Scott Keegan, a longtime employee of Moody Radio and a 30+ year member of NRB, recently retired after many years of service. The following is an interview conducted by John Hayden, Chair of the Radio Standing Committee, on which Keegan served:
Do you remember your first NRB Convention?
I think my entrance into NRB came through the regional program in the late 1970s or early 1980s. I was the assistant manager at WMBW and Dean Sippel, the station manager, started taking me to the regional conferences with him. It may not have been my first, but one that is memorable from those early days was a SENRB (Southeast Chapter of NRB) in Nashville. I had never been to Nashville and it was before the days of the Opryland Hotel. We stayed in a Sheraton or some other major hotel and we had several Gospel music groups perform during the conference including the Speer Family. Neither Brock nor any of the Speer family mentioned this on stage, but I learned that the Speer Family cancelled a paying gig so they could play at the conference. That’s when I got the idea that NRB was a pretty big deal. I went to a number of regionals with Dean – Atlanta, Birmingham, The Cove, etc.
At that same conference they took us to the Benson Records studios and we got to be in the control room as Buck and Reba Rambo were recording a track for an album. Buck couldn’t get the pitch right on a song and they kept re-recording just that small portion of the song until he got it right. He did it so many times it started to be funny and we tried not to smile or laugh as he kept getting it wrong. We all applauded when he finally got it right. They were nice enough to come into the control room afterward and greet us all.
It wasn’t until 1988 when I became a station manager that I attended the national convention and that was in Washington, DC. It was my first trip to Washington and I remember touring the White House and Capitol Hill. On that first trip I got press credentials and was permitted to sit in the press section of the Senate above the Senate President’s chair. It was a fairly active day on the floor, but I sensed a real feeling of power in the room when Ted Kennedy entered the chamber from the coatroom and everyone yielded to him and what he wanted to speak about. It was a quite an experience to be on Capitol Hill and to visit the White House.
I suppose the funniest moment was also one of the more embarrassing moments for me. Mike Bingham and I attended the Family Life game night one year and it ended up that we were partners as contestants in one round of Name That Tune. Both Mike and I thought we would do well because we both love the older music; Mike covering the 1970s and 80s and me covering the 1950s and 60s. We were excited to play, but it soon became evident that we were way outplayed by a couple of the other contestants. The most embarrassing part came when the topic was “Family Life speakers.” They had various voice clips from some of their speakers on the program and at the Family Life Marriage conferences. Well, they played this one speaker and no one knew who it was. Mike and I were totally puzzled. Finally, Bob Lepine came up to Mike and me and said, “Are you sure you both don’t recognize that voice? Think on it a minute.” We had no idea. “You guys should get to know that voice,” said Bob. “That’s Michael Easley – the new President of Moody Bible Institute.” Mike and I felt like crawling under the chairs! It was a funny but embarrassing moment for both of us.
Enjoyed most …
I think what I enjoyed the most was having a part to play in several developments within NRB. I was very active in the Southeast Chapter of NRB, and – when I moved to Michigan – the Midwest Chapter. I was part of the leadership of both chapters and enjoyed planning and conducting the regional conferences. I got to meet some great speakers and “movers and shakers” in the Christian broadcasting and secular fields. Later, as I became involved with the Radio Committee, first under Sue Bahner, and then Wes Ward, Jim Kirkland, and John Hayden, I really enjoyed the small part I played in the various tasks I was assigned. I was Chairman for a few years in the 1980s to 1990s and that gave me entrance to the Board of Directors. Although the meetings were long, I learned a great deal about the impact of NRB, and I made some great, long-standing friends from that.
The biggest one or two takeaways for you from being associated with NRB?
I learned that we should be careful thinking that our ministry has a corner on truth: biblical truth, yes, but the truth regarding how a ministry should approach its mission and ministry – no. It is easy to get the idea when you work for such a large organization as Moody Radio, and see the respect that other ministries have for it, that Moody is doing it better than anyone else and that their way is the “right” way. I was exposed to many ministries over the years through NRB and I learned how not to do it as well as other excellent ways to do the work of the ministry. I valued what I learned at Moody, but I also valued the time I spent with other great broadcasters hearing how they do it. One specifically comes to mind – Jim Kirkland. He taught me so much and he may never have realized it. Just talking with him was a blessing and helped shape my philosophy of ministry.
My college President and Founder used to say, “Everything rises or falls on leadership.” I learned that that is true through Moody and NRB. At NRB, I saw several instances where weak leadership created some problems for the association, and strong leadership helped the association grow. And I am not talking about just at the top. NRB was a laboratory where you could see how good leadership made a difference in one organization, and how poor leadership led to the demise of the ministry. Over the years I saw my share of both, and it was primarily at NRB that I saw how this was manifested. So, keep your eyes and ears open at NRB and ask the Lord to give you discernment about what you hear and from whom. It can have a powerful impact on how you run your ministry.
The first year you started as a board member and officially on the Radio Standing Committee?
I am afraid that my memory is not too good as to the specific years. I started on the Radio Committee when Sue Bahner was part of the leadership. I want to say that was the late 1980s or early 1990s. Back then you were appointed to the Radio Committee and I don’t remember much of what I did on the committee. I do remember that at one point I was elected or appointed Chairman for a three-year period and that was how I ended up on the Board of Directors. I also remember that I had several meetings with the Executive Board about various issues as well as reporting to the Executive Board what the committee was doing. One of the things I did do with Sue was to develop a proposal regarding providing greater structure and purpose for the Radio Committee. We worked on the by-laws with NRB headquarters and met a few times in Washington to determine the role of the chapter and the regional conferences. I then had to leave the committee due to leaving Moody to go to Echo Broadcasting. That was only for a couple of years and then I was back again with Moody and NRB, but not on the committee until around 2005 -2006, I think!
By NRB Staff
Published: February 12, 2016