by Kenny King IV '10
If you’ve ever tuned in to one of Northwestern Media’s 14 stations, you have Harv Hendrickson to thank. Though not an announcer and rarely heard on the air, Hendrickson is a key reason listeners are able to hear anything at all.
After 47 years of employment with Northwestern Media, Harv Hendrickson retired in June. During his tenure, he oversaw stations, increased listenership and reach, oversaw complex building projects like the KTIS
broadcast center (Mel Johnson Media Center) and made sure you could hear what was being broadcast.
Finding a career and a calling
In the early 1960s, Hendrickson started attending Brown College for radio broadcasting as a nonbeliever, but walked the stage as a believer on graduation day. Good timing for the beginning of a lifelong career in Christian radio.
“When I entered Brown, I had put down that Sioux Falls was the last place I wanted to go. I didn’t like it. But that’s where this job [at KNWC] was. The song ‘I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord, I’ll do what you want me to do,’ came into my mind. So I thought I’d go and if I didn’t like it I could leave after three months.” He and his wife, Carolyn, were there for 21 years.
Increased leadership and listenership
Hendrickson climbed the ranks at KNWC
, eventually fulfilling the role of station manager. He grew the station in all aspects—size, listenership and watt power. It was 1985 when he began entertaining the idea of moving on to a new challenge.
“Paul Ramseyer was the director of radio at the time, and he called me and said he had an opening in the Twin Cities and asked if I’d be interested,” shared Hendrickson. “I was.”
He eventually oversaw all of Northwestern’s radio stations as Director of Radio and most recently Vice President for Operations—“a job where I oversaw the legal and technical side,” he explained. “I would go to all of the stations and sort of tutor them, come alongside them, to help them grow.”
As VP for Operations, Hendrickson did for all Northwestern Media stations what he did in Sioux Falls. It was under his supervision that, among others, KTIS AM 900 grew from 25,000 watts to 50,000.
Not unplugged from doing God’s work
“The purpose of being on the air is to help Christians grow, and to reach out and touch other lives. It’s very fulfilling,” said Hendrickson, who also acknowledged they faced the unexpected regularly. “Every station has had its trials—reasons to be on our knees in prayer, which is a good thing. We saw the Lord’s hand move in miraculous ways.”
Although retired, Hendrickson hasn’t completely unplugged. He’ll continue to help with consulting and special projects for Northwestern Media, and also chair the noncommercial music license committee for National Religious Broadcasters (NRB).
“It’s His work, not mine, not anyone’s,” concluded Hendrickson. “My prayer is that we’ll continue to be pliable in His hands—past, present and future.”