While the world population is continually growing, our global world seems to be getting smaller as we are able to connect to people in a way that was never imagined. In Uganda today, radio stations are among the contributors to this new form of mass media and have played a role in getting live updates to millions in the shortest time possible.
While these technologies started off as a form of entertainment and political think tank, Christians quickly began to see the advancements and benefits that they could bring to Evangelism.
Spirit 96.6 FM is one of such radio stations in Uganda broadcasting live transmission on the Gospel genre, targeting mostly youth community. The station runs under a catchy slogan “Music for Life,” and has for 15 years dedicated to reaching out to people through music, and preachers of the Word.
Karen Alecho, a correspondent to UG Christian News caught up with Mr Timothy Sabiti, the country director of Spirit 96.6 FM, and now reports
1. Who is Timothy Sabiti and what position do you hold at Spirit 96.6 FM?
Sabiti: At Spirit FM, I am the General Manager and the Country Director for all our stations in Uganda. Besides managing and running the stations, I’m a pastor, business coach, motivational/ inspirational speaker.
2. Describe the station to one hearing about it for the first time – and how does it differ from others in the market?
Sabiti: Spirit FM is the Lord’s Altar. Several years ago, we deliberately chose to dedicate this platform to be used by the Lord in reaching out to His people through music, teachers and preachers of the Word.
Most christian radio stations are church owned and most of these church owned stations are primarily used to grow their ministry/church audience. But radio is bigger than the four corners of any church.
As a station, we have come out to fully maximize the potential of radio by not fronting a particular ministry or church. Instead we encourage Partnerships with different ministries and receive them with open arms. This has created several opportunities for ministries to grow.
So our neutral position makes us Unique.
2. How many years have they been in operation and what are some of the proud achievements you can share?
Sabiti: Spirit FM has been in operation for the last 15 years.
For several years, we trained the Mass Communication class for Uganda Christian University. We could have trained 10,000 plus students in that period.
Our students are doing very well in the different media houses today… truthfully, it’s almost impossible to go to any media house today and fail to identify at least 2-3 that were purely given their first introduction to radio at Spirit FM.
Several ministries have experienced great church growth as a result of the radio ministry. Some of the ministries joined us when they had less than 100 members and with only one service, but some ministries have testified of amazing growths in a short period. To be specific, some are in thousands.
Testimonies including instant miracles on radio of healing have been registered.
3. With rising cases of doctrinal error among preachers in the country, how does the station handle and sieve the gospel shared by visiting pastors on live and recorded programs?
Sabiti: We request for a church profile and a recommendation from a known Pastor before considering a Partnership.
Our Management and Programming team is Spiritually sound and mature, so we monitor the programs by listening daily. We also record the Programs for reference purposes. In case we note doctrinal error, we act accordingly .
4. How has leading the station influenced your christian life?
Sabiti: I’ve learnt to trust only and only in God. Any radio station owner can testify to the nightmares of owning/running a radio station in this tough economy. So I am no longer scared of huge and ugly bills, I always know that God can make a way where their seems to be no way.
5.Where do you see the station years from now?
Sabiti: Number one not only Gospel but even in the secular… Christian radio must lead this market.
6.Have you been through some storms in life?
Sabiti: I have been through the roughest storms in life. As a young man, I paid my way through my O Level education. At high school and University God opened a door for sponsorship, but even then, I worked to pay for my daily needs like accommodation and feeding. As a youth Pastor at a local church, I worked and walked several miles a day preaching and doing business.
7.What message do you have to share with Christians in Uganda?
Sabiti: The church is the answer to the collapsing economy, the political, social and welfare of our Country. Stand with your head high and proudly take your place as a Christian.
You are the change that you’ve been waiting for. If you embrace the change and work on yourself, we will have one sensible Christian fronting the change that the world badly needs.