Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Microphones Off for Midday Connection

Anita Lustrea
     Back at the beginning of the summer I was shocked to learn that two lovely ladies that were part of the Midday Connection radio show on Moody Radio were "let go".  Melinda Schmidt and Caryn Rivadeneira were given their walking papers.  I, along with their listening audience were shocked.  Little did we know what Moody actually had in store. 
Lori Neff
     Unknown to the public Moody had told the Midday people that the show was being canceled and the other two hosts, Anita Lustrea and Lori Neff would also be out of a job.  They, however, were charged with continuing to host the doomed show and pretend nothing was wrong. 

Caryn Rivadeneira
Melinda Schmidt
     As an avid listener to Midday I continued to tune in (often through their podcast) but something wasn't right.  Midday just seemed to be "off their game'.  I attributed it to the absence of Melinda and Caryn.  Don't get me wrong it wasn't that Lori and Anita were doing a poor job; anything but that.  They still were wonderful as they always have been but I just had a feeling that things were not right.  Of course, I now know that it was indeed because Melinda and Caryn were gone but also because Lori and Anita were going as was the show!  What a terrible situation Anita and Lori had to endure; each broadcast day ending bringing them one day closer to the end of their Midday career and the complete end to Midday!  To top it off they had to endure it with a smile on their faces.  For a Christian based business that is a particular cruel and unchristian thing to do.

     It wasn't until the end of summer/beginning of autumn in my neck of the woods when the Vice President of Moody Radio, Colin Lambert came on Midday Connection and announced to the listening audience that Midday Connection was being taken off the air.  He stated that the difficult decision was made due to a "change of seasons" and also "the need to address seismic shifts in our culture." 

     What?  Midday Connection has been on the air for over twenty years and any radio show that lasts that long is successful in weathering many season changes and culture shifts.  Quite frankly that explanation is a bunch of horse doo doo.  Does Mr. Lambert really think that Midday readers are accepting those excuses?  We're not.  Sadly, as does happen with some Christian organizations upper management decisions are often talked about with catch phrases such as: "After much prayer and deliberation..."  or "In prayer God has led us in this direction...".  Hmmm.

I am one listener not buying the publicized reasons.  There is usually always more to the story.  I'm questioning what Moody didn't like about Midday Connection so much that it was cause to cancel it.  Was it that Midday challenged their listeners to read the Bible and to think for themselves?  Was it that listeners were encouraged to delve into scripture and to challenge other's viewpoints?  Was it the issue of gays and Christians that would be discussed from time to time on Midday?  Was it the book clubs and the choices of books we would read?  I doubt we'll ever know.

     This Friday September 18, 2015 will be the last broadcast of Midday Connection.  Yes, life goes on and yes, there will be a new program in Midday's time slot.  Perhaps that show will be as popular and successful as Midday; time will tell.  I'm surmising that sadly the new show won't be geared toward my culture therefore it won't be something up my alley.  What Christian based radio programming is currently available that is geared toward women in my season of life and encourages us to think for ourselves?  The answer is none.

     I'm certainly not an expert in radio broadcasting.  I'm a single mom of teenage children, a retired public school librarian, a teacher, and a lover of critters with four legs, fur, wings, or fins, and most importantly a follower of Jesus, the one and only son of God.  My only experience in radio has been as a guest three times on two local radio call in shows but I do know that Midday Connection had a large and broad based listening audience.  I feel that Moody made a mistake in their decision to end this ever popular radio show.  Shame on Moody.

     It is my hope that these four women, Anita Lustrea, Lori Neff, Caryn Rivadeneira, and Melinda Schmidt will continue to utilize the gifts God has bestowed upon them.  Your listeners are waiting...

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