Home Features Spiritual K-LOVE, broadcasting on 88.9 FM in La Grande, spread words of faith, inspirational songs, hope in ch
K-LOVE, broadcasting on 88.9 FM in La Grande, spread words of faith, inspirational songs, hope in ch
By Dave Stave
Observer Staff Writer
Listeners to K-LOVE, a radio station that went on the air in La Grande last year, do not have to go far down the freeway to continue to listen to the upbeat contemporary Christian music.
K-LOVE can be picked up at 88.9 FM in La Grande. Those traveling east into Idaho can hear K-LOVE signals in Idaho Falls (91.9 FM), Pocatello (90.3) and Twin Falls (88.1).
People motoring west can pick up the Sacramento-based K-LOVE in Walla Walla (93.3) and The Dalles (90.9).
The translator that went on the air in La Grande in 2002 was one in a long succession of additions to the K-LOVE network.
Since the late 1980s, K-LOVE's "positive, encouraging" sound has been spreading, particularly in the West, and the music is heard on 51 stations and 122 translators in 34 states, said Ted Gillette, Northwest representative for K-LOVE in Portland.
Three stations provide the K-LOVE signal in the Portland area, including 1040 AM, and 88.7 and 96.3 on the FM dial.
K-LOVE signals also can be picked up in other parts of Washington state, including Yakima (89.9), Centralia, Vancouver and Wenatchee.
Today, the non-commercial, listener-supported K-LOVE has a potential listening audience of more than 15 million people who can tune in 24 hours a day and, according to the K-LOVE Web site Â— klove.com, "learn about God's plan of redemption for mankind through Jesus Christ."
More stations and translators are on their way, pending FCC approval.
Gillette, who pastors a church in Lebanon on weekends while working for K-LOVE during the week, said he became attracted to the radio ministry because he could see how it changed lives.
K-LOVE, he said, is closely associated with the Need Him ministry, frequently mentioned during broadcasts. People are encouraged to call 1-800-NEED-HIM to receive help in being drawn closer to Christ.
"I saw a woman not long ago Â— her family life was deteriorating, " Gillette said.
"She started listening to K-LOVE, and so did her husband. They came back together and got refocused in their life."
The idea for a full-time contemporary Christian music station was conceived in 1980 by Bob Anthony, a popular radio personality in San Francisco.
Anthony said that when he arrived in the Bay Area he had a lot of time alone.
"I passed the time by reading the Bible," Anthony explained on the K-LOVE Web site. "I read with an open mind to find out who Jesus was. When I got to the part where Jesus asks you to follow Him, I asked Jesus Christ to become my Lord and Savior."
Anthony reported that conflicts soon developed between his job on the radio and his Christian life.
"I'd go to Bible studies on Wednesday night, ... and then the next day, I'd go on the air and play a song like, Â‘Do you think I'm sexy?' or "Sympathy for the Devil.' "
Anthony began thinking about what a radio station would be like that would "honor God with its music."
He sensed that traditional Christian radio, with its preaching programs and church hymns, was not reaching the average person.
Anthony's vision was to create a new, all-music station, featuring contemporary artists like Amy Grant, The Imperials and Keith Green Â— a revolutionary approach 20 years ago.
Professional announcers would present the Gospel through brief vignettes, without adopting the Christian-ese terms and phrases that would be difficult for non-believers to understand.
After several tries at purchasing a station, a small, non-commercial radio station was acquired 45 miles north of the Bay Area in Santa, Rosa, Calif. The bankrupt station sold for $67,000.
KCLB-FM, "The Positive Alternative" as it was called, signed on the air on Oct. 15, 1982.
Phone calls and letters from listeners came in, and Anthony said he could see how God was using the station to help people.
In 1988, KCLB changed its name to K-LOVE.
Through satellite broadcasting and digital technology, K-LOVE became a network of radio stations and FM translators Â— low-power repeater stations.
K-LOVE expanded to San Francisco, Berkeley, San Rafael and other California cities and on to other communities in the West.
K-LOVE, which is 96 percent listener supported, is under the umbrella organization, Educational Media Foundation, which also has focused on establishing Air 1 stations.
Air 1 has up-tempo Christian music that is "a little more rock for those 34 and under," Gillette said. Air 1 can be heard in places like Boise, Walla Walla, Portland, Gresham, Vancouver, Wash., Aberdeen, Wash., Eugene, Medford and Salem. It is on the Web at air1.com.
Gillette said the K-LOVE ministry is an effective outreach tool to non-believers. The station is a bridge for people to come to Christ who may not be comfortable attending a church.
The station also is a resource for people who have prayer requests.
Twice a day, K-LOVE staff members gather for prayer to remember listeners' requests that are posted on the K-LOVE Web site.
Gillette said part of his mission as Northwest representative is to develop a group of local supporters in communities where K-LOVE stations or translators are found.
The idea, he said, is to link K-LOVE with local ministries, such as churches, Youth for Christ or rescue missions.
Christian concerts in Northeast Oregon and other local events can be advertised on the K-LOVE Web site, for example.
Gillette said he hopes to talk to people in the La Grande area who would like to become part of a K-LOVE team.
"This would be a handful of interested folks that we could work side by side with, and partner with the ministries there," he said.
Gillette can be contacted in Portland by calling 503-281-4664, or through e-mail: