The voice to radio is born.
You hear the word "Grace" an
Jon Holder is "the voice" and,
WGRW, 90.7 on the FM dial, is "Grace" ... as in "Grace
The voice isn't heard all that much, even
though it belongs to the station's general manager.
But it can jump-start your mornings,
Monday through Friday, when Holder hosts "Grace in The
Morning," 30 minutes of weather, interviews and whatever notes of
interest to the "Grace" audience may cross his desk.
"We talk people in to work and to
school with something that's local and Christian, something uplifting
and positive," says Holder.
Pausing for a second, Holder adds,
"The main thing is you're not going to hear anything that's
objectionable on this station."
Which brings to fore the source of 85
percent of the station's programming. It comes from the Moody
Broadcasting Network, a Chicago-based operation that originates and
feeds Christian talk, teaching, music and news to stations nationwide
... and beyond.
"Moody is the largest and most
conservative network in the country," says Holder.
Monday's "Grace in The Morning"
was unusual in that it was taped Friday. That was the only time the
guest, Peter LaLonde, was available. LaLonde is the producer of the new
Christian movie, "Left Behind," which opened at the Quintard
Mall this past weekend.
Eric Alexander, one of the world's noted Bible teachers, on the air
in the Grace Radio Studios recently with Jon Holder. Dr.
Alexander is one of many guests that drop in on Grace In The Morning
weekdays at 7:30.
"It's probably going to be the
biggest Christian movie ever made," says Holder. To land the
producer was a pretty big deal for the local station.
"We look for Christian guests for
the morning show," says Holder. "At least once a week, we
bring in a pastor or someone of that nature to talk about their church.
"We try to be an information
station. We try to plug in to people who are into different Christian
ministries in our area. Sometimes it might be a Christian concert or a
seminar, maybe a revival going on. We bring in people to talk about
things like that.
"There's a lot going on in the
Christian community," he adds. "We do a lot of church
announcements. They like that."
Above all, whatever is done, local or
otherwise, the theme is nondenominational.
"The bottom line is we really do
stress to people that we are nondenominational, that we are not
affiliated with any one church. If you are a Christian and believe in
the Bible, you'll find a home here, regardless of denomination."
Holder, who has been in love with radio
since he was a small boy, is not only the station manager, but its only
While the station is just about fully
automated, his days are busy.
After his morning show, Holder gets into
the daily tasks of downloading programs off satellite dishes, from CDs
and from tapes. All of that has to be recorded into the computer in real
time. If a program is 13 minutes, it takes 13 minutes to download.
"I usually take one day a week to do
that," he says. "We can download a week of programming, Monday
Holder also spends a lot of time
representing the station wherever the opportunity presents itself. He
didn't say as much, but the PR work may have a little to do with not
only building WGRW's audience, but its financial support as well.
"We are a nonprofit station,"
says Holder. "That's our charter; that's our license. We are
totally listener supported. We depend on contributions from our
listeners, from whomever."
The station is the brainchild of Aaron
Acker, who is also the president of Acker Electric. The station's studio
is in Acker Electric's offices.
"Word Works Inc. owns the
station," says Holder. "Aaron is Word Works' president. He
first started working on the station in 1992."
Holder went to work for the station at
the beginning of construction, with "Grace Radio" airing its
initial broadcast June 30, 1999.
For Holder, 30, the station is a career.
He sees himself here 10 years from now, 20 years from now.
"This is the best of both worlds for
me," says Holder, a committed Christian. "Number one is, it's
a ministry. Number two is, I'm able to work in radio, my first love.
"Being able to work for the Lord and
still work in radio is the best of both worlds for me. And you couldn't
ask for a better person to work for than Aaron Acker. There has not been
a single day since I've been here that I've dreaded coming to work. A
lot of people can't say that."
There was one final thought from Holder.
"I've been blessed much better than
I deserve," he said.
George Smith's column appears Wednesdays,
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. He can be reached at 235-9207 or