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January 8th, 2006… Beginning 17 Years of WBVN: WHY?

Thank you for supporting and praying for WBVN this year. We’ve had, what I would define, as one of our most interesting and community based years in 2006. I’ll give you the short version: Our emails, phone calls and conversations at the concerts indicate a new, increase interest in CCM and the value WBVN has become to our listeners and their families. Mark Schultz has blessed our Christian community with his choice of filming the DVD here. NewSong just really wanted to come back twice this year to bring their new “Rescue” live praise and worship event to us. Most recently, we met our goal of annual pledges during our fall celebration. That was the first time in 16 years of ministry for WBVN that we met those goals. That was a great vote of encouragement for us.

When we started the station in ’90, the Christian community was in a state of perpetual seriousness. Failures from a couple of national ministries had occupied the headlines for months and the usual divisions found among us during times of pressure had bubbled to the surface of Christianity again. It seemed some people thought a new Christian radio stations might mean hearing the names Tennessee Ernie Ford or Red Foley (I’m kidding here, maybe Honeytree and Evie are more like it) but what they got were names such as Steven Curtis Chapman, Geoff Moore, Jars of Clay, SmallTown Poets, Audio Adreneline, Newsboys and Jennifer Knapp.

It’s a good thing for local businesses to be in a community providing jobs, services, and materials and generating revenue into the community. Most of those businesses bring value into our lives and provide what we can’t provide for ourselves. WBVN is a little different organization than those businesses. When people first heard that we were going to begin a radio station, many people wanted to know how many people we would employ. That was not a question we were thinking about 16 years ago, and it still holds no interest for us today. You see, WBVN “delivers” something we think is more important than jobs and a tax base for the people we serve.

Communities are not evaluated on how safe they are by counting the number of policemen they have on the payroll. They’re actually evaluated by how safe and secure those police keep that community. How educated a town is cannot be determined by counting how many teachers the district employs but should be judged by the results we see in our children. We don’t look at those groups only as employers in the community. No, they’re to be measured by the ‘effect’ they have on our community.

WBVN is measured much the same. We’re ‘terrifically’ small, but we hope what we give is of ‘great’ benefit. The FCC obligates a radio station to “during the term of this license, render such broadcasting service as will serve the public interest…” In theory, a radio station should “upgrade” the community, serving it with programming that would make it a better, more peaceful place to live. It should promote a better place for our children and their families. The original intent of the Federal Communications Commission was that radio stations in this country would help establish and preserve an environment of “decency.” The problem today with the FCC is that in its effort to define community standards of decency they have forgotten to decide what is decent! Broadcasters should be evaluated by what they add to the cultural environment of a community. Radio stations should be measured by what they promote in the community at large and what they ‘hand off’ to the next generation. I’m afraid many radio stations today fail that “public service” test, doing only what generates the most money and disregard the content of the programming.

WBVN testifies and sings of God. However, you just can’t get you hands on what this radio station supplies our communities. It’s an intangible benefit. It could only be measured by the absence of the programming heard on FM 104.5. Without it you might know what ‘BVN is providing in your homes and cars. We’re not “visionless” about what we do. (Do we acquiesce to Howard Sterns and Jerry Springers to be our “visionaries” of the future, or do we do our best to encourage some other vision of America?) The whole Southern Illinois community is one Christian “gathering” for us. Everyday thousands of believers join us, meeting together for encouragement. We’ve determined what we want WBVN to be in these communities and what results we’d like to see there. We encourage certain things and we, ourselves, stand for certain things. We live in a very precarious time it seems. Many of our children are strangers to us. They turn 16 and we throw a set of car keys at them and hope for the best. However, we’re not giving many of them the skills to “resolve” life’s problems. Over 50% of our marriages fail and who knows how many have failed but continue. Over 10% of all the children being raised in this country are being raised with their grandparents as the primary caregiver.

What is the legacy that we are leaving our children? WBVN can’t change the whole world, but here and there, we can make a difference one person at a time. We’re looking for results that penetrate the office space at work; results that mend wounds in your family. Looking for effects that make a difference in the way we treat the folks we meet on the street and how we respond to people in need. We look to encourage new parents on the great opportunity they have to bring up their children in the Way of God. We encourage Worship and Praise with hymns and songs. We contrast and conflict with some of the other cultural influences, purposely choosing to identify with terms you don’t hear in our conversations any more: character, integrity, honesty and a single Truth derived from the Creator of all this world.

We’re the kind of creature that doesn’t need to go to a seminar to learn to lie or cheat. Self-centeredness or sneaking a cookie from the cookie jar seems to come naturally to us all. We must be encouraged (actually changed) away from that type of behavior and Christian radio can play a part in that. Are you seeing that type of help in most secular radio and television programs? Well, you do on FM 104.5! And might I add: “On purpose!” We need to encourage a pattern for life other than the pattern found in “Desperate Housewives” and “Sex In The City.”

We’re guilty of making the Gospel comfortable for WBVN listeners. Some view God with a judge’s robe and gavel. Ours is to dress him in L. L. Bean, making you just as comfortable with Him on your front porch as with Him in the church building. We’re grateful for all the minutes, over 8 million now, that you have permitted this station to be a part of your lives. We look forward to a few surprises this coming year, probably some disappointments, some unpredictable moments and pressure but all mixed with the joy and the contentment found in sharing the Gospel with you in ’06. It really is as Steven Curtis Chapman sings, “a great adventure.” We enjoy sharing the future with you as a companion and partner in the Christian life this coming year.

FCC Launches Site to Explain Obscenity, Indecency and Profanity
The FCC has launched a web site to inform the public about laws governing the airing of obscene, indecent and profane material and its enforcement of those laws. The site, www.fcc.gov/eb/oip, explains how to file a complaint and what happens when the Commission receives one.

Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters

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