FREEPORT — Seeing a need to expand the broadcast for Christian radio, Northwestern Illinois Radio Fellowship gave a low-wattage Christian radio station a bigger audience with a new signal. Comprised of two churches, Park Hills Evangelical Free Church and Zion Church in Freeport, Christian radio station WHRD 106.9 FM now is serving northwest Illinois. This radio station with its main studio offices at 2525 W. Stephenson St. in Freeport dates back to 1980, but it had a limited audience because of its low-wattage signal. With a new tower near Eleroy and a broader signal, 106.9 FM is now serving northwest Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Fellowship Technical Operations Director Mike St. Ores said the station went on the air again in the past year after a license lottery with the Federal Communications Commission. The fellowship competed with seven other organizations for four spots.
“One of the complaints we used to hear from people is they used to lose signal of the old radio station,” St. Ores said. “We wanted to expand wattage to be able to reach people.”
Fellowship President Dave Timm helps operate the 24/7 radio station. “We have a huge Christian community, and we want to be able to let the public know we are back and bigger,`` he said. The programming comes from Moody Radio, which has thousands of listeners worldwide. Local fellowship leaders said they have plans to expand into more Christian programming. St. Ores said the radio station is focused on teaching and preaching with some talk radio and worship music. The radio station is a nonprofit organization and is supported by both churches. Fellowship Secretary/Treasurer Craig Pauls, one of six local businessmen who make up the organization's board, said the goal is to reach as many people as possible. “It’s going to be good for people to hear a good message, which will lead them to lead a stronger Christian life,” Pauls said.
By Jane Lethlean