Thursday afternoon, January 26, 1 p.m., Gospel Light Church Sanctuary. The first broadcast. The National Anthem. On the air. David Gehman and his parents, the Rev. Martin and Vernie Gehman, at the microphones.
And a new radio station was born – WGYJ-LP (We Give You Jesus), 93.5 FM.
The Gehman family is not new to radio, having worked with Tom and Ernestine Miniard at WATM, and having their own station, WASG.
This new station, which is a ministry of Gospel Light Church where Rev. Gehman pastors, will be called The Light.
Behind it all is the late Dale Gehman, who passed away last November. This was his vision, his dream. He picked out the call letters – WGYJ.
On the air Wednesday, Rev. and Mrs. Gehman talked about Dale, whose picture hangs on the side of the radio equipment.
“We are doing this in memorial to our son’s memory – Randy Dale Gehman,” Rev. Gehman said.
Mrs. Gehman, who was teary, said, “It’s hard for me to say anything when I’m looking at my son who died. He was a Christian and wanted to do anything for the Lord.”
The low power (LP) station will serve only the immediate area, and it’s non-commercial.
“We are thrilled to see God bring this together,” Rev. Gehman said. “We’re leaning upon God’s people to support and encourage this. The burden is heavy … We are thrilled to death. ‘We Give You Jesus.’ He must be central. This avenue has been so beautifully opened up … We want to put Atmore on the map … and uphold the Lord. We covet your support and we covet your prayers.”
David thanked several individuals and businesses who helped get the station going, among them, Scott Johnson, Mayor Jim Staff, Wilbur Goforth and William Brad Arnold with Power 88 Radio, Huxford Pole and Timber, Ellis Beachy with Escofab, Vince Johnson and Raymond Wiggins with Southern Pine, GH Systems.
The programming format will be all Christian, news and weather, gospel music. Don’t be surprised to hear programs that might sound a bit like the days of WATM. David said they hope to replicate the Miniards’ “What’s Going On” program. Mom and Pop’s Suppertime Gospel is already on the air at 5 p.m. And there may be some elements from WASG, the station the Gehmans owned.
“People have an idea of what WASG was,” David said. “This will be somewhat the same but different. That was commercial. This is a ministry.”