Editor's Note: This year, NRB will be recognizing a record number of organizations with the NRB Milestone Award, which is presented each year at the annual NRB Convention in recognition of pioneers in Christian communications who have demonstrated exemplary service in the industry for five decades or more. In each weekly edition of NRB Today leading up to the NRB 2013 Convention & Exposition, one of this year's honorees will be spotlighted. This week, we recognize KGLE-AM, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. Here is their story:
The Christian radio station KGLE was born out of a local revival according to testimony given by one of the early organizers. The need for a local station broadcasting the Gospel message to Eastern Montana and Western North Dakota was obvious but it seemed that the vision did not come into full focus until after a series of meetings in Glendive, MT, conducted by an associate of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in the early 1960s. It was after these meetings that the project began to move from dream to reality.
On August 22, 1962, KGLE AM 590 originally signed on the air as a commercial AM station under the guidance of Mr. Harold Erickson. Erickson had helped to get a couple of other stations on the air and it was for him another step of faith to pursue this project.
Thankfully, the Lord provided each need.
The station building and tower were located on donated land to the west of Glendive, and the project benefited from much local support and help from area Christians. It initially signed on at 500 watts and was granted authorization a number of years later to increase their daytime power to 1000 watts. Until the fall of 1992, KGLE operated as a part of the Christian Enterprise Network, always with an emphasis on delivering quality Christian programming to the area. In 1992, the network felt it could no longer afford to operate the station because of the economic downturn in Eastern Montana at that time, and decided to either sell KGLE to a local listener-group or allow it to “go dark” at the end of that October if a local buyer was not found.
The determination of KGLE’s listeners to rescue their station was immediate. A planning meeting was organized at a local church and the building was packed with area listeners who came to demonstrate their enthusiastic support. They were determined to keep KGLE on the air, broadcasting Good News across Eastern Montana and Western North Dakota. The corporation Friends of Christian Radio, Inc. (FCR) was quickly organized and, in faith, listeners took up the challenge of purchasing the station.
Generous personal gifts and unique fundraising efforts, including a grain convoy, helped to raise the money for the purchase price and the station’s initial operation under the auspices of FCR. The Lord’s leading and blessing was evident and sufficient funds were raised ahead of the designated deadline.
Friends of Christian Radio officially assumed ownership of KGLE on February 1, 1993. Since that time, the Lord has blessed the efforts of FCR, and their listeners have faithfully supported the ministry with their prayers and gifts. KGLE’s programming has maintained its Christ-centered focus and includes a variety of Christian music and teaching programs, along with news, weather and agricultural reports appropriate for area listeners. Since 2009, KGLE has also been streaming its programming online.
KGLE has, through the years, also sponsored local concerts, participated in community events and has initiated summer projects to get kids and others involved in ministry efforts. These have included providing mosquito nets for Africa, personal care packages for our troops, and sending shoes to orphans.
Last year, KGLE celebrated 50 years of broadcasting, giving God the glory for all that had been accomplished to date.
The station’s mission has remained the same over these years: to be a tool in the hand of the Lord Jesus to encourage and instruct God’s people, His Church, and to challenge others to come to faith in Christ. As the Lord enables, KGLE will continue to broadcast the life-giving message of our risen Savior across the Northern Plains and beyond until He returns.
Published: January 24, 2013