What Does She Have to Say?: An Interview with Courtney Gaines

logo for podcastChristian podcasts generally broadcast short episodes typically found on traditional radio segments or sermons. This technology has only been established for a short period of time but there are already thousands of podcasts to tickle your ears. One might wonder if there’s really a need for another. The creators of “What Did They Say Now?” saw a need and jumped at the chance to create an unscripted, unapologetic podcast from a Christian worldview with amateur voices, tackling questions and topics young Christians face today.

Today I am interviewing one of the hosts, Courtney Gaines. Gaines is a wife, mom, and web marketing Senior Specialist for Moody Radio (her show is also a production of Moody Radio). Gaines understands radio. She oversees digital fundraising campaigns, works with thirty-six owned and operated radio stations for all their digital needs and has oversight for the creative direction for Moody Radio.

She and her family hail from the western suburbs of Chicagoland, but as you listen to the podcast you’ll pick up that she is not originally from the area. She has been in Chicago for six years but is originally from North Dakota.

Get to know Gaines and more about her new show in this Q&A:

Q: Who came up with the concept for “What Did They Say Now?”
Brian Dahlen is the one behind the concept. We all found ourselves talking amongst our friends and with each other after something we had heard on talk radio or an article we had come across. We quickly realized we all had a lot to say, lots of questions and were talking about these issues from a completely different view point than traditional Christian media presents it. Brian brought this idea of the conversations that were already happening to Scott Krus, our senior producer, and the two of them worked on making it all happen. They knew we needed a team of “regular”, “non radio” people to help keep the integrity and transparency of a real conversation. So, Barnabas and I joined Brian as the voices for the podcast; Scott Krus provides creative leadership and direction and Alex Bersin makes us all sound good with his audio engineering and insightful feedback.  

Q:  Why did you decide to do this?
I find that some of the most interesting and challenging conversations I have take place when I’m talking with friends. In these conversations I feel freedom to express myself, ask questions in how and why we think a certain way and process and grow from them. I love connecting and talking with people and laughing. This podcast was the perfect opportunity to do all of these things and then invite others to engage in the same kind of conversations that we are having.

This podcast is also a first of its kind for Moody Radio and in Christian media in general. I loved the opportunity to be pioneering something for this ministry with friends. We are reaching a new demographic in a new way, and that is exciting…very exciting.

Q:  Why do you see the need?

Gaines: There are a number of Christian podcasts out there, but they are all interviews or sermons. There is none that stand out from the others or that is a normal conversation about life and faith, and that is what we will offer.

Our generation today views faith differently, and consumes various forms of media differently. Traditional approaches to church and radio don’t have as much appeal for our generation. We desire and expect honesty and transparency in life and in conversation. We desire to process and explore ideas and culture rather than being preachers or preached at. You won’t hear the typical “three points of application” in what we do.

We can no longer keep doing the same things we’ve been doing as a church if we want to reach another generation for Christ. This includes the way we talk about issues, having authentic conversations and being ok with questioning and doubt. It means having new voices with new perspectives at a different life stage to connect with our generation.

There is a definite need in these areas of Christian media and in the lives of Christians. We hope to bridge that gap between the traditionalChristian, teaching heavy, podcast realm and broader listenership.

Q:  Because you are only speaking to each other and won’t have guests; what do you hope to accomplish?

Gaines: This goes along with the need that we saw in creating the podcast. In order to stay true to the genuine conversation approach we have, we will not be having any speakers or guests on the podcast. We feel that if we were to bring in an expert on a certain topic, we would instantly lose the authenticity of the podcast. The freedom to question and half differing opinions can get swallowed up by the expertise that the guest would bring. And by no means do we think or see ourselves as experts on any of these topics at all. That, again, is why it feels as though you are dropping in on a conversation a group of friends is having. It’s real, it’s genuine, it’s funny, it’s challenging…we do not want to lose that core feeling of the podcast.

Q:  You are the lone female. Will you all ever speak about things that affect women today?what crew 2

Gaines: I am the lone girl. And the guys continuously remind me of this. We will be speaking about issues that affect women today. In fact, we did a podcast  that addressed women having a career, a family and balancing the two. We’ve also talked about doing podcasts about women in ministry, singleness, dating, and other topics that appeal to a broad spectrum too that would of course affect women today.

Q: Do you have a schedule of topics? If so, are you able to share the topics and the dates they will air?
We have a schedule for the next couple of weeks. We are scheduling two to three podcasts out at most with the understanding that if there is a hot topic in the news we might shift one around and do a recording about that issue to air more immediately. It’s flexible.

Q: What do you hope to add to the conversation as a woman (from the perspective of a woman that is)?

Gaines: Being a woman, professional, wife and mom I have been through experiences that the guys haven’t and will never go through or fully understand. With those experiences comes a perspective unlike theirs. Most churches and ministry organizations are led by men; they have the final say on things, they bring the big ideas, women don’t have much of a voice, etc. But here I have the opportunity to be a part of something where that doesn’t stand in the way. I get to speak to a demographic that is generally marginalized in the way they think, in their faith, in relationships and in their walk with the Lord. In all of that, I hope people, women, will be able to relate to/with me and have that “permission” to participate themselves in conversations like this in their own circles of influence.

what crew

left to right: Barnabus Piper, Brian Dahlen, Courtney Gaines

Q: Do all three of you have similar backgrounds?
I grew up Catholic; Barnabas, Baptist; Brian, Lutheran. Barnabas and Brian grew up in Christian homes and I grew up in a God believing home, but wouldn’t have considered both of my parents Christian. The Catholic traditions are deep on my dad’s side of the family.

Q:  I didn’t grow up in church, so I’m not really privy to not being open and honest about my faith, struggles, etc. Is this really for an audience who has grown up in the church? Who do you think this is for?
I don’t think this is solely targeted for the audience who grew up in church. I think it is more for people who appreciate community, conversations and humor all focused around faith and life.

Q:  How might a woman be drawn to listen?
I think by the topics we cover and the fact that this is a conversation. It is thought provoking and I feel like we extend the hand to join in on our conversation.

Q: Tell us about your family

Gaines: I am married to my husband Nickolas Gaines. We are a military family as well (which will come up in the podcast) and have a son, Kingston, who is three and adorable. Really, he is. Hilarious, smart and stinkin’ cute. My husband is in the Army where he is a Chaplain Candidate. He is active duty right now so I am playing single parent for a while. My husband and I have been married seven years this summer! My husband truly is amazing…he needs his own little interview. Ha. An incredible man of God who loves people and seeing them impacted by God’s love. Ok…enough about my sweet family…

Q:  How can folks tune in?
We are in iTunes…but here is all of the ways you can connect with us!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/whatnowpodcast

Twitter: @WhatNowPodcast

iTunes: http://bit.ly/WhatNowPodcast

Website: www.whatdidtheysaynow.org

Alex Bersin website: http://www.alexbersin.com

Barnabas Piper website: http://www.barnabaspiper.com

Brian Dahlen website: http://www.briandahlen.com

Courtney Gaines website: http://www.courtneygaines.com

Twitter handles for team: Scott Krus – @scottkrus; Alex Bersin – @alexbersin; Barnabas Piper – @barnabaspiper; Brian Dahlen – @briandahlen; Courtney Gaines – @courtgaines

Courtney_01More about Courtney

Courtney Gaines loves engaging with people about life, pop culture, faith and fashion. She is a North Dakota farm girl, a military wife and marketing professional. Claiming Nickolas as the best husband, she also brags of having the cutest son. Courtney is a woman who loves God, passionate about her family and loves to laugh…even at her own jokes. Find her at www.courtneygaines.com.

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