Jay Payleitner is one of the top freelance producers for Christian radio, having worked on Josh McDowell Radio, Today's Father, Jesus Freaks Radio, and Project Angel Tree with Chuck Colson.
Jay is a long-time affiliate with the National Center for Fathering and Iron Sharpens Iron. He speaks at men's retreats, marriage weekends, writers' conferences, and weekend services. Jay has sold more than half million books including the bestselling 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad, The Prayer of Agur, and What If God Wrote Your Bucket List? His books have been translated into at least ten languages. And he has been a guest multiple times on The Harvest Show, Moody Radio, Cornerstone TV, and Focus on the Family.
Jay and his high school sweetheart, Rita, live in the Chicago area where they raised five great kids, loved on ten foster babies, and are cherishing grandparenthood.
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Before finding his niche, Jay explored a lot of vocational options learning a ton of life lessons. And God continues to use 'em all.
To pay for college, he worked as an amusement park cotton candy and sno-cone maker, box car unloader, carpenter, waiter, and department store Santa.
After graduating from Illinois Wesleyan University, Jay's first job was selling photocopiers for A.B. Dick. It was not his shining moment. But, he did learn to make cold calls and handle rejection. He also spent a couple years selling law books to corporate attorneys. (Yikes.)
Audacity, chutzpah, and perhaps divine intervention led Jay to snag a job as a copywriter on Chicago's famed Michigan Avenue. He spent a decade in major marketing advertising, creating award-winning radio spots, print ads, and television commercials for eggs, canned vegetables, steaks, banks, land developers, gadgets, grocery chains, the Chicago Symphony, and Corona Beer. For Campbell-Mithun, he was the primary copywriter for Midway Airlines, which included producing TV and radio spots with Coach Mike Ditka. He led the creative team that helped name and position Frito-Lay’s “SunChips.”
In 1989, he left Michigan Avenue to do more important work . . .
For a host of Christian publishers (Tyndale, Bethany House, Thomas Nelson, Barbour, Cook, Regal, etc.) Jay has created ads, radio spots, videos, and all kinds of point-of-sale and brochures. He consulted on marketing Bibles, developed a wide-range of products, and wrote the very first ad for Left Behind.
For radio, he was writer and producer of Josh McDowell Radio, Jesus Freaks Radio with TobyMac and Michael Tait for Voice of the Martyrs , and Today’s Father with Ken Canfield and Carey Casey. He launched, scripted, and produced daily radio for The Heritage Foundation, Christian Association of PrimeTimers, the Susan B. Anthony List, and Guideposts magazine with Chuck Swirsky and Sandy Rios.
Each Christmas for more than 15 years, Jay wrote and produced full-length radio specials with Chuck Colson for Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree project. (The stories still make him cry.)
Within days of 9/11, Jay conceived and produced the fast-selling “America Responds” audio series featuring Chuck Colson, James Dobson, Bill Hybels, Tony Evans, David Jeremiah, and Joe Stowell.
Jay is the creator of "The Dad Manifesto," a poster, plaque, book, and canon of convictions for forever fathers.
As a speaker, Jay has emceed men’s events, led marriage retreats, keynoted fundraising events and writers' conferences, preached at weekend services, spoken to MOPS groups, and facilitated creative training sessions. He has spoken at Moody Bible Institute’s Pastors Conference and Iron Sharpens Iron conferences in fifteen states.
Jay is the author of more than 25 books – having sold more than one-half million copies – including the bestselling 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad, The Prayer of Agur, The Jesus Dare, Quick Tips for Busy Families, Lifeology, 52 Things Wives Need from Their Husbands, If God Gave Your Graduation Speech, Day-by-Day Devotions for Dads, Love Notes from God, and What If God Wrote Your Bucket List? Jay’s publishers include Harvest House, Waterbrook/Multnomah, Tyndale, Bethany House, Worthy, DaySpring, and Broadstreet. His books have been translated into French, German, Spanish, Italian, Afrikaans, Indonesian, Slovenian, Polish, and Russian.
He has been a guest multiple times on The Harvest Show, Chris Fabry Live, 100 Huntley Street, Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, Cornerstone TV, and Focus on the Family. Jay also served as the Executive Director for the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative and testified at the 2018 Responsible Fatherhood Listening Summit in Washington, DC.
Other credits: Audiobooks. Posters. Music jingles. Scriptwriting. On camera work for Willow Creek Leadership Summit. More than 25 T-shirts. Articles in national periodicals like Thriving Family and Guideposts. Custom comedy bits for comedians Mark Lowry, Ken Davis, and Rodney Dangerfield.
During the pandemic, Jay co-founded Benevolent ThinkTank with eight fellow altruistic and creative partners.
Beyond income-generating activity, Jay has done just about anything to stay close to his kids and give back to the community. Serving as: Wrestling, baseball, and softball coach. Awana director. Booster club president. Science fair chaperone. Salvation Army Advisory Board. Church volunteer including nursery duty, KidsWorld speaker, drama coach, youth counselor, and middle school van driver. School volunteer including Rock ‘n Read, picnic games leader, fundraising chairman, video producer, sound technician, and “room mom.”
Jay and his high school sweetheart, Rita, have four sons, one daughter, four daughters-in-law, seven perfect grandchildren (and an occasional foster baby) and live in St. Charles, Illinois.