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Music streaming capabilities have improved considerably since Faith and Friends Radio first began broadcasting online in 2011. This has led to larger listenership for the local company, which celebrates its fifth anniversary with a concert featuring Mark Lowry at Victoria Theatre in Dayton on Saturday, April 30.
“God has blessed us in many, many ways,” said Bill Nance, who spent more than 40 years in terrestrial radio before launching his online venture. “It continues to grow. Being Internet-based, we’ve been heard around the world now in 169 countries, which is just awesome.”
The biggest boost occurred in August 2014, when Faith and Friends became the first Internet-based station accepted by iHeart Radio.
“That has been a big plus because of the popularity of iHeart Radio,” Nance said. “They typically only added stations that were AM and FM but the people there liked our format. They asked to see our listener statistics. Since we’re Internet, it isn’t estimated ratings like AM and FM.
“We can show them exactly how many listeners over a given period,” he continued. “We gave them those stats and the guy said, ‘That’s pretty impressive. I think we’ll make an exception.’ That has been a great opportunity.”
Faith and Friends didn’t alter its approach for iHeart Radio, continuing to present a broad format suitable for the ever-expanding musical tastes of modern listeners.
“When we started we didn’t want to duplicate anyone else,” Nance said. “We wanted to find our own niche with Contemporary Christian Music and doing a 50-50 mix of current and classic songs was that format. We didn’t see anyone, anywhere doing anything exactly like that. By now there has been decades of great music in the genre that dates back to the ’70s and we include all of that, plus all of the latest songs. We’ve gotten a good response to that blend.”
Saturday’s concert is just one of the annual events sponsored by Faith and Friends.
“We stay involved a lot with the community,” Nance said. “We’re excited to have Mark Lowry returning for the concert. He’s always a big hit and he enjoys coming here so we’ll have him back. We also do the Chocolate Festival and we do a One Hundred Mile Charity Bike Ride for the Gospel Mission.
“We just try to be a part of the community and do as much as we can,” Nance added. “It’s a good fit because we can connect with other people and tell them what we’re all about and how we can serve them.”