God's Angel Leads DJ to Christ
By Randy Rudder
The 700 Club
CBN.com-Rob Ekno was born with the gift of gab. For most of his life, he has made his living from talking, whether as a DJ, an actor, or a shopping channel host. Rob fell in love with radio in high school when one of his teachers, Ken Grady, helped the students raise money for their own radio station. “He was my inspiration, “ Rob says. “He actually went out and started a 200-watt FM station, got our license, and a lot of people have had great careers because of that.”
Rob studied communications at a local community college, and he was even elected class president, but also loved the party scene. “We had keg parties at our house every Monday night. We’d watch Monday night football, and play poker until two minutes before class started and then race off to class,” he says, then adds laughing. “It wasn’t the best example to be a class president of your college and you’re the leader of the party crew out there as well.”
Despite his lifestyle, Rob managed to graduate and enrolled in a four-year program. While still a student, he was offered a job as a DJ in a top radio market in Massachusetts. At night, he spun platters at a Mexican restaurant and later at a strip club. That’s where he tried cocaine for the first time. “There I was with mayors and police chiefs and city councilmen literally five feet from me, and I’m playing music for all of these naked ladies and I’ve got lines of cocaine and I’m getting drunk and stoned,” Rob recalls. “It was quite a mess.”
Rob’s friends envied his early success, but his lifestyle and cocky attitude eventually caught up with him. He was fired from his radio job when he made an offensive remark. He also stopped attending classes and flunked out of school. “I ended up DJ’ing at night at clubs, and partying with the bands until all hours of the morning and things like that.”
Eventually, he found work as a news reporter, and then as a media relations rep with several sports teams, but his drug use consumed his life. One year, rob sold his house and made a $35,000 profit--but spent it all on cocaine. He lost everything and moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he became homeless. “Any time I did gather a little bit of money, it always went to try to find a dope dealer or a bottle of booze.
Rob attended a local church there, even though he would show up high most of the time.
“I used to walk three miles in the heat every Sunday and I’d go to church stinking in the pews,” he says. I’d walk into the men’s room, and I know of at least once or twice, I actually snorted lines of cocaine at church. I’d be sitting in the church every week and listen to the pastor, and I would say, ‘Wow, how does he know me?’ It was like he was only talking to me. So God was obviously trying to get me a message through all my insanity.”
“One day it hit me in the head, and I said, ‘Listen, what is the point in my wasting another day on the sidewalk here? I’m taking up space from people that have a life. I have no life. So let me just end it all. And I was literally walking over to where all the big cruise ships come in at Fort Lauderdale. I knew I couldn’t swim, but I thought with my luck, this would be the one day in my life that I could swim. So I said, at least if I end up being able to swim, one of those cruise ships will plow me right over and it will be over. But it was weird, I was walking over there and obviously God had a different plan for me.”
At that moment, Rob heard a voice telling him to go to California. so he decided to move out west, but first he went to visit friends up north, where he had another life-changing experience: a D.U.I. “The day after Thanksgiving, November 28, 1992. I ended up having a fight with my girlfriend. I went out and got drunk. Two hundred yards from the police station at two o’clock on the morning, I get pulled over. When she came to pick me up a couple hours later, I just looked at her and said, ‘I am done. I cannot do this anymore.’”
Rob entered a 12-step program and got sober. He finally moved to Burbank, California, and contacted a woman there about a room she had for rent. “When I talked to this gilr, she was like, ‘You can’t move in with me. You’re a guy and I’m a Christian girl.” But she said, “Come to this church called Church on the Way with Jack Hayford,” Rob says. “She said, there’s a Friday night singles meeting. Come meet me there and we can at least chat, and maybe I can help you get a place to live.’”
Although Rob has been sober for over a year, he knew he needed to take the final step and pray to receive Christ. “She talked to me for a little while and I said ‘You know what? It’s time for me to fully give my life to God because I don’t want to be drunk and stoned anymore. I want to rebuild my life,” Rob says. “God knows this, so let me give my life to him and let him guide me.’
Since then, Rob has worked as a host for several shopping channels, and as an actor on the News Radio TV show with Saturday Night Live stars John Lovitz and Phil Hartman.
Today he is married to Tammy and hosts a popular Christian Internet radio talk show called In Your Face. “The purpose of the show is to inspire, motivate and challenge each of us to become the best we can be for ourselves, our country, and most importantly for God.”
Rob is also active in helping the homeless and other local ministries in southern California. “That’s what Jesus put me here to do. We’re supposed to care about one another. My motto for this year is exactly that: What can I do for you? Because if I’m doing something for you, then it means I’m doing work for God, and if I’m doing work for god, that means my life is going to be OK.”
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