make the free gift of eternal life that Jesus offers to everyone way too complicated. Read it again: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Just believe it and put your faith in Jesus. He has already done all the work!
Second, to our daughter Caroline: I know you’re a little bit put out with me for leaving KVNE. You’ll get over it. 🙂 And, in time, you’ll better understand that going where God leads you is always the right thing to do, whether it’s popular, or it seems to make any sense to you at the time, or not. And, no matter what happens, what I’ve told you every night since the day you were born will always be true …
Mommy loves you, and daddy loves you, and Jesus loves you most of all!
And, by the way, yes, I will keep sharing Caroline stories on Facebook, if you want to keep up with her … http://facebook.com/theotherjeffjohnson.
With that in mind …
That’s gonna do it for me, the OTHER Jeff Johnson. Time for (Joe & Betty’s baby boy) (DJ’s hubby) (Caroline’s daddy) to call it a day, once last time, again. I’m going out to look for myself. If I show up here before I find me, do, please, keep me here ’til I get back.
So long, for now, friends!