Dear Reader of WelchOK.com,
We have loved what we have been able to do with WelchOK.com. When we moved back to town, several years ago now, I launched WelchOK.com to help fill the media void we have. Towns around us have newspapers and radio stations, but Welch just isn’t on their radar much (unless there’s a bloody murder or something). I’ve done what I could to be some local media. At times I’ve been better at it than others. And as some of you close to me know, I’ve just not really felt great the last couple years.
All that changed Dec. 7, 2016. We’ve not been really public about it, but I had a gastric bypass on Pearl Harbor Day (a date which, for me, now lives in infamy for two reasons). My weight was becoming such a detriment to me that my blood pressure was really high, and I just couldn’t handle the way the meds made me feel. Everything just made me feel like a slug who couldn’t get around and do anything. Not to mention, putting on my shoes made me break a sweat, walking upstairs to bed was a chore, and just carrying around this huge carcass was taking a hefty toll on my feet, legs, knees, and back. So, we made the decision that the mini gastric bypass was right for me. Since my surgery, I’m feeling great. My BP has normalized. I have lost 30 lbs., and they are pounds I’ll never see again, unlike the those I’ve lost before, which always came back and brought friends with them. And so, I’m feeling much better, I have a bit more vim and vigor than I’ve had in a long while. That led me to jump back into a project I had neglected.
Back in 2014, I shared the news that we had formed a non-profit organization, sought a license to put a low-power FM (LPFM) station in Welch, and had been successfully awarded a constriction permit (CP) by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Unfortunately, life and my not feeling great got in the way of pursuing that project. Now that I’m feeling better, I am happy to report that I have secured the financing to get the station started. It’ll be lots of hard work for the next two weeks, but I am determined to have us on the air by our deadline. We’re placing big orders for equipment, constructing a studio, and getting it all put together in hopes of better serving the northern part of Craig County with a unique, interesting, God-fearing, America-loving, locally focused radio station that will broadcast both over the air at 94.7 FM and stream online here at WelchOK.com.
This is going to be a great opportunity for us as a community. Think of what it’s like in severe weather. The low, thick clouds take our satellite TV away, and no radio station is gonna talk about Welch until after a disaster happens. Now imagine what it will be like when we’re on the air, working in tandem with the Welch Volunteer Fire Dept. We’ll be able to provide real-time weather information and emergency instructions. And that’s just the beginning.
We’ve loved bringing you audio of Welch Wildcat sports on WelchOK.com. Now our goal is to bring you even more live audio coverage. And things important to our people, like ag news and market reports. Plus, the value of arts and culture.
People have asked, What are you gonna play on the station? The short answer is a little bit of everything. My vision is to build a community radio station, which means it will reflect the people who make up our end of Craig County. We’re country music, western swing, red dirt, classic rock, cowboy music, Americana, folk, rockabilly, standards-loving people. So you’ll hear a little of that during music times. I don’t have a great single word to describe it, so I guess I’m gonna have to borrow from my KITO days and call it Countrypolitan radio. We’ll also have some talk programming to educate and edify you. But the most important thing is that I want as much localism on the air as possible. We’ll talk about town council and school board meetings. We’ll interview some of the amazing locals who live right here. We’ll discuss matters of faith and religion, and we’ll do it kindly and respectfully. We’ll be a family-friendly station that you don’t have to worry about your kids listening to. We’ll be a safe place doing what radio was meant to do in a sea of radio stations that are run by a computer and/or feed by a satellite dish out of Dallas and have virtually no localism at all.
I’m a bivocational pastor, so why not make it a “Christian” station? That depends on what you mean by Christian. No, we’re not going to play all Christian music and Christian programming all the time. However, we will serve our neighbors, Christian or not, by providing a new community resource that enriches everyone’s lives. And, for the record, we will have Christian content, and everything we do well be rooted in a Christian worldview and ethic. I’m all for Christian radio, but I am interested in creating, for us, a small town radio station that reflects our people, our values, and our faith. And honestly, some people get more spiritually from Johnny Cash’s “Kneeling Drunkard’s Plea” than they do from Hillsong United.
Way back in 1994, Cal Thomas wrote:
“For too long, traditional Christians have been comfortable in their own cultural catacombs. They have their own radio and television stations, their own publishing companies, their own magazines and bookstores, their own jargon. They need to come back into the mainstream and win back the culture and the nation by the superior power of their ideas.
“They ought to be debating at Harvard — even teaching at Harvard. They should be good enough at their craft to work in network television. They should be publishing books with mainstream publishers. They should be demonstrating with their lives, as well as their voices, why their ideas are better than those now holding sway in America.”And that’s just what we intend to do. We’re gonna be a community radio station from a Christian worldview, and I think you’re going to love it. I promise, it won’t be like any other radio station you’ve ever heard. We’re gonna have fun, we’re gonna reason together, we’re gonna talk and sing and debate, and it’s gonna be something you want to listen to. That’s my goal anyway.
So, what else do you need to know?
- The station is owned and will be operated by the non-profit, Voice of Welch Communications, Inc. Being non-profit simply means that no one is taking the income of the station as a profit. It does not mean that we cannot pay salaries, etc. And that is my goal. I hope we’re able to train enough people that we have the station staffed with a real live person 24 hours a day. It might take us a while to get there, but I think we can make it happen. We are an Oklahoma non-profit corporation. We will be seeking our 501(c)(3) designatio0n from the IRS within days.
- Our frequency is 94.7 FM, and our call sign is KVWO-LP. Way back in the day, KVOO in Tulsa was a powerhouse flamethrower, and KVOO stood for the Voice of Oklahoma. In that same spirit, and as an homage to that great history, we are KVWO, the Voice of Welch, Oklahoma. But if you don’t live in Welch proper, don’t fret. We intend to serve you, too, especially our friends in Bluejacket. The beauty of having the small station we do is that we can make it all about us.
- We’ll need your help. Jeane and I personally funded all the advance work, engineering, and paying of the consultants to get the application filed, etc. We simply cannot fund the station as we go on the air. Yes, we’ll contribute. I promise you I’ll have a lot of blood and sweat in it. But it is community radio, and we’re going to need your help. You’re the most generous people I know, so I feel very confident that you will rise to the challenge and help us make it work. Some of you have the ability to give large amounts, and we’ll definitely appreciate what you can give (and you can choose to be recognized on the air or not). But like most things, we’ll get this done if everyone does a little. If everyone who liked our Facebook page gave just $30, we’d be done fundraising for the year. And so, we’ll have to ask for your help, and it’s not always easy for me to do that. My goal is to create a radio station that you find so valuable that you will want to help pay the bills. We’ll have more about ways to contribute later.
- How can we make money if we’re non-profit? Non-profit does not mean you don’t have revenue. It simply means no one is taking the income home as profit. Funds raised must be invested in the purpose of the station. That means buying better and more reliable equipment, producing programming that is meaningful to you, developing training programs for youth and adults who would like to learn the craft of radio, and it means being able to pay wages to those who invest their time serving you on the air.
- Will we sell advertising? No. As a non-commercial station we cannot sell advertising (there is an exception for other non-profits). Non-commercial stations do something called underwriting announcements. What’s the difference? It’s very subtle. While we cannot say, “Bob’s burgers are the best burgers in the county. Stop by Bob’s Burgers today and pick up the super, double, bacon monster combo for the insane price of $3.99,” but we can, in recognition of your contribution, announce, “This portion of our broadcast day is brought to you by Bob’s Burgers, home of the super, double, bacon monster combo. Bob’s Burgers is located at 123 Main Street, online at www.superdoublebaconmonster.com, and their telephone number is 918-555-1212. We appreciate Bob’s Burgers and their support of community radio on KVWO.” See? The differences are subtle. Contributing to KVWO is a great way to support a great new community resource, get a tax deduction, and get visibility for your business, goods, or services. Many local businesses don’t advertise on radio because it’s just too expensive and most large stations reach far beyond their service area. With KVWO, underwriting will be a great and affordable way to make your business’s marketing dollars go a long, long way, and your underwriting announcements will be heard by people who realistically could be your customer or client.
- How can you help? Several ways. Of course, we’re always going to need generous donors and underwriters. There will be times we can use volunteer labor. And, yes, I’ll be looking for folks to be on the air. Dave Boyd at KITO was very generous to train me to do radio when I was 16. I look forward to doing the same. And, you can donate music. If you have old CDs or even vinyl records around, we’d love to make them part of our library. Just please make sure they’re in good condition. We’re going t be very musically eclectic, so we’ll take lots, though we’re not really in the market for rap, hip hop, and modern country that all sounds alike (i.e., bro country). If it has fiddles, steel guitars, and things like that, bring it on.
I think that’s enough for now. I’ve been waiting for year to make this announcement, and I am glad I finally can!
In the coming days, you will begin to see some changes here on WelchOK.com. I own WelchOK.com, but I will be donating it to Voice of Welch Communications, Inc., so it will work in tandem with KVWO. We’ll be working on incorporating KVWO into WelchOK.com, and our site address will not change.
We’ll keep you updated on our progress and, as soon as possible, announce when we’ll be on the air. It’s gonna be stupendous!
Your intrepid publisher and executive editor,