Love of Christian music turns into career

By  Rebecca Ryall, Youth Speak News
  • March 28, 2008

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Ottawa native Robert Du Broy is a veteran media manager, producer and long-time promoter of Christian radio in Canada. He co-founded Christian Hit Radio Inc., which operates CHRI 99.1 FM in Ottawa.

A love of Christian music, involvement on CKCU-FM’s Song for You in the 1980s and 1990s and almost 10 years in management at the CBC have prepared Du Broy for his general manager’s role at CHRI.

A Christian arts activist, Du Broy was one of many who petitioned the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) in 1980 to create a Christian Artist Juno Award. He also appeared at the CRTC hearing in 1992 that led to the revision of its religious broadcasting policy, lifting a 60-year ban on Christian radio. He is currently working on an application to the CRTC and Industry Canada for a Christian teaching and hymns radio station for Ottawa.

Du Broy attends Resurrection of Our Lord Catholic parish in Ottawa with his wife Edna and their three grown children, Joel, Sarah and Anna.

YSN recently sat down with Du Broy to discuss his calling to faith-based radio.

YSN: What helped inspire and prepare you for a faith-focused career in communications?

Du Broy: I used to buy a lot of music and discovered as a teenager that there was no end: there was always the next big thing. The music store would always have new things to tempt us. So after spending a lot of money on music, it just became kind of fruitless: music came and went. It became clear that my interest in music could be focused in on Christian music. Then very shortly after collecting a fair amount of Christian music, it became clear that it wasn’t supposed to just sit in my collection, it had to be shared.

YSN: You’ve done a lot of work over the last 15, 20 years to create and expand Christian radio stations in Canada. Why do you think it’s important that there be a Christian presence in broadcasting?

Du Broy: There’s an advertising consultant, Roy Williams, and he distills it down to radio being the most cost-effective medium that exists because you can have one person speaking on a microphone at one end, and tens of thousands of listeners at the other. You can reach 30,000 or 40,000 people and deliver the Gospel to them 15 to 18 hours a week. Now you won’t get the same kind of one-to-one relationship you would with a pastor in front of a congregation, but you want to leverage that effort and reach people in their cars, reach people in their homes seven days a week — and God is a seven-day-a-week, 24-hour-a-day God; radio is the way to do it.

YSN: What was the biggest obstacle you faced trying to spread the Gospel in the mainstream music and broadcasting industry?

Du Broy: On the surface, it would be money. But that is always a superficial thing. Money really is just symbolic of a much deeper problem, and I think much deeper would be spiritual opposition, and that manifests itself in different ways — the lack of money and regulations that might constrain how you do business. One big obstacle, which speaks to a weakness in my life, is interpersonal relationships. You really need a good team to put a station together, to keep it going. You need to have a good relationship with your listenership, a good relationship with your advertisers, a good relationship with the buyers and for an analytical person like me these are challenges.

YSN: How can Catholic youth be trailblazers in the broadcast and music industry?

Du Broy: When people listen to Christian music, it reinforces Christian teaching. Music touches the heart in ways that other things don’t. We don’t consciously edit that information. So when music speaks to us we absorb the lyrics, and with repetition they become the soundtrack to our lives. This is a slogan many radio stations use, but it’s true. So I would advise young people, whenever possible, to check out the Christian bookstores, buy Christian music in the style you enjoy. Put it into your iPod and listen to it. Go to the concerts and encourage the artists. If there is a local Christian radio station, encourage people to listen to that radio station. And if you feel there’s not a strong Catholic presence on that radio station, maybe they just don’t know you’re listening. So, call them with your requests for Catholic artists. Volunteer at a Christian radio station and be a Catholic presence there. It’s good just for our evangelical brothers to know, even in a Christian radio setting, that there are active Catholics interested in making a difference.

(Ryall, 20, studies journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa.)

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