Don Buettner knew early on in life what he wanted to do when he grew up. “I had a pretend radio station in my room and would scan stations to record songs for my show because I didn’t really have money to go out and buy 45’s.”
It was not only radio but popular music in general that deepened Don’s passion to learn more while growing up in the 70’s. “My brother Mike & I would spend New Years’ Eve listening to as many stations as we could that were doing year-end countdown shows, stations like WABC in New York, WLS in Chicago and WOWO in Fort Wayne. I also remember we’d drive from our small hometown in Ohio to Fort Wayne and visit the library downtown because they kept copies of Billboard Magazine and we’d either transcribe or make photocopies of the Hot 100 Charts.”
As high school came along, Don had the opportunity to host some of the school dances. A few months after high school in the early 80’s, Don decided to send an audition tape to WKKI, the local FM rock station. “They ended up hiring me to do the Saturday night request show. That was on my 19th birthday! I also engineered the high school football and basketball games, and would host a Scoreboard show afterwards.”
The Sports Director at WKKI was a Christian and it made a lasting impression on Don. “Big Ralph hosted a Sunday morning music show and he was playing these songs by artists like Keith Green, Amy Grant, Petra, Phil Keaggy and others. I would even come in to the station on Sundays just to hang out with him and hear the show.”
Little did Don know at the time how much of an impact it would have on his life and career. After 5 years at WKKI, Don was one of the first people hired to help start a Classic Rock station in Fort Wayne. “This was a great opportunity for me because not everyone gets a chance to be a part of starting a station from scratch. We kept the music format a secret until the day we signed on. I was given the task of putting all of the songs together in my apartment since I had most of it in my personal collection.”
Don was the Music Director at “98-9 The Bear” for 8 years until he grew tired of the gig. “I was the overnight jock but never got use to the hours. I had also grown up quite a bit, got plugged in at my church and was having a harder time with the so-called rock-and-roll lifestyle that we were portraying. I wanted out. And my music tastes were changing because I was falling in love with songs we were singing at church.”
God finally opened a door for Don in the Fall of 1996 when he was hired at WLAB in Fort Wayne (known today as “Star 88.3”). A few years later, Don was promoted to Program Director. At about that time, he began hosting his own program called, “The Heart of Worship” and soon after started making it available to other stations around the country. “I felt this was my destiny, but I knew I could only do so much with this show. God had something more in mind. Plus I was now married and having a family, along with having more responsibilities at STAR.”
“The Heart of Worship” ended a 10-year run in June of 2009 when it became “Don Moen & Friends” and Don Buettner was asked to bring his talents to this new show as Associate Producer. It would become the most successful launch of a syndicated show ever in Christian radio. And now, the show is called, “Keep the Faith”.
At STAR, Don has been nominated for Program Director of the Year in 2004, 2009 and 2010. The station was recognized at the 2009 Dove Awards for Radio Station of the Year., while the station has also been voted “Favorite Station” two years in a row by readers of their local newspaper.
Don and his wife Renee married in February of 2004. “I always like to mention that we got married on my parent’s 50th anniversary.” They have two daughters, Haley and Zoe along with two cats, Tigger and Linny. “Life is very busy for us it seems so the times we get to be together as a family are what we enjoy most.”
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