By Debbonnaire Kovacs, posted July 22, 2015
“Internet radio is the wave of the future,” says Glen Striemer. He ought to know. He owns four internet radio stations, each reaching different populations, though there is overlap.
Striemer’s background shows him to have the people skills and marketing skills to be a successful radio entrepreneur. He spent twenty-five years selling literature back when it was called “colporteur ministry,” and sold two million dollars’ worth of books all over the U.S. and Canada. When he retired from that in 2008, he worked for five years in sales, marketing, and promotion for three different Christian radio stations. It was in 2014 that he had his epiphany regarding internet radio and went into business for himself.
His flagship station was Loud Cry Radio, which went on the air in 2015. It caters to the conservative Christian, though Striemer adds that there is “a world of difference” between conservative Christians in general and conservative Adventists. He points out that many Adventists object to any drums or beat, or sometimes even to anything that is not Adventist in origin. Loud Cry Radio has all Adventist spoken word content, but its music is an interesting mix.
In fact, all four stations maintain this same mix in their musical styles in general: country, soul, contemporary, instrumental, symphony, Broadway songs from famous shows, and Jewish music down through the decades. Striemer says there is “some incredible Jewish music in Hebrew.”
Loud Cry Radio also did something that, so far as Striemer is aware, no other Christian radio station has done. “Back in 50s, 60, and 70s,” he explains, “all or most major artists did contemporary albums, Christmas albums, and gospel albums. We went back and got the stars’ gospel albums, everyone from Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson to Mahalia Jackson and Elvis Presley—the list goes on and on—and every hour on the hour you hear these songs. The general public seemed to really appreciate that.”
Besides music, the station plays some unique programs: they have a Christian counselor, a Christian mechanic, grief support, a “Dear Michele” advice columnist; a total of ten to twelve exclusive shows they’ve developed. The way they do sermons is different than usual, too. They take sermons by big Adventist names such as Mark Finley, Morris Venden, or Henry Feyerabend, and distill them into three-minute segments. For example, he said, “Elder Finley did an hour on heaven; I got seven distinct sermons from that. And they’re powerful. People are busy and distracted. They’re listening to internet radio in their cars on their way to work or shopping. Hour-long sermons are obsolete. Our shows are music-driven, but we do put in these little sermonettes, and people comment on how much they like them.”
The station “met with some pretty immediate success,” Striemer says. He advertises in Adventist union papers in a cycle, and also hired a social media team, promoting to Adventists and non-Adventists worldwide.
Soon Striemer’s eyes turned outward again. What other segment of the public was underserved by Christian radio? What about the three million Native Americans living on the North American continent? His next station was Native Christian Radio, and features native artists, native testimonies, and native preachers. “Not a hundred percent,” he admits, “because there are not enough out there.” But the station caters to their history and traditions. He says with all the natives he’s talked to, he’s been impressed that their heritage is very important to them. He sees many white people criticizing that, even saying that natives are “bringing in paganism.”
“We don’t criticize; we embrace,” says Striemer. They launched their station with a video of the Canadian government officially apologizing for the horrific abuses that happened in residential schools, and this video is still the first one on the list found here.
The Smithsonian Museum donated files of native people singing hymns in their dialect from all over North America, and they sometimes play these. They have a Native Spotlight which features native artists, and promote native natural healing on topics such as alcohol, diabetes, tobacco, and diet.
Naturally, Striemer faced some opposition. Some white people complained that if you listened to this station you would “hear gibberish.” Striemer simply took that as evidence that he was successfully making a station that would appeal, not to whites, but to Native Americans. Some Adventists also complained about the drums, Broadway tunes, and “heathens like Elvis Presley” on Loud Cry Radio.
So Striemer launched his next station, SDA Radio. He says they debated long and hard on using the name, and ended up using it, with a disclaimer on the home page that states, “SDA Radio is a tithe paying, supporting ministry and is not part of, or affiliated with, or endorsed by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist headquarters in Silver Spring, MD, or any of its subsidiaries. Copyright 2015 SDAradio.org.” He also gives a brief (brief! one paragraph) history of the denomination and a clear statement of the station’s purpose, which is to highlight the renewed emphasis on salvation by faith alone that was brought about by the 1888 messages of A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner, and strongly endorsed by Ellen White. [For example: The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit. [EGW, Test. to Ministers, p.91.]
“Righteousness by faith is what the sermonettes on this station are all about,” Striemer says. The music on this one is “toned down a notch” for Adventist ears, (but they probably still offend some, since they also have “lots of women preachers.”)
One of those is Striemer’s daughter, Naomi. She used to have a show when he worked in Christian commercial radio, and when she left to concentrate on her music and they put John Tesh in her place, they assumed ratings would soar. Instead, hers were actually higher! They still feature Naomi’s messages on all four stations. (If you’d like to learn more about Naomi’s ministry, visit her here.)
Just recently, Striemer reached out in a different direction. He did some research on natural healing and found “there wasn’t one natural healing radio station in the Christian radio world. When we saw this landscape, we thought what a place to go in with our health messages!”
The result was Natural Way Radio, “the first 24/7 global Christian natural healing station. We got some really peaceful music, and we’ll play a couple songs, then have a natural healing snippet. Our only sermons are on things eastern mystics are interested in, such as heaven and angels.” Striemer says they mingle the gospel with that, and also have some Christian counselors and some of the Native natural healing.
All these stations will soon be found in one place on a GS Radio site that he hopes will be up in a month or so, but in the meantime, you can find them all from the links above. And they depend on advertising, so if you have products and services that you think would be a good fit, and you want to help, click on Advertise on any of the stations’ homepages to find out what your options are.