17 December 2017

UNITED CHRISTIAN BROADCASTERS

raUCB UK is a national Christian radio station, broadcasting on DAB across the UK. Based in the Commission Studios in Belfast, Juls Martin hosts the evening show, every weeknight. Rejoice Always caught up with Juls, to find out more.

Juls Martin has what he describes as the ‘radio bug’. In his early teens, he visited the Commission recording studios in Belfast with his dad and in a flash, found his calling. Juls explains, “At the time, Commission had just moved into a wartime community air raid shelter, which they’d converted into some impressive studios. I was just fascinated by what I saw and wanted to be involved.”

The opportunity to work in radio came a couple of years later, when Juls was asked to work on a Commission children’s programme, which eventually led in 1996, to him being offered a Sunday Breakfast show on a commercial station in Northern Ireland.

Juls joined UCB at the beginning of 2009, to host the weeknights show. “I was initially offered a job at UCB working on the Drive show, but I couldn’t really see myself making the move to Stoke on Trent,” he says. “But then came the chance to work from Belfast, doing the weeknights show. It would mean giving up a stable job in construction, but it didn’t take me long to accept and I was really excited about the new challenge.”

The road to this point hasn’t been an easy one though. Juls acknowledges there have been some difficult times, including a point where an injury to his spine might have caused permanent paralysis. “I was off work for months and in agony, but after prayer, the symptoms ‘mysteriously’ eased and I got back on my feet. They were uncertain times though, my construction career was put on hold and I eventually had to return to work on reduced hours. I can see now though how God was working in my life, preparing me for a change in direction and to take a big step of faith.”

The change in direction for Juls was confirmed when a guest on his Sunday breakfast show presented him with what he described as a ‘prophetic photograph’ of a bungee jumper. Juls says, “He explained that I would have to take a leap, but that God would have me by the ankles! It’s a mental image I’ve never forgotten.”

The weeknights show on UCB is deliberately informal and laid back. “People can be tired after a long day,” says Juls “So the show is relaxed, starting off with a teaching hour, followed by music, chat and the nightly ‘brainteaser’.”

Juls says that the response to this format has been really encouraging. “We’ve been getting calls and emails from people all across the UK, letting us know how much they’re enjoying the show. It can be easy for listeners to sit at home, passively listening to radio, but we want to engage with our listeners and build up a community of people who feel like they’re part of our extended UCB family. That sense of community is felt most strongly on our Facebook and Twitter streams, where listeners tell us about their day, discuss some pretty big topics and even share prayer requests – it’s a great place for encouragement.”

“Radio has always been in my blood,” says Juls, “but now I know that it can be used not just to entertain, but to encourage and build up people too.”

Paula Cummings

UCB is available on DAB radio across the UK, Sky 0125, online at ucb.co.uk, as well as on UCB’s iPhone app. Check out UCB on Facebook at www.facebook. com/ucbmedia or on Twitter at www. twitter.com/ucbmedia