Faith of station owners ‘on the air’ in Hastings

| August 14, 2013 | 0 Comments
Dan and Barbara Massman

Leading With Faith winners Dan and Barbara Massman. Photo by Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit.

Dan and Barbara Massman

How do you apply your faith and Catholic values at work?

Dan: By conducting myself as a Christian dealing with employees, area business leaders, and our listeners.

Barbara: I share my stories about how the Holy Spirit has touched my heart and do my best to follow my thoughts.

Please tell a story about a time when applying your faith at work really made a difference.

Dan: Forty-three years ago, the radio station and a local bank started a yearly radiothon to raise money for local non-profit groups. Twenty-two years ago, when we purchased the radio station, a decision had to be made whether we wanted to continue it in light of all the fundraising going on in our area.

We decided to continue Project Share and have since raised over $800,000 for Hastings Family Service as a result of that Christian decision. Because of our efforts, earlier this year we received the Star of the North award, a congressional recognition from Congressman John Kline.

Barbara: There are many stories I could share. Several years back, a gentleman from Hastings made wooden crosses and the word Jesus on a wooden plaque. He went around the community passing these out to the local businesses. I chose the plaque with the word Jesus and put it on my counter. Many people have commented on it and thanked me. Children ask what it says and I tell them, and it is great to see their smiles.

One day as I was waiting on a customer, the door opened. A woman walked in, keeping her eyes on me, then walked right up to the plaque with the word Jesus, kissed it, and put her fingers on the wooden plaque. With tears in her eyes, she said “thank you” and walked out. It truly was an amazing experience. I will never forget the look on her face. How could a stranger know that the word Jesus was on the counter? I never saw her again and I still get goose bumps thinking about this event.

I also do what is called Barb’s Blessings, which are recorded, 60-second Christian prayers/poems. I have had many people call me and approach me at church to thank me for that moment with Jesus and how it helps them start their day. When I started doing this, my hope was to at least touch someone’s heart, let him or her know that Jesus loves him or her.

Who or what has been most inspirational to you in bringing your faith to the marketplace?

Dan: My faith in Christianity and Catholic upbringing.

Barbara: I would have to say my mother. She was one that was not afraid to share her Catholic faith and beliefs. Also Father Jim [Perkl, pastor of SEAS], my sisters and friends have been very helpful. I would share what I believed the Holy Spirit was speaking to me, and they were always encouraging me to take time to pray and let God do his work through my hands.

What achievement at work are you most proud of?

Dan: Twenty-two years of owning and operating a successful radio station in a small town that is directly under the umbrella of the Twin Cities.

Bringing the Sunday morning church broadcasts to the area.

Example: We broadcast the SEAS 9:30 a.m. service live on Sunday. One Sunday, the church was having some technical difficulty with their sound system, so the service wasn’t broadcast. At 8 a.m. Monday morning, an elderly lady called and explained to me that her husband had had a stroke and she didn’t drive. The only way they could “go to/be at” church was listening to it on the radio.

Because she missed the service, she felt horrible and started to cry. I never felt so helpless in my life. I assured her that we would have it fixed, and if she needed a ride to church, I would pick her up. She declined, saying she lived about 10 miles from the church, her husband couldn’t be moved, but they loved hearing the Church service in their home together.

How can this “not” be one of the most important achievements in our careers? While we hear a lot of stories like this, we believe living our lives in a Christian way is the most rewarding life one could live and ask for. We have a wall in the radio station that has over 30 awards from area organizations to prove it.

When our troops were called overseas during the Iraq war, we had numerous emails, letters and cards thanking us for streaming our news, sports and church services. The comments were: “It really made a hard time a lot easier. We could listen to our community radio station and church service(s) and keep us connected.”

Our public files (we are required to keep them by the FCC) are full of letters, comments and cards about what we do in the community.

Barbara: So many people have thanked me for the prayer/poems that I record and play on the radio, letting me know how important that this was for them and giving them that moment of prayer.

In what specific ways have you experienced God’s presence in your workplace?

Dan: We have a wall in the radio station that has over 30 awards from area organizations that prove to us God is “with” us in our lives and workplace

Barbara: There have been many times when people would call or stop in needing clothing, furniture or food, and all I had to do was get on the radio and ask the community for help. Hastings is a community of giving.

I remember one summer because of the wonderful people here. I was able to help seven families meet their needs. There is no better presence of God than this — people helping people.


Age:  Dan, 58, Barbara, 64

Company:  KDWA Radio

Title:  General manager/owner (Dan), owner/front office manager (Barbara)

Parish: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Hastings

Children: Tara, Marcus

Activities: Dan: Board of directors at Hastings United Way and Project Share, past member of many community boards including Hastings Family Service, lector and eucharistic minister at SEAS, plus served on Finance Commission
Barbara: SEAS choir, makes quilts for fundraisers


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Category: Leading With Faith