area, which notably included our initial, out-of-the-box vision for north Georgia as well as northeast Alabama.
It was an exciting night. Packing as many of our friends and partners into the studio as possible, we all listened as the sounds of Christian music filled the air once more, after a long two-year silence. We worked to establish the station’s wide footprint and allowed our now reli- able transmission tower to sink its roots in deep, like a strong blossoming oak. Once that was done and we saw that our signal was connecting with thousands of souls like us—everyday listeners who were perpetually looking—we again turned our eyes (and our visions of expansion) back to Cleveland and WDRZ.
In the years since our departure, the station’s format had changed several times, from contemporary Christian to oldies, to country, and then to hard rock. Every time we approached the owners to sell, they were unwilling to talk. They always had another potential buyer on hook, ready to pay big bucks for this little 50,000-watt station. But despite all of that static, we never forgot God’s word to
us: “This is My radio station. Watch Me bring it up.”
Late in the fall of 1997, we finally got
the call. “All the deals to sell the station have fallen through,” the WDRZ repre- sentative admitted. “You may be right. God wants Partners for Christian Radio to have this station.”
This out-of-the-blue willingness to sell sent our elated spirits dancing among the clouds, like a radio wave from our tower. But their asking price of $645,000 brought us back to earth again, fast. And, adding that figure to the $150,000 need- ed to renovate the station’s old sporadic transmitter, we had to hit the ground running.
Pulling together all of our resources, we marshaled our team of supporters and initiated negotiations. Then, out of that same blue sky, another prospective buyer appeared and offered the Cleveland sta- tion cash! We were given seven days to match their $800,000!
Once more we found ourselves in search mode, scanning for a six-digit number that seemed off the dial, out of our reach. All we could do was tune in
A RADIO MISSION
JESUS SAID, “I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). On the foundation of that promise, we have worked to combine the network of our two radio towers into a “net” of sound that truly “works.” Even our name, J-103, has a hook in it.
From our God-planted station in view of Missionary Ridge, we have made our mission the world within our reach. This assignment is no less challenging than those faced by missionar- ies in Africa or Asia. We are all commanded to communicate the gospel in understandable language to everyone, whether they live on the far side of the Congo or just across the street. Our American mission field has a steeple on every corner. But if you peek through those stained-glass windows, you will find many empty pews. Our assignment, within the boundar- ies of our radio signal, has been to help fill that void.
ar- ble et. se
According to Barna Research, 36 percent of contemporary Christian radio stations’ lis- tening audience is unchurched. Our gospel efforts propel the universal language of music through the air into cars, bars, and the private chambers of homes and human hearts, where listeners can find the answer to the spiritual void in their lives.
One listener, Kenneth, wrote to us. “I’ve been listening for just over two years now, and since then I have hit many high and low points in my life. I’ve struggled with drugs, alcohol, and many other things. But the one radio station that always seems to be there when I need guidance is J-103.”
nd since h
then I have hit many hiigh and llow
Christy said, “I had not stepped foot in a church in over 10 years. I have two small children that had never been to church. We were flipping through stations one day and Seventh Day Slumber was playing. The beat kept my kids interested. It was in January 2007 that we found our new favorite station. Since then my family has found the way to the Lord through music, and I have been saved.”
20 EVANGEL • MAY 2010
that clear channel to heaven and pray, “God, if You want us to have that station for the gospel—and we believe You do— raise up someone to help us.”
The next day, a call came from a total stranger in Houston, Texas. The man had just sold a radio station and placed his profits in a 1031 exchange fund which, by design, had to be turned into a new investment by a given date—which hap- pened to be that week. The amount he needed to pass on was $800,000. Tony flew in from Houston the fol- lowing day. There was an instant cama- raderie between us, and by December 20, 1997, WDRZ was purchased by Friendship Broadcasting as an investment in Partners for Christian Radio.
Ironically, the official Federal Com- munications Commission’s approval for the Cleveland station came through before the Chattanooga purchase, which placed a nice chronological bow on these gifts from God.
Deborah Lubell and her husband, Bob, attend City Church, a Church of God congre- gation in Chattanooga.
Bob and Deborah Lubell go on the air for the first time.
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