We are in week 2 of what is 6 weeks of Fall Sharathon season. For me that means 2 weeks a month for 3 months of working 12-14 hour days 4 days a week. Why? I LOVE Christian radio. For the last several years I have been a paid volunteer in Phone Central for the fundraising efforts of the Radio Training Network, which owns listener supported 501c3 Christian radio stations in Florida, Georgia, Alabama,, Missouri and South Carolina.
Why would a woman who runs 3 businesses from her home put life on hold for 6 weeks each spring and fall for a radio station? Easy, Christian radio saved my life.
In 1986 I was a 22 year old woman going to college and working in the medical field. I had been active in church my whole life and I thought I was a “good” person. I thought life was great, I was partying and having fun on the weekends and working and going to school during the week. In all honesty, I was living a dangerous life, one that could have swallowed me up at any time.
One June day, my co-worker, Margaret, had told me that a Christian radio station, WJIS was going on the air at noon that day. We ate lunch in her car so we could listen to Station Owner Jim Campbell and Station Manager Don Price sign on the air for the first time. I have been listening to 88.1 FM here on Florida’s Suncoast ever since.
Over the next 2 years I heard things about Christianity that I had never heard in the churches I had attended. The world “Salvation” was mentioned often as was the term “born again” both terms that were never heard in the American Baptist church of my childhood nor the United Methodist church of my youth/young adulthood. For 2 years I listened and learned from both the on air staff and the recorded programs like Focus on the Family, Pastor Jack Hayford, Pastor Charles Stanley and the like.
One of my favorite DJs was, and still is Michelle Tellone. Michelle had a Saturday night show called Lightforce which was geared to youth and young adults and featured Christian rock and alternative music. Lightforce Radio is now an internet radio station and still going strong. Anyway, week after week Michelle would talk about “playing church” and how we shouldn’t just go through the motions. She talked about how we needed to press into God and spend time in His Word, the Bible, His love letter to us. This was totally foreign to me. I went to church and owned a Bible, I had even memorized a few verses…in 3rd grade, but the life Michelle talked about was different. It was a radical life change, it was God focused not me focused-different than anything I had ever seen. Yet, I was intrigued and I kept listening.
In May of 1988, just after my college graduation, I was at a Mylon Lefevre and Broken Heart concert. Near the end of the concert the Salvation message was given and I went forward and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. The hard dry soil had been broken up and prepared for planting by the ministry of a radio station, seeds were planted and watered by radio personalities and musicians who were not ashamed of sharing the love of Jesus Christ with others. Finally, at a Christian rock concert sponsored by the radio station, the harvest began as I said, “Yes” to God.
I am so thankful for Christian radio and its commitment to sharing God’s Word to a dark and dying world. Through this ministry I learned more about Biblical Christianity than I had in 24 years of church attendance. Through the radio station’s ministry I found a local church that accepted me, loved on me and taught me how to study God’s Word for myself. God has a plan for each and every one of us and He used Christian radio to touch my heart and draw me to Him.
From 1991-1995 I actually had the pleasure of working at WJIS as on air talent first as the weekend overnight host and later on the Sunday afternoon shift. I still dream of working there again some day. Now Aaron, my oldest son is on staff there and works in many facets including IT, production and live events. The ministry of what is now known as The Joy FM has been a blessing to me, my family, and our community for 30 years and I am proud to do my part to support this life changing ministry.
If you don’t have great Christian radio where you are, feel free to listen online at TheJoyFM.com or download our app and listen that way. The Joy FM and all of the other stations under the Radio Training Network banner are non-commercial, listener supported stations. Thanks to the faithful support of the listeners, the stations are able to share the Good News across the airwaves.