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"A lot of things happen providentially..."
|Radio of Hope finds its home base at Port Townsend (Wash.) Church's Better Living Center, and is led by Glenn Gately, station visionary, right, and Joe Mann, general manager. (Photo by Heidi Martella)|
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) opened a one-week window in 2007 where nonprofit community groups in the United States could file an application for a noncommercial broadcast license.
Glenn Gately, a fisheries biologist from Port Townsend, Wash., heard about this once-in-a-generation opportunity and felt God prompt him to take action.
“I’m not a radio person, but I know Jesus is coming soon,” says Gately. “A lot of things happen providentially and I had no real plan except to start a radio station.”
Casting the Vision
Gately began networking with radio ministry experts, engineers, lawyers, church leaders and anyone who would listen, give advice or provide support to this grassroots effort.
Gately worked with Don Martin, an attorney who specializes in helping Adventist radio stations, to complete an application for 91.1 FM, the only available frequency in the area, and continued casting the vision for KROH - Radio of Hope.
Initially, the application was MX’ed (FCC terminology for competing) with four other potential stations. Out of the four potential stations, Port Townsend Adventist Church’s proposed station offered the largest broadcasting area. The FCC issued the church a construction permit in April 2009.
|Radio of Hope 91.1 FM is now broadcasting from Port Townsend (Wash.) to northwestern Washington. (Photo by Glenn Gately)|
The church originally planned to rent space on an existing tower, but when no space was ultimately available the church decided to lease a plot of land and build its own 80-foot tower on 2,100-foot high Maynard Peak in the Olympic Mountains. The station’s three antennae are 35 feet higher on its own tower to give better coverage than originally planned with the existing tower. And the annual rental cost is only half as much as was anticipated.
From the beginning, the building of KROH has been a faith venture. Gately said his faith has increased tremendously in watching God build this station. Skilled volunteers came from several of Seventh-day Adventist churches in the area to assemble the tower and build the equipment shed.
Assistance also came from within the community. When a crane was needed to erect the tower, Gately looked up a crane company in the Yellow Pages. After quoting a price, the owner asked what the station would be broadcasting. When hearing that it was a Christian station, he excitedly replied, “Well, there won’t be any charge for that!”
A surveyor, who Gately befriended while selling Christian books several years before, donated his time and the owner of a metal fabrication shop donated both parts and labor.
|A network of volunteers works with Radio of Hope through every stage of development — from pouring the concrete pad to erecting the tower — to help the radio station get on-air. (Photo by Glenn Gately)|
God has supplied over $120,000 in funding. Donations have come in just when needed and no phase of construction has ever been delayed due to a lack of funds. The station is still depending upon God to bring in the $5000 per month operating expenses.
“I have to admit,” Gately says, “this radio project has had its scary moments. I still find myself asking God for more faith.”
Each of the KROH board meetings begins with a season of prayer in which members claim Bible promises.
Establishing a Purpose
KROH 91.1 FM has as its primary mission the airing of programming that will educate the listening audience in the Christian gospel, family values, lifestyle issues and health principles as these are understood in the Seventh-day Adventist context.
“We want to foster a sense of ownership among our listeners and supporters,” says Joe Mann, KROH general manager who has 30 years of broadcast experience. “We don’t want people to refer to us as just that Adventist station, but as my station.”
Content will be localized, but will interface with established Adventist Christian radio content providers, while also helping new producers to reach the public.
“We want to select the ‘best of the best’ programming for our station,” says Gately. “We want to uplift Jesus in our music and our talk.”
“New listeners routinely discover KROH, while scanning the FM dial, and several have told us that they immediately noted the different sound,” says Mann. “The ‘best of the best’ does sound different.”
Radio of Hope began broadcasting over the airwaves in mid-August 2011 after launching an online broadcast in September 2010.
Radio of Hope joins a second Adventist radio station in western Washington. KROH 91.1 FM – Port Townsend reaches northwestern Washington while KACS 90.5 FM – Chehalis reaches southwestern Washington. One goal is to have these two radio stations converge in Seattle in the near future.
“We are on the air, but the work is by no means finished,” Gately says. “We are now working on getting our own emergency power generators set up at the studio and tower site.”
Originally, plans were laid to broadcast only in English with a typical analog FM transmitter. However, with sizable immigrant populations in the area, the opportunity to add 24-hour programming in Russian and in Spanish, via HD (hybrid digital) channels, provided a much larger horizon and resulted in the purchase of a more advanced transmitter. Partnerships with native speakers of the additional languages are under development.
“We are grateful that God has chosen to move our thinking out of the smaller box in which we started,” says Mann.
If you live in northwestern Washington or you are traveling through, tune to 91.1 FM and help KROH update its reception map at www.radioofhope.org/map.
Listen online or through your iPhone at www.radioofhope.org/listen.
Washington Conference communication director