An AM radio station that once had a long tradition of serving the central Ohio black community has been reborn under a 24-hour gospel-music format.
Pastor Mike Reeves, who operates WVKO (1580 AM), said offerings include music as well as live worship services and inspirational, health-related and call-in programming. He said the station — branded “The Praise” — gives the church community a way to fill some of the spaces from which God has been removed in everyday life.
“The African-American faith community has been left with a void, without a voice,” he said. ” We’ve been able to fill that void. … And every day another miracle happens, and I know we’re in the right place at the right time.”
WVKO was a presence in the black community for four decades before filing for bankruptcy protection in 2005 and going silent the following year. It re-emerged in 2007, offering Spanish-language content, then progressive talk.
St. Gabriel Catholic Radio began leasing the frequency in late 2008, leaving in 2011 after buying Ohio State University’s AM station for $2 million. Progressive talk returned for most of 2012.
Chris McMurray, president of Bernard Radio, said the gospel format started in December. Bernard Ohio LLC is the station’s owner and licensee, and Reeves is its operator under a time-brokerage agreement, she said.
Reeves is pastor of Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church on the East Side, where he has served for 37 years. At age 63, he said, he had been looking toward retirement but instead realized, ” You’re not done yet, buddy. You have something else to do.”
Source: The Columbus Dispatch | JoAnne Viviano