J.R.R. Tolkein once said, “It is no bad thing celebrating a simple life.” Our organization has never been shy about celebrating key milestones. UTR Media’s founder and Executive Director, Dave Trout, just celebrated his silver anniversary in Christian broadcasting. We invited Dave to share his own reflections on the left, along with a pictorial timeline on the right.
25 years and a handful of days ago, I officially began my radio career with my first on-air shift at the small 250 watt 88.1FM WETN on the campus of Wheaton College. I was a freshman, and as green as they come, with my only “broadcast” experience was talking into a cheap mic plugged in to boombox as I made mix tapes for my friends in my youth group. On those tapes, I spoke in a very “fake” sounding deep, gravelly voice – mimicking my favorite countdown show host with a “shock jock” voice. I still have a tape of my first ever on-air shift. I wouldn’t let you listen to it for $1,000! [But I might cave in at $10K.]
I’m so thankful for the grace and patience people had around me. They let me dig in to several different roles at the station, and WETN quickly became my “home away from dorm.” It was a wonderful foundation and really solidified my desire to be in some sort of broadcasting role… likely radio… likely in ministry.
In memorium: WETN-FM. Much to the sadness of the 70 years of alumni of WETN, Wheaton College sold it’s campus radio signal in 2017 for a measly $150,000 to…. you guessed it… EMF Broadcasting… aka K-LOVE.
The rest of my professional career was spent in four places. First, I worked on the part-time staff at 104.7 WCFL-FM (an hour outside of Chicago) doing Hot Christian Hits format from 1997-2001 (a really fun era to work in Christian music radio). Second, I worked 8 years at Moody Radio in downtown Chicago from 1999-2007 – mainly serving in marketing & communications for Moody affiliate stations, but also doing a regular weekend on-air shift playing contemporary worship. After that, I worked at ReFrame Media as a marketing manager and show producer from 2007-2014, which is where I developed the show “Under The Radar.” The fourth role is my current one, as Executive Director of an independent non-profit that birthed out of that original UTR radio show.
The reason why I pursued broadcasting in the first place was how important and impactful Christian radio was in my life, especially my teen years. I have found it pure joy to be able to serve in broadcast ministry for the last quarter of a century — hopefully being a blessing to others the same way that I have been blessed in my life. Currently, I feel blessed beyond measure to serve the Kingdom through UTR, and one of the best parts is that I only have this job because of the team effort — the love, prayers, and financial support of family, friends, the UTR Board, artists, & donors. This job is a gift, and by God’s grace it will continue for years.