Faith Radio began and was incorporated in July of 1997. Scott Beigle, who had been in Christian broadcasting for 20 years, along with his wife Brenda and three children, feeling God wanted them to pursue the purchase of a radio station to begin a broadcasting ministry, began to seek possible available stations to purchase. Soon thereafter through contacts with a radio broker, efforts were made to secure the purchase of 1070 AM, formerly a CNN news station, that was for sale in Tallahassee, Florida. After researching the need for Christian radio in the Big Bend Tallahassee/South Georgia area and sensing this to be God’s will, efforts were made to secure a loan for the purchase.
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.
THE NEED TO RELOCATE
With the purchase of this station, from the very beginning we realized that a move would have to be made. We were located in about a 500-square foot tiny building and rented tower space from another station’s tower. The former owner of the station was getting out of the radio business and was redeveloping the property. He gave us two years to accomplish the phenomenal feat of relocating a radio station. After getting over the hump of our first year on the air, we began to look for suitable property. We ran into several huge obstacles: the cost of securing the needed acreage (4-5 acres) to erect a tower right in the main portion of Tallahassee, the confines of the parameters that the FCC and FAA place on you as to where you can relocate, and the Leon County restrictions and guidelines on towers. For about a year and a half we struggled to secure a new location. The majority of this time was spent working with Leon County about our new location, but it did give us time to raise money for the many expenses that were to come.
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.
Two weeks before the close of the year 2000, out of excitement and determination to get moved in, Scott began broadcasting from our new location even before things were completely ready. By January 1, 2001, everything from the old facility was completely moved over to the new location and Faith Radio had a new home. We now have a facility we can be proud of and are thankful for the room to grow.
We are also grateful to God for the many listeners and friends who gave financially toward this relocation project. Over a period of about two years, almost $117,000 was donated to pay for the many expenses of relocating Faith Radio. There was a down payment on the loan to make plus closing costs, a tower to purchase and install, studio equipment to buy, office furnishings, costly permits to obtain from the County, $14,000 of land clearing to pay for, complete electrical rewiring of the facility to meet our needs, remodeling costs, and other needs. But without the faithful help of our listeners, we could not have accomplished such a significant move. How thankful we are for the loving, caring friends of this ministry.
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.
FAITH RADIO FM
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!
SPANISH MINISTRY OF FAITH RADIO
In the spring of 2016, a lot of prayer and discussion began about whether or not to sell our flagship station, 1070 AM. Over the years, with the addition of two FM stations to the Tallahassee area that matched the coverage of 1070 AM, it seemed senseless to continue. Finally, it became apparent that Faith Radio should enter a new phase of ministry by adding Spanish Christian radio to our network over 1070 AM. We made some changes to one of our offices by enclosing and soundproofing part of it for the Spanish studio, the rest used for Spanish office space. New equipment went in for the studio. The conference room was utilized for office space lost from the new Spanish studio. We hired Enrique Yanez, a Mexican-born U.S. citizen, to become our director of Spanish broadcasting. And so, after several weeks of work, Spanish broadcasting over 1070 AM went on the air June 13, 2016.
EXPANING OUR SPANISH MINISTRY. In August of 2016 we heard of an AM station that was off the air in the Chattahoochee, Florida area—1580 AM. Contact was made with the owner and a purchase agreement was made. Spanish broadcasting began right away on August 22, 2016 as our second Spanish station. We are currently leasing this station until all sale agreements are complete. The cost was $15,000 plus a tax donation receipt for a portion of the cost.
In 2017, the FCC offered to daytime AM radio stations the opportunity to apply for an accompanying low-powered FM frequency. Faith Radio applied under 1070 AM, one of our Spanish stations, for the frequency 106.7 FM at a cost of $5,000. A construction permit was granted for this new frequency, and Spanish broadcasting went on the air at 106.7 FM on August 17, 2018.
In addition, in February of 2018, we met folks at a radio convention we attended who have a station in Minnesota that carries Spanish Christian programming. After talking further with them in the months to come, they are now broadcasting part of their day with programming from our Spanish studio here.
We are so thrilled with how God led us into this mission effort to reach the Spanish-speaking people in our listening area.
IMANI RADIO--KENYA AND UGANDA, AFRICA
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.
GOD, GIVE US EVEN MORE TO DO!
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.