The opening of this two part series on The Historical Overview of Christian Radio in Northwest Ohio started in 1966 with WPOS-FM. Since then, additional players have joined the market in Northwest Ohio deserving our attention. Therefore, let us focus on those currently providing service to the community, as well as, who they are reaching out to for the cause of Christ.
Family Radio Network, founded by Harold Camping, Richard Palmquist and Lloyd Linquist, went on the air with KEAR-FM in February of 1959 in San Francisco, California. By 1985, WOTL at 90.3 MHz was added to the Toledo market with 700 Watts of power.
Family Radio’s mission statement reads as follows, “Family Radio was founded for the sole purpose of spreading the Good News of the one true source of comfort and hope, salvation in Jesus Christ. God, working through the gifts of His people, has enabled Family Radio to build and operate a network of powerful AM and FM stations throughout the United States. On the Internet, our ministry spreads the Word of God to people all around the world. Family Radio exists to proclaim Christ to the ends of the earth!”
With over 100 transmitters on the air today, Family Radio broadcasts a format of conservative music, news and teaching that follows a reform theology tradition.
Side by Side, Incorporated, founded by Jim Oedy, a local businessperson, went on the air in the Toledo market in November of 1992 under the name of “yesfm,” with the call sign of WYSZ at 89.3 MHz, with 2.7 kW of power. By 1996, WYSA at 88.5 MHz was added in Wauseon with 10 kW of power. It was the year 2000, WYSM 89.3 MHz joined the Lima market with 3 kW of power, and by 2013, “yesfm” added a translator to the Fremont market with W206BX 89.1 MHz transmitting with 55 Watts of power.
Station Manager Jeff Howe of “yesfm” made comment about this market by saying, “We are the longest running station with this youth oriented Christian Music format still on the air. Our format is Hot Christian CHR playing a mix of Christian rock, rap, dance and pop with clean, positive lyrics and a life-changing message. We also broadcast to a worldwide audience through our website, yeshome.com, iHeartRadio, TuneIn and our Android and iPhone apps.”
Kayser Broadcast Ministries, founded by Daniel Kayser, came to the Upper Sandusky (Wyandot County) market in December of 1992, going on the air with WXML 90.1 MHz with 3 kW of power. By 2007, NewVision.FM increased their tower height to 500 feet, with output power of 15 kW, allowing WXML to expand its reach to 23 counties (Coverage Map) in the path of their more powerful signal.
Kayser Broadcast Ministries has since added two additional stations and two translators. In 2009, WXMF 91.9 went on the air with 6 kW of power in the Marion, Ohio area, and in 2010, WXMW 89.3 MHz followed with 390 Watts of power in Sycamore, Ohio (Wyandot County).
Kayser Broadcasting Ministries have also add two translator, one in Fostoria, Ohio, with W27QCL 101.9 MHz, with 55 Watts of power and the second in Findlay, Ohio at 97.5 MHz, with 38 Watts of power.
New Vision FM’s formats differ between their radio stations. WXML-Upper Sandusky, at 90.1 provides biblical teaching with a contemporary music format, reaching out to ages 35 to 55, Generation-X, baby boomers and those who enjoy more up-tempo music. WXMF-Marion, at 91.9, WXMW-Sycamore, at 89.3 and their translators in Findlay and Fostoria provides biblical teaching with a music format that falls under the categories of Gospel, Worship and Hymns reaching out to seniors in the 65+ age bracket.
New Vision FM states on their website the following: “It is the goal of New Vision FM to present distinctive Christian programming that lifts up the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God (II Chronicles 5:13; I Saul 16:16; 16:23; Psalm 43:4).”
Educational Media Foundation founded by Dick Jenkin is a Christian non-profit organization that operates radio networks like K-Love and Air1. In 1997, K-Love Radio came to the Northwest Ohio market in Findlay with W219DS 91.7 MHz, operating with 27 Watts of power. By 2004, WNKL at 96.9 MHz with 150 Watts of power was added to the Wauseon/Toledo market along with an added translator W281AL 104.1 MHz, with 20 Watts of power, located in Harbor View, Ohio. Bowling Green, Ohio, was also added to the area in 2004, with W290BA 105.9 MHz, with 55 Watts of power.
K-Love Radio’s format is “Adult Contemporary Christian Music” and heard on over 245 transmitters—nation wide. K-Love’s format is music and news focused toward the millennial generation. (Millennial being defined here as those born between 1980 and 2000)
American Family Radio network came to Northwest Ohio in December of 1998, bringing to the airwaves WBIE 91.5 MHz, with 5.5 kW of power, in Delphos, Ohio (Allen and Van Wert Counties). Then in March 2008, WMWT 1520 KHz, AM, located in Rossford, Ohio, came on board with 500 Watts of daytime power and 400 Watts of nighttime power, along with their FM translator, W221BG 92.1 MHz, with an ERP (Effective Radiated Power) of 250 Watts. WMWT and its FM translator are operated by Urban Family Communications an affiliate of American Family Radio.
Urban Family Communications’ mission statement reads, “To inform and empower Black families to grow into mature disciples by wisely applying Biblical truth to our issues and interests. In short, we stand for truth, wisdom, and empowerment.”
American Family Radio mission statement reads, “The mission of the American Family Association is to inform, equip, and activate individuals to strengthen the moral foundations of American culture, and give aid to the church here and abroad in its task of fulfilling the Great Commission.”
Some Technical Explanations
The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is the national regulator of all electronic communications in the United States and its territories. The FCC regulates Radio stations through licensing classifications, which brings restrictions based on geographical locations and proximity locations between transmitters. Within the broadcast radio assignments, there are currently three broad classifications. Within these classifications are sub-classification, which also restricts power and tower height.
Class A – Which restricts power levels to 6 kW with antenna maximum height of 100 meters.
Class B – Which restricts power levels to 50 kW with antenna maximum height of 150 meters.
Class C – Which restricts power levels to 100 kW with antenna maximum height of 600 meters.
The FCC station license also classify whether a station falls under a commercial or non-commercial educational status. Where “commercial” license allows the sale of commercial advertisement for revenue and “non-commercial educational” restricts such activity. Commercial station can be non-profit organizations.
This brings us to the difference between radio station transmitters and translators. To keep things simple, let us just say, station transmitters are transmitters with production studios attached in some manner and fall under the classification of A, B, or C. Translators are small transmitter/receivers designed to receive a radio signal on one frequency and retransmit that same signal out on a different frequency, all within the same small unit. Power levels in many cases are under 50 Watts, with maximum allowable power up to 250 Watts.
Over the years, Christian radio in Northwest Ohio has grown both in numbers and in the variety of formats. However, in the end, what all these stations have in common is, they all wish to glorify God, the creator of all things, and promote the gospel of Jesus Christ, with formats as diverse as the Christian community that listens to them.
Disclaimer Notice – Some dates and transmitter power levels were acquired from the FCC’s on-line database and could be in error. The FCC database is not always accurate or up-to-date with current information, due to the nature of information collection.
The relationship between American Family Radio and Urban Family Communication is unclear, and the legal ownership to the station license of 1520 AM, as reflected in the FCC database, is currently under review. I had no response to phone call inquiries to AFR.