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The enemy fought hard, and at times we wondered if perhaps we had missed God’s directive, but soon we began to pray that until God closed absolutely every door, we would continue on in our attempts to purchase 1070 AM in Tallahassee, Florida. Finally, at virtually the midnight hour and our last option, financing was secured and the purchase was made. About eleven financial institutions were contacted and ten of those turned us down. We had good credit and 20 years experience but not much collateral to offer. The reasons varied from each: a “new business” is risky, it won’t be supported, no need in this area, cash flow problems to maintain the station; you name it, we heard it. But these financial institutions discounted God’s provision. We began on the air October 6, 1997, and after only six months we began meeting our budget needs each month.
Believe it or not, we did not even have a computer when this ministry started. While waiting for financing to come through, trips were made to the public library to use their computer lab to write programmers, contact music companies, write local pastors, and begin preparing for the first day on air. Much work for several months was done at the Beigle’s home prior to occupying the station. We had only those six days to convert a news station into a Christian radio station when the loan finally closed on September 30, 1997. Our contract engineer spent many hours with Scott Beigle preparing for that first day on the air, October 6, 1997.
When the station was purchased, the call letters were WANM. We submitted with the FCC a change of call letters to be WFRF--“Faith Radio of Florida” (because we are located in the capital city).
A NON-PROFIT MINISTRY
Faith Radio was actually incorporated in July of 1997 as a non-profit Christian ministry before WFRF was purchased and on the air. Therefore, we applied for and received from the Internal Revenue Service our non-profit status as a 501(C)(3) organization able to receive tax deductible donations. We are on the air each day through the financial gifts of our listeners and Christian businesses who support this ministry.
Our location is now at 4015 N. Monroe Street in Tallahassee with 6.6 acres, a 2000-square foot building, and a 240-foot tower. This property was heavily treed and was a rental property. Much clearing had to be done, extensive renovations were done to the building, complete electrical rewiring was needed to make it suitable for our purposes, and many months of work to erect the tower and equip the new studio and office space.
However, what a blessing there was in all of it when numerous friends and businesses came to our aid and provided their services free of charge or at their cost. Many painted, did carpentry work, laid the grounding system, refinished several items, disability-equipped the facilities, gave technical assistance, worked on the grounds, laid tile, did landscaping, worked on the heating and air conditioning, installed telephones, donated items, did cleanup, helped with the move, and so much more. If we would have had to pay for all the work others did on our behalf, we would have been in a desperate situation financially. We thank God for the many people and businesses who helped us get into our facility. We were truly blessed by their generosity.
In the summer of 2001, Faith Radio built its website and in July of 2002 we began to stream our broadcasting over our internet website--FaithRadio.us--a great asset to reach people world-wide.
It was our prayer from the beginning that God would also give us an FM station to more adequately accomplish the desires of our heart. So much more can be done with FM. It is extremely expensive to purchase an existing FM station (in the millions), and in our area there were no frequencies available to start a station from scratch. In September of 2003 we began negotiations with the owner of an FM station for sale in our area; its tower located in Lamont. We contracted with the owner of 105.7 FM to purchase the station. An on-air fund-raiser entitled "Each One Reach One" was entered into November 3-5, 2003. Our listeners made pledges that were to come in by January 2004. We received over $206,000 from our listeners to put towards the FM purchase. On February 5, 2004, Scott Beigle met the owner, signed papers, handed over the agreed purchase price, and 105.7 FM became part of Faith Radio. It took about two weeks to ready the station for Christian broadcasting to be simulcast from 1070 AM. Faith Radio 105.7 FM with 24-hour programming went on the air for the first day on February 17, 2004. We praise God for what He has done.
Faith Radio began working in 2007 on the construction of another FM station, WFRU, licensed to Quincy at 90.1 FM. This opportunity was given to us from a fellow Christian broadcaster in another area who wanted this new frequency granted to him by the FCC to be used for God's glory. A fund-raising opportunity was presented to our listeners in November of 2007, and our wonderful listeners gave over $135,000 to fund this project. On June 25, 2008, WFRU--90.1 FM--went on the air for its first day of broadcasting.
In the early summer of 2010, we happened to be down in the "Forgotten Coast" area and were reading a local publication. We learned one of the secular radio stations was doing a survey asking locals what type of programming they would like on a new station that was going on the air. Scott Beigle called and asked if they had considered a Christian format. During a conversation with the owner, he learned that the station was actually for sale. After much negotiating and prayer, Faith Radio entered into a contract to purchase this new station that had only been on the air for a couple of months. We began a "We Will Remember" campaign to raise funds for the purchase and over $155,000 was raised. Station WZFR, 104.5 FM, licensed at Eastpoint, Florida in the "Forgotten Coast" area went on the air as a part of our network on October 4, 2010. Praise God!
In early December of 2011, we were contacted by an engineering friend that he had built a new station in Moultrie, Georgia, had it on the air for one month, but decided he just did not have the motivation and will to continue running it with his other engineering work. He asked if we would like to take over this new station. For several years while this station was going through the construction process with the FCC, we had often thought and prayed about owning this station. It was not God's timing then, but on January 2, 2012, WBGP, 91.3 FM licensed to Moultrie, GA went on the air as part of the Faith Radio Network. We had just literally a few weeks to raise $75,000, but God helped us even at Christmastime!
Totally a surprise, in the summer of 2013, an email came from a radio broker who knew us asking if we might be interested in a station for sale out of Lake City, Florida. Scott felt he certainly wanted more details, and thus began the negotiations for the purchase of 91.3 FM, WOLR, licensed to Lake City, Florida. We prayed and felt God definitely wanted us to move forward to make this purchase. Things moved very quickly. A contract was made to purchase this station, and a fund-raiser entitled "People Need the Lord" was planned. Around $80,000 was raised. Work started on a new building that was provided; electrical work began; and the equipment put in place by an engineer. On October 14, 2013, WOLR 91.3 FM out of Lake City went on the air for its first day of broadcasting.
Praise God for what He has done! Listeners find all six frequencies--105.7 FM, 90.1 FM, 1070 AM, 104.5 FM Eastpoint, 91.3 FM Moultrie, and 91.3 Lake City--as they travel throughout the area to be of help in staying tuned in to Faith Radio. For a "faith lift" each day, stay tuned in to Faith Radio!
Faith Radio is also involved in getting Christian radio into Africa. In November of 2004, Scott Beigle was confronted with the need in Africa of literally thousands coming to Christ daily with no means of training and discipling leaders. The possibility was also presented of helping Africa to have Christian radio. At the end of March 2005, Scott Beigle and a team of our listeners, 14 in all, went on a mission trip to Kenya, Africa. The trip was organized by Rev. John Cappelen, board member of Faith Radio. Seeing the potential, the Faith Radio listeners began to donate funds to erect a Christian radio station in Kenya, Africa. During the mission trip much preparation work was done for this station, and just days after returning to the U.S., Imani Radio ("Faith" Radio in Swahili) went on the air. A 2000-watt station with its tower on top of a mountain now reaches a potential 7.2 million listeners. Many good reports are being received. The plan has always been to hopefully have satellite stations from this one station in Kenya to broadcast into Uganda, Sudan, and possibly Tanzania. The first expansion became possible on May 5, 2010 when Imani Radio went on the air in Uganda, adding another potential 7 million listeners.
The Prayer of Jabez from I Chronicles 4 has become of particular inspiration to us. It says, "And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my coast, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested." God knows what we need, and we are looking for Him to provide more opportunities for us in Christian broadcasting as He wills. We desire even more stations on which to broadcast the love of Jesus.