King's Business - 1963-01

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¿by[Dorothy Grunbock Johnston

T h e s t o r y of how a 19- year-old ra­ dio station wrSJTiterally “ con- verted” is a modem qpracle! A house­ wife witnessed to her neighbor in her kitchen; the entire church prayed for the neighbor’s husband. Result: the conversion of a couple in the spring of 1958 and the switching of an or­ dinary commercial station to a Chris­ tian station dedicated to proclaiming the gospel by March, 1960. Formerly, the policy of KWIL, 1 ; 000-watt station in Albany, Oregon had been, “ Just a bit of religious flavor on Sunday. No other day. We don’t want to lose our audience.” Now beer and cigarette advertisers received let­ ters from Larry Gordon, a half-owner of the station, stating that when pres­ ents contracts expired, they would not be renewed. “ Because,” said he, “ I have been bom again.” In January, 1959, just seven months after his conversion, Mr. Gordon went on the air with his “ Shining Hour” program of gospel recordings, inter­ spersed with bits of testimony urging his listeners to be bom again. Ques­ tionable advertisers had been asked to leave. Now legitimate businesses with­ drew their advertising. “We don’t want to deal with a ‘religious fana­ tic’ ” was the reason given. Unable to raise the money necessary to purchase the other half of the sta­ tion’s interest, and having been boy­ cotted by local merchants, Larry Gor­ don saw his thriving station plunge onto financial rocks in a matter of months. It appeared that very soon KWIL would revert to a worldly sta­ tion. Alarmed, evangelical pastors cam­ paigned from the pulpits. “ Save Kwil­ ly for Christ” became the slogan. A non-profit organization was formed for the purpose of buying out KWIL. Memberships and the right to vote were sold for $10.00. Many small gifts and a few large ones turned the tide. Deadlines for mortgage payments of $15,000 and $20,000 arrived with only minutes remaining before banking hours closed. But God could not suffer His faithfulness to fail. On Monday, August 10, 1959, short $300.00, Larry Gordon arrived at the bank to pay what he could. Friends and strangers stuffed bills- into his pockets. The goal was met — almost to the penny. Would the FCC approve the transfer of ownership in the face of the recent

checkered financial/: pattern?; Chris- tiansprayed. The heathen raged. Sev­ en out of eight KWIL staff members quit, but not before urging the pub­ lic in a half-page newspaper ad to withdraw financial support from the “ Save Kwilly for Christ” campaign. “ It’s not scriptural to talk about be­ ing ‘bom again’,” thundered modern­ istic preachers from their pulpits. The immediate coverage of the station, ninety communities, were faced with the fact that a true Christian is one who lias been born-again. And God got Himself the victory. The FCC approved and now Kwilly is for Christ — 24 hours a day. Around the clock, high-calibre Christian pro­ grams, interspersed with news, is the daily diet. And souls are being saved and blessed. Listener-response is ter­ rific. Staffed now with born-again be­ lievers, the station that prayer built proclaims the good news of salvation by word of mouth and by music. One sponsor had been witnessing Larry Gordon: open Bible, open mike, open heart. to an elderly woman in his store. He had just finished quoting John 3:16 to her when the beautiful anthem, “ For God So Loved the World,” came from his radio speaker, naturally tuned to KWIL. That did it. The wom­ an broke down, acknowledging her need of a Saviour. Calls from honest seekers come into the stations at all hours. Once in a wee small hour of the morning, a man called the station for further light. Between platters, the Christian disc-jockey led the man to the Lord over the phone. The new convert was thrilled with his new­ found salvation. “ Tell folks on the air I’ve just been saved,” he begged, anx­ ious to witness at once. The announcer complied. A converted radio station is result­ ing in converted souls. As Lindy and Larry Gordon say, “ To God be the glory!”



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