Christian radio expands deep into Alaska

By October 27, 2004

USA (MNN) — God’s Word will soon be going deeper into the heart of one state in the United States. The I AM Radio Network is growing again in the state of Alaska. KAGV (AM) will be on the air by early December, serving the Houston/Big Lake area of the Matanuska-Susitna Valley in Alaska’s farm belt. Broadcasting at 1110 KHz with a power of 10,000 watts, KAGV will reach a potential listening audience of about 400,000 people including both the residents of Anchorage, Alaska’s most populous city, and the largest concentration of First Alaskans in the state.

KAGV joins sister stations KIAM (AM), at the network headquarters in Nenana, and KYKD (FM), in Bethel. In addition, five translators serve small remote communities and construction permits have been granted for eleven more. Applications are pending for an additional eleven and, when all these translators are on the air, the network will encompass up to 80 percent of Alaska’s population.

The I AM Radio Network is the principal outreach of Voice for Christ Ministries (VFCM), founded in 1980. It’s based in Nenana, originally a small native village southwest of Fairbanks but now a rustic town of about 500 people.

Prayer is needed for the network as there are never enough workers, never enough dollars, and never enough spare parts to maintain what are often aging hand-me-down transmitters and other essential equipment, but somehow by the grace of God the Word goes forth, a radio voice in the wilderness targeting many tiny villages and remote settlements and preparing the way for the Lord in the hearts and minds of Alaskans.

VFCM is a non-profit organization supported almost entirely by donations. All the work is done by volunteers or missionaries who bring their own support with them. Visitors to the headquarters in Nenana are immediately aware that what money comes in goes into getting out the message of the Gospel, not into big salaries or impressive buildings. A pioneer can-do attitude prevails, and prayers for God’s wisdom and provision are not perfunctory, but an essential foundation for everything else.

For many people in Alaska’s remote trapper cabins, fish camps, and tiny isolated villages, radio is still the only point of contact with the outside world. This has led to some unique programming, such as Mukluk segments (heard three time daily) in which people may record messages for broadcast to friends and family in remote areas, a kind of voice mail tailored to the wilderness lifestyle of the far north.

VFCM also uses its mission aircraft to reach listeners in remote areas and bring the Good News firsthand. Founder Bob Eldridge was a pastor and pilot with a call to reach the interior villages of Alaska before catching the vision for a radio outreach.

Pray that many will catch the vision for this outreach and that funding will be available to help the ministry reach more people with the Gospel.

MORE INFO: 907-832-5426 OR alaskaradio@vfcm.org

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