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Idaho Church To Buy St. Mary's Radio Station
Lexington Park, MD - 5/16/2012
By Dick Myers
An Idaho church has applied to purchase a St. Mary’s County non-commercial, religious radio station. Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls applied last week with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to purchase WGWS (88.1, St. Mary’s City) from Calvary Baptist Church of Lexington Park for $57,000.
Calvary Baptist Church Pastor Sam Ruckman said the station had become a financial and personal burden and he was disappointed he was not able to raise more money to operate it. Early last week the FCC announced the church was given temporary authority to take the station off the air due to the financial situation.
The church station originally went on the air with low power and then secured a tower site in Dameron and began broadcasting at 1100 watts. Pastor Ruckman, after the station went on the air from its Dameron tower site, applied for a translator on 88.7, and that translator continues on the air and to be operated by Calvary Baptist Church.
The translator on 88.7 rebroadcasts programming of Fundamental Broadcasting Network (FBN), which is operated by Grace Baptist Church of Newport, NC. That church was founded in the 1970s by Pastor Clyde Eborn. Their radio network began in 1988 and is now on 36 stations and translators in 14 states.
According to Pastor Ruckman, the translator on 88.7, which has the call letters W201CG, is operating at 38 watts and has a construction permit for 55 watts. That increase in power will require a new transmitter, which the pastor said TBN has agreed to pay for. The translator can be heard clearly in the Lexington Park and California area and into Leonardtown and Hollywood.
Pastor Ruckman said their programming is well received “People listen to it all the time,” he said, noting he has had comments from residents of Cedar Lane Apartments saying what a blessing it is.
W201CG broadcasts from a site on Pegg Road behind the former church building of Calvary Baptist Church. That building was sold to another church and Calvary Baptist Church currently meets at Home Town Realty Center at 22196 Three Notch Road in Lexington Par.
Calvary Baptist Chapel of Twin Falls was founded in the late 1970s. According to their website, the church is home to two radio networks, CSN International and the Effect. The former “broadcasts Bible teaching and praise/worship music while the Effect plays the best of Christian rock music.”
Mike Stocklin, church CEO, said they own 35 full-time stations and 406 translators. He said they were happy to be in Maryland and learned about the station being for sale through a broker. The station will rebroadcast their CSN International Network, which Stocklin describes as a mainstream conservative Christian talk format. They will do no local programming, which will require a waiver from the FCC> Stocklin anticipates being up and running in about 60 days.
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