In Memoriam: Stuart W. Epperson, Sr.

NRB | July 20, 2023 | Member News

On July 17, 2023, trailblazing Christian and conservative broadcaster, Stuart W. “Stu” Epperson, Sr., went to be with the Lord at the age of 86.

“Stu’s contributions to the field of Christian broadcasting cannot be overstated,” said NRB President & CEO Troy A. Miller. “He touched countless lives with his unwavering commitment to Christian communications excellence and using the airwaves to advance the truth. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his loved ones and to the Salem Media family at this time.”

Hailing from Ararat, Virginia, Epperson spent his formative years on a tobacco farm, where he was first exposed to the captivating world of radio. Surrounded by a family immersed in the industry, with his father establishing radio stations in Virginia and his brother, Ralph, overseeing a station in Mount Airy, his passion for broadcasting blossomed. Epperson eagerly honed his skills at his brother’s station, which fueled his ambition to pursue higher education and gain expertise in the field.

An alumnus of Bob Jones University, Epperson earned an undergraduate degree in radio/television broadcasting and a master’s degree in communications. In 1961, Epperson made his initial foray into the radio industry by acquiring his inaugural station situated in Roanoke, Virginia. Epperson married his wife, Nancy, whom he had met at Bob Jones University, in 1963. Together, they embarked on a new chapter by relocating to Winston-Salem, where Epperson owned and operated WKBX as a country-and-western station until it was sold in 1976.

In 1974, driven by a vision to set new standards for excellence in Christian communications and media, Epperson partnered with his brother-in-law, Edward Atsinger III, to establish Salem Communications (now known as Salem Media Group). Their pioneering efforts resulted in the creation of a media powerhouse that has since flourished. As co-founder and most recently chairman emeritus of Salem Media Group, America’s leading multimedia company specializing in Christian and conservative content, Epperson impacted listeners from New York to California through conservative Christian talk and teaching on Salem’s various media outlets. Today, Salem’s diverse media offerings reach millions through broadcast, digital media, and publishing platforms.

“Stuart will be greatly missed by many. I will miss him, but I take comfort in realizing that he is already receiving his reward for a life well-lived,” said Atsinger, Salem’s Executive Chairman. “A life that personifies the words of the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7-8: ‘I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.’”

Epperson was involved with various conservative organizations committed to safeguarding the cultural heritage of Christian values through strategic public policy initiatives. In 1984 and 1986, Epperson was the Republican nominee for the fifth Congressional district of North Carolina. He was a member and the past president of the Council for National Policy (CNP). In 2005, TIME magazine noted Epperson as one of America’s 25 most influential evangelicals.

In addition to his broadcasting endeavors, Epperson dedicated his time to charitable and humanitarian pursuits through the work of the Winston-Salem Rescue Mission, Salem Pregnancy Care Center, the Christian Association of Youth Mentoring, and various other ministries.

Epperson’s involvement with NRB spans across the decades, including lengthy tenures on the NRB Executive Committee and Board of Directors and membership in the President’s Council. Epperson played a key role in the formation of NRBTV, where he served as chairman for seventeen years.

In 2009, Epperson was inducted into the NRB Hall of Fame. The NRB Hall of Fame stands as a witness for today’s Christian communicators—a showcase of warriors for Christ who live exemplary lives of valor and compassion, blazing trails and leaving paths for succeeding generations to follow. The Hall of Fame award is NRB’s most prestigious award and is presented to an individual NRB member for invaluable contribution to the field of Christian communications, exhibition of the highest standards, and evidence of faithfulness in Christ. Salem Media Group has been an NRB member since 1977.

A celebration of Epperson’s life will be held Friday, July 21 at 3:00 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church on Peace Haven Road in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The family would be honored to receive guests at 1:00 p.m. More information is available here.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Delmarva Educational Association, a non-profit outreach started by Epperson to continue supporting his many ministry passions. The mailing address is: 7235 Bentley Road, Jacksonville, FL 32256 or online:

The NRB family pays tribute to a pioneering Christian broadcaster and commemorates Epperson’s legacy of steadfast Christian service.

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