Shine FM provides listeners with a safe haven

Officially, Shine FM’s target market consists of adults aged 25 to 54. But Randy Reiffenstein, manager of Red Deer’s Christian radio station, points to a much narrower demographic: Mom.

Kelly Jordan hosts the Shine FM morning show from the station’s studio in Gasoline Alley West Tuesday.

Kelly Jordan hosts the Shine FM morning show from the station’s studio in Gasoline Alley West Tuesday.

Officially, Shine FM’s target market consists of adults aged 25 to 54. But Randy Reiffenstein, manager of Red Deer’s Christian radio station, points to a much narrower demographic: Mom.

“We focus our connections, our partnerships, our advertising — everything we say and everything we do — to appease and look at that lady who is listening.”

And the best thing Reiffenstein’s station can do for mothers is help them with their primary objective: keeping their families safe.

“If you’re a mother at 19 or at 91, you still have the same focus, and that’s making sure your family is well looked after and away from danger.”

Since it started broadcasting from the second floor of Scott’s Parable Christian Store in Gasoline Alley on April 1, Shine FM has dedicated itself to providing listeners with a safe place.

“As a matter of fact, our slogan is ‘Safe and fun for the whole family,’” said Reiffenstein.

That means no offensive remarks from disc jockeys, no inappropriate lyrics in songs and no advertisements for products that listeners might object to.

“It has to be family oriented.”

Listening to Christian radio needn’t be a sacrifice for music-lovers, said Reiffenstein. He listed such popular musicians as Carrie Underwood, Toby Mac, Jodi King and Daughtry as frequent performers on his station’s play list.

“Christian contemporary music came into its own in the early ‘90s,” he said, explaining that it’s continued to grow as many North Americans return to their Christian roots.

“It’s getting larger and larger and larger every day.”

Something that distinguishes Christian contemporary music from other genres is that the message is more important than the sound, said Reiffenstein. And that means is appeals to people of all ages.

“We’re the only format that is cross-generational.”

Owned by Touch Canada Broadcasting (2006) Inc., Shine FM has sister stations operating under the same name in Calgary, Edmonton and Grande Prairie, plus an AM affiliate broadcasting as The Light in Edmonton.

“We are a wholly Albertan-owned corporation.”

A big reason the network expanded to Red Deer was that listeners here were having a hard time accessing the Calgary and Edmonton signals. But the local market was also an obvious choice for a Christian radio station.

“This is a very strong Christian community,” said Reiffenstein, who has some 30 years in the broadcast industry, including with RDTV in Red Deer in the late 1980s and early 1990s

“The percentage per capita is higher than pretty much anywhere else.”

Broadcasting at 90.5 FM, the Red Deer station reaches listeners from Wetaskiwin to Innisfail, and from Stettler to Rocky Mountain House.

“We’re just in the process of applying for a higher wattage right now,” said Reiffenstein.

He estimates his station’s listenership at about 30,000, and said these tend to be pretty loyal. Reiffenstein also believes Shine FM has helped generate interest in and attendance at local churches.

The station uses social media like Twitter, Facebook and its website to convey its message, and offers a mentoring centre for people in need of help. It promotes family safety through a program called Shine on Safety, and today and Friday is helping to raise awareness about Compassion Canada’s ongoing efforts to assist impoverished children around the world.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

— copyright Red Deer Advocate