Soundcast introduces ‘Behind the Shield’
By: Brad Rowland
In September 2022, The Salvation Army of Knoxville, Tennessee launched a weekly, one-hour radio program focused on highlighting the organization’s work both locally and in communities across the United States. Hosted by Ron Day, development director for The Salvation Army in Knoxville, the audio initiative is called “Behind the Shield” and, on April 21, 2023, the show relaunched as part of Soundcast, the USA Southern Territory’s network aimed to provide messages of hope from The Salvation Army to all who listen.
The show emanated from the work already being done in the Knoxville area, with Day bringing a decade-long history of background in radio.
“We had a brand analysis done and the results told us that people loved The Salvation Army but many didn’t know why they loved The Salvation Army,” Day said. “They know things we did and that we helped people, but one of our broad goals was really to promote and educate the public on who we are, what we do, and why we do it.”
Guests range from volunteers and recipients of Salvation Army services to local government officials and ministers. The overarching focus is on the listener and the spread of both the Army’s message and the message of Jesus Christ.
“We want to help transfer the ownership of the local Salvation Army into the hands of the general public and I am passionate about that,” said Day. “We intentionally refer to The Salvation Army as ‘your’ Salvation Army to give them a window and foot in the door with us.”
Day shares that part of his position as development director is “to make friends for the ministry” and his relationship- building has paid dividends when it comes to “Behind the Shield” and its content. The first episode featured David Crocker, executive director of Operation Inasmuch, and that connection came from a chance meeting at a local Rotary Club meeting in Knoxville. Mayor Glenn Jacobs is also scheduled to appear on the show.
The show’s format was originally built for terrestrial radio, though examination found that it brings appeal in a podcast format. The program begins with an interview of approximately 15 minutes before a 10-minute devotional, often delivered by Major Cameron Henderson, area commander. That is followed by another 15-minute segment, either with the same guest or another voice, before ending with a summary wrap-up of the content.
While the show’s beginnings were Knoxville-focused, the partnership with Soundcast allows for a broader audience and the potential sharing of best practices across the territory and the world.
“One of the many goals of Soundcast has been to not only produce original content here at territorial headquarters but to also partner with existing Salvation Army podcasts and shows to bring them under one roof,” said Chris Benjamin, director of production and operations for Soundcast. “Up to this point there has never been a single hub for listeners and friends of the Army to find all of our media.”
“When we were made aware of Behind the Shield from Major Cameron Henderson, we were immediately impressed by the quality of the content and talent and passion of the host, Ron Day. Bringing this show into the Soundcast family means that we can cross promote all 10 of our shows to listeners and utilize Soundcast’s marketing tools, experience and connections to help a show like this be as successful as possible.”
Early returns are quite strong in terms of growing the visibility of The Salvation Army in Knoxville, as well as the show’s impact on Soundcast’s offerings. With Soundcast and its partnerships well beyond the shores of the United States, the possibilities are endless.
“We’ve certainly seen an impact,” Day said. “Promotionally, it’s paid off for us and every episode includes a direction to our website and phone number for help, as well as contact information to partner with us for volunteering or donating funds. We’ve seen tangible results, and people have responded generously. I love that people are getting to know The Salvation Army and hopefully beginning to feel that sense of ownership and that we are your Salvation Army and we’re here for you.”