Approximately 75 people, including clergy from the Sault and other parts of northern Ontario, local church members, radio station volunteers and politicians attended a luncheon Wednesday at the Delta Hotel to mark the launch of CJTK 106.5 FM, the Sault’s first Christian radio station.
Broadcasting officially started at 1 p.m.
U.S.-based Christian radio networks have reached the Sault for several years, but CJTK (Christ Jesus The King), is a radio station which will, for now, pipe in Canadian Christian programming from KFM’s home station in Sudbury (The ‘K’ for King) as a ‘repeater’ station.
It is anticipated local programming, including performances by Sault Christian musicians as well as live, locally produced Christian-oriented talk shows, will follow.
The Sault’s Bill and Brenda Ansley act as volunteer CJTK station managers.
“It’s different because of the inspirational and motivational content,” Brenda Ansley told SooToday.
Part of KFM’s mission, Ansley explained, is to reach people who longer attend a Christian church and spiritually restore those who have been hurt.
The local radio group has no paid employees (yet), operating with the help of approximately 30 volunteers.
“We’re really excited with the team that has committed to help,” Ansley said.
“We have a passion and desire to see lives changed and see God glorified and to lift Jesus high. We have no intention to boast of ourselves but to speak of our Lord, His grace, His mercy and His love,” Bill Ansley said, quoting KFM’s mission statement.
“It’s family friendly,” said CJTK volunteer Peggy Webb.
“You can listen to the music with your family without hearing about violence, suggestiveness, anything that’s detrimental to a healthy society. This is promoting caring, caring about our youth, caring about the sick, caring about people who need help, its about taking care of each other in the community.”
“There’s such a drug problem out there, too much suggestiveness, there are so many people who are down and out, and this is about helping them get out of that down and out spot.”
“It’s about hope on the airwaves. It’s about radio for a better life,” said Peggy’s husband and volunteer Bill Webb.
The theme presented by clergy at Wednesday’s luncheon and launch was one of cooperation between the many groups within Christendom to bring about a positive message for the community.
“What we’ve seen here today at this luncheon is really reflective of the heart and soul of KFM, bringing the community together to do good things, to say good things to one another, to help those who are less fortunate, to be a positive voice in Sault Ste. Marie,” said Curtis Belcher of Sudbury, who, along with his wife Shelley, established the KFM network.
“This is really what KFM is all about, bringing people together with a message of hope and a message of love.”
“Local Christian radio is important because it has the power and potential to knit a Christian community together. We’re always stronger together than we are apart, so today’s launch of Christian radio is the beginning of a new knitting and network of faith for the people of Sault Ste. Marie and the surrounding regions,” said Jeremy Mahood, pastor of Sudbury’s All Nations Church, one of several keynote speakers Wednesday.
Belcher invited the Sault’s Christian community to come forward with programming ideas for CJTK, such as churches sharing stories of their various ministries and for individuals to share personal testimonies of faith.
“We’ve seen God reach into the hearts and homes of people, in the most desperate situations you could imagine, such as people suffering from domestic violence, with nowhere to turn,” Belcher said.
“Jesus loves every single one of them, and God has put a prayer team together that can answer their calls 24 hours a day no matter what kind of situation they’re in.”
That toll free prayer line number, along with a wealth of other information about CJTK and KFM, is available on KFM’s website
Mahood presented Bill and Brenda Ansley with a $5,000 donation, from Sudbury’s All Nations Church, for CJTK’s operating expenses Wednesday.
CJTK’s Sault office/studio is located at 134 Northern Avenue East.
An open house for the public will be held at CJTK’s office and studio at 134 Northern Avenue East Monday Oct. 2 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Programming includes KFM’s light-hearted Breakfast Club crew, a variety of Christian music, content for French and Finnish audiences, children’s programming and syndicated programs from Christian teachers such as Charles Stanley, Adrian Rogers and James Dobson.
Apart from its home base in Sudbury, KFM is already on the air in communities including Timmins, North Bay and Elliot Lake.
In addition to its new presence in the Sault, KFM has been granted licenses to broadcast in several other locations throughout northern Ontario, including New Liskeard, Englehart, Iroquois Falls, Hearst, Kirkland Lake and Kapuskasing.
“We’re trying to close the gap so that people, when they’re travelling, can hear KFM,” Brenda Ansley said.
The network is financially supported by its listeners.
CJTK 106.5 FM, members of its local crew said, should be able to reach Goulais River in the north, St. Joseph Island to the east, and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and other parts of the Upper Peninsula to the south.
The Sault Christian radio group applied for permission to the CRTC to broadcast in Oct. 2016, the license granted in June 2017.
“It was really fast. I think it’s going to grow fairly quickly,” Bill Ansley said.
Sault Mayor Christian Provenzano joined church leaders in the official ribbon cutting ceremony marking the launch of CJTK 106.5 FM, hailing the radio station’s message of hope as much-needed in a community which has seen its share of hard knocks.
“It’s been a challenging couple of years in our community, but I feel the community’s turning a corner because I’ve been to a lot more events like this recently than I have been dealing with other challenges.”
“As the mayor of the community I’d like to thank you for the contributions you’re making to make it a great place to live,” he told CJTK and KFM.