By Jenny Collins ’05
On June 30, Jason Sharp took the helm as station manager for 98.5 KTIS FM (Minneapolis/St. Paul), after three years on the job as the station’s director of programming. His 21-year journey in Christian radio—both on the air and in leadership—has led him through Delaware, Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana and Minnesota. With KTIS’ 61-year history to build upon, Sharp looks to the future of the station and shares his enthusiasm about what lies ahead.
What challenges does 98.5 KTIS face today?
Meeting people “where they are” spiritually is constantly a challenge. We are blessed to have 475,000 people listening each week and all are in a different place. So meeting their needs can be a difficult task! Just like it says in First Corinthians, some need milk and some need solid food. And then, others haven’t even come to the table yet! Between our music-based format and our sister station Faith 900 KTIS AM’s in-depth biblical teaching, our prayer is that we will reach people at the right time in the right way.
What needs does Christian radio serve in an era of satellite radio and the Internet?
For us, it is all about serving our local community. We believe God put KTIS on the air in 1949 for a reason and we want to be good stewards of that responsibility. It pleases my heart when I hear ministries like Minnesota Teen Challenge, Union Gospel Mission or Tree House on KTIS. That we can use the tool we have to tell our audience about ministries in this community— and even encourage community members to serve one another—is a tremendous opportunity.
How will you and your team shape KTIS for this next decade?
Our mission guides everything we do and that is “to bring people to Christ and nurture believers in their spiritual growth through Christ-centered media.” We have a vision to “engage and mobilize the KTIS family to connect with and love our community through Christ.” We believe that if we can accomplish our vision then we will indeed accomplish our mission. We promote initiatives like PrayerWorks, I Can Help–Twin Cities, and the Drive-Thru Difference because they help accomplish what we believe God is calling us to do.
You receive testimonies from listeners each day. Which one has inspired you most?
Nicole e-mailed me to tell me that God found her through a cup of coffee and Starbucks! It’s an amazing testimony. A KTIS listener did the Drive-Thru Difference and paid for Nicole’s coffee. Nicole read the flyer that was handed to her and started listening to KTIS. She had never listened before and felt convicted to start going to church where weeks later, she accepted Christ and was baptized. All because of a cup of coffee! I can’t imagine the joy that the “giver” will feel one day when Jesus introduces him or her to Nicole. That story inspires me because the vision (engaging, mobilizing, connecting, loving) helped accomplish our mission— bring people to Christ!
Who selects the songs in KTIS’ playlist rotations? How do you manage the broad range of opinions on this?
The KTIS director of programming selects the music. Prior to being named station manager, that was my responsibility, but it now belongs to Keith Stevens. It is not easy to achieve the “perfect music mix” for all of our listeners. That’s why we created the KTIS Music Team. I encourage people to join this team by going to our website at ktis.fm. That truly is the best way for you to pick the songs that you would like to hear each day…and even the songs that you do not want to hear.
When you’re not listening to KTIS, what are you listening to on your iPod?
Oh my. Is this where everyone thinks I am either crazy or really cool? OK...as I look through my iPod, I see Neil Diamond, Milli Vanilli, The Statler Brothers, Bee Gees, Bruce Hornsby, and the Eagles, to name a few.
Tell us about your family.
They are truly a gift from God. Julie and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary and we have two children: Haley, our 11-year old daughter, enjoys piano, clarinet and is a budding artist. Carson, our 8-year-old son, is into everything that includes a ball or a puck. Julie works in admissions at the kids’ school in Andover.