EDMOND—kpcg marks its first anniversary today, thousands of broadcast hours after the FM station switched on. The radio antenna atop the Philadelphia Church of God Mail Processing Center and the Internet live stream at kpcg.fm have carried the voices of dozens of pcg staff, students and members across town and around the world.
Listeners from India to Australia, the Philippines to Canada, Germany to Nigeria and many nations in between have heard the efforts of roughly 50 audio editors, scriptwriters, newsreaders, guest presenters, guest panelists, interviewees and show hosts.
For almost all of these contributors, stepping into a radio studio is a foreign experience. For station manager Dwight Falk, it’s a little different. Falk, who supervises kpcg operations, has prior experience at 95.5 wifc in Wisconsin; his former supervisor there now serves as programming director for all country music in the U.S. for iHeartMedia, a multi-billion dollar company.
Falk says that the programming on KPCG has improved since it first began with radio versions of Key of David programs sprinkled among long blocks of classical music.
“The two biggest things we’ve accomplished are being consistent in our programming schedule—reliable software keeping us on air 24/7 with few exceptions for weather problems, and adding additional programming,” Falk said. “We have some sort of original programming at some point each hour, as opposed to just running music for hours at a time.”
kpcg now airs eight original shows, filling 16 hours of airtime per week, excluding replays: The Key of David, Trumpet Daily Radio Show, Trumpet Hour, Music for Life, Live by Every Word, Trumpet Radio Live, Just the Best Literature and The Sun Also Rises, along with two segments, Ambassador for Peace and The Joys of Health. Of these, Trumpet Daily Radio Show airs live along with Trumpet Radio Live.
“I think live programs have an energy that is hard to duplicate in pre-recorded programs,” Falk, who also hosts Trumpet Radio Live, said. “The listener can develop a certain personal attachment to people that they listen to at a certain time every day.”
Host Jeremiah Jacques said his first experience on kpcg live made him “equal parts terrified and humbled.” He was filling in for presenter Stephen Flurry on Trumpet Daily Radio Show. “I spent many hours researching and preparing for it,” he said. “When I saw how much time it took for me to prepare one little episode, it gave me a deeper appreciation for the way Mr. Flurry produces high-quality content for the show five days a week.” Jacques now hosts his own weekly show, The Sun Also Rises.
Key of David presenter Gerald Flurry and Live by Every Word presenter Brian Davis record their programs solo, but the other six recorded and live shows include guests, opening the door for many more individuals to contribute to the pcg’s work in a way most say they never expected.
A group of several staff members contributes by reading top-of-the-hour news updates, but many others have had the opportunity to sit at the kpcg mic as well. Falk has even invited Imperial Academy grade school students onto the air, which local pcg listeners said they enjoyed completely. Just the Best Literature host Dennis Leap has brought Herbert W. Armstrong literature students on to the program to discuss Ernest Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea.
Sophomore Kieren Underwood said that even though it wasn’t live, “that small experience gave me a little perspective on how hard and unforgiving radio can be.”
A mic staring you in the face can cause trepidation, as Trumpet Hour contributor Anthony Chibarirwe said. Of one of his experiences speaking about a Chinese military base in Djibouti, he said, “I remember being so nervous before the show, but after recording, I felt like it was the best show I’d ever been involved in.”
In September, a unique radio project not only brought more new voices in front of the mic, it also explored what life will be like in the World Tomorrow. Trumpet Hour host Joel Hilliker presented a unique Millennial Week in Review program that brought staffers from other departments and even their spouses and children into the studio to act as the fishermen, factory workers, museum curators, doctors, farmers and scientists of a new world.
Maintenance department staff member Charles Wittsell served as the voice actor for a factory worker who converted AK-47 rifles into farming equipment. “I hope it gave the listeners hope—hope for a wonderful future that is soon going to be here,” he said.
For those who may soon get the call to appear on Trumpet Radio, Wittsell offered a bit of advice. “Relax and forget that you are going to be speaking on the air,” he said. “Look at the other people in the room, your friends and coworkers, and just pretend like you are going over a script or having some fun discussing world events with them. If you have a script and are able to read it ahead of time, then read it out loud a few times in a calm way. Then, when you are reading it on air, act like it is just another rehearsal.”
Herbert W. Armstrong College senior Justin Goodearl has been on air more than once. He said that introducing music during a lengthy music segment “was most memorable for me because a few days later, I received Skype messages from people in the Philippines saying that they were excited to hear me on the radio.” He added, “I hope my contribution … shows that the education and opportunities here at AC as a student are literally endless.”
Senior and student body president Joel Hudson-Stewart sat with Falk during Trumpet Radio Live to discuss the college’s Chronology of Bible Prophecy independent study course. He said the experience “was a great opportunity to share college life with the listeners, even in a small way. … My philosophy is to never deny or turn down an opportunity. … I found that focusing completely on speaking to Mr. Falk is the best way to stay calm, collected and relaxed.”
College senior Anya Trietsch, whose normal radio responsibilities involve reading top-of-the-hour news updates and recording weekend voiceovers, has also appeared occasionally on Trumpet Radio Live. Recently, she spoke with Falk about the differences between America and her home country of South Africa.
“Having the opportunity to speak on the radio has helped me a lot with my communication skills,” Trietsch said. “I have learned the importance of speaking slower and simply in order to communicate more clearly.”
Armstrong College assistant music director Mark Jenkins has twice appeared on host Ryan Malone’s Music for Life program—once to talk about using the music of J. S. Bach in piano education, and another time to preview his November 5 My Favorite Jazz concert at Armstrong Auditorium. “We were required to make a radio show in the drama class I took in high school,” he said. “[S]cript writing, recording and all. [I]t was one of my favorite assignments we ever did, so the notion of being on the radio has actually been in my mind for decades.”
Radio guests have not been limited to pcg members living in Edmond or in Edstone, England, where Mr. Stephen Flurry broadcasts from the Church’s regional office. Member Jorg Mardian, a nutritionist and fitness trainer living in British Columbia, Canada, has appeared on Trumpet Hour three times to discuss health. “As a nutritionist, I base my research on a lot of the principles of [Herbert W.] Armstrong, as inspired by God. He wrote copiously on the subject and cut through confusion effortlessly. These principles are timeless and help parse current research and studies. Passing them on to listeners will hopefully help them be inspired to stay healthy in a toxic world. … I had not thought about speaking over the airwaves because of not being HQ based. [I]t taught me that opportunities can come out of nowhere if God wants us to have them.”
Facts and figures after one year of broadcasting
- First week with core programming: May 31-June 5, 2015
- Initial hours of new programming per week: 7
- Current hours of new programming per week: 16
- Initial programs available: 3 (The Key of David, Trumpet Daily Radio Show, Trumpet Hour)
- Current programs available: 8 (The Key of David, Trumpet Daily Radio Show, Trumpet Hour, Music for Life, Live by Every Word, Trumpet Radio Live, Just the Best Literature, The Sun Also Rises)
- Current segments available: 2 (Ambassador for Peace, The Joys of Health)
- Initial hours of non-music content: 60 (including reruns)
- Current hours of non-music content: 100 (including reruns)
- Current programming percentages: (60% content, 40% music)
- Average number of daily live listeners on kpcg.fm: 307
- TuneIn app facts: 663 followers, over 1,600 unique listeners, over 19,600 hours listened
- Soundcloud app facts: over 155,000 total plays in 2016; over 83,000 plays for Trumpet Daily Radio Show; over 35,000 plays for Trumpet Hour
- Total hours on air to date: 8,057