In 1997, Faith Matters launched as a 30-minute weekday radio program featuring Leith Anderson’s weekly teaching at Wooddale Church. This format reached a small, loyal audience during its 2-year life span. During this time, the trend in radio changed from longer formats to more “sound-bite” spots for content programming, more along the lines of two minutes as opposed to 30 minutes.
After conducting a survey of area radio station managers (both secular and Christian) and considering the results of that survey, Faith Matters was re-launched in a shorter, two-minute format, and in August 1999 Faith Matters hit the airwaves. In its first year as a two-minute broadcast, Faith Matters aired on over 50 radio stations nationwide, via Northwestern Productions’ SkyLight Network and other local stations as well as on the internet at www.oneplace.com. In addition, Faith Matters added a 24-hour answering service, 1-800-MATTERS, for people to call and order transcripts and inquire about content related to the Faith Matters message.
Radio broadcasting continued to move toward even shorter breaks in programming in order to mitigate listener loss. Faith Matters adapted to this challenge by producing a daily one-minute program called Faith Minute. Each program stands alone and is intentional about encouraging believers in their walk with the Lord, introducing Christ and Christian values to those who do not yet have a relationship with him, and equipping all who listen with a deeper faith.
In 2008, with the new one-minute format in hand, the Faith Matters Advisory Board adopted a strategy of reaching a secular audience by purchasing broadcasting time on regional sports stations. The Board’s intent was to reach a primarily male audience across a broad socio-economic range. They felt that the sports listening audience targeted that demographic precisely and had the added advantage of listener loyalty, i.e., listeners of sports stations do not often change the station.
To execute the Board’s newly re-focused strategy, in 2009, Faith Matters forged a relationship with the Minnesota Twins and was featured as Faith Minute in the 5th inning of each of the 162 Minnesota Twins radio broadcasts across the 80-station Twins Radio Network. The Minnesota Twins management team shared with the Board that the volume of listener comments they received regarding the Faith Minute broadcasts were overwhelmingly positive and far exceeded any other campaign they had aired, past or present.
In 2010, Faith Minute maintained a one-minute presence in the 5th inning of each of the Twins Radio Network broadcasts across the 80-station network. In addition, Faith Matters was broadcast in the Twin Cities on KNOF/Praise FM, 95.3 FM and Faith Minute on KTIS 98.5 FM and periodically on KFAN AM 1130. Both Faith Matters and Faith Minute were nationally syndicated on the Moody Broadcasting Network and heard on various independent Christian stations across the country.
Finally, in June of 2011, Leith Anderson announced his retirement effective January 1, 2012 as senior pastor of Wooddale Church. His retirement signaled the end of broadcasting Faith Matters and Faith Minute programs on the airwaves; however, the ministry continues through the archives of all of the Faith Matters and Faith Minute programs on wooddale.org.