Growing up in Midwestern farm country, I spent most of my childhood in rural Sikeston, Missouri, between the soybean fields of the bootheel halfway between Memphis and St. Louis. Other little kids were playing cops and robbers or kickball. But my favorite way to pass the time was to pretend I was a radio DJ. I loved listening to faraway stations from places like Chicago and New York City. I was fascinated at how I could hear them wirelessly on my small radio hundreds of miles away.
Since money was scarce as a kid I worked at a mini golf course to save enough money to buy my own radio, which I still have. Eventually I got a job working at a rock station and then moved to country music radio. There were very few, if any, Christian music stations then, but I always dreamed of helping to start one.
Later on, I married my sweetheart, Nelline Perry. (She also works here at HIS Radio as office manager!) I’d always felt a call to full-time ministry so I went to Bible College to study to be a pastor, but I couldn’t escape the call on my life to work in Christian radio. I was working part-time at KLFJ, a new Christian station in Springfield during college and then full time after graduation.
After graduating in 1979, Jim Campbell, founder of WCIE in Lakeland, FL came and spoke at a media conference in Springfield. I was only at the conference because my boss at KLFJ didn’t want to go and said, “why don’t you just go?” Jim talked about starting WCIE and then said, “we’re starting a new station in Greenville, SC and we’re looking for staff.” I knew instantly that this was the opportunity I had been praying for. Even though I had no idea where Greenville actually was! I got out my old Rand McNally Atlas (that was before the internet) to see where in the world Greenville was located.
Amazing how God leads us. Had my boss not told me to go to that conference, I would not have met Jim Campbell and known there was a new opportunity in Greenville. Nell and I loaded up the two cats and a U-Haul truck and moved sight unseen to Greenville in spite of the fact that many people were questioning our decision. That was 35 years ago.
Using a converted house that was donated by Christian Assembly of Greenville, WLFJ/HIS Radio started broadcasting in 1983. We played artists like Sandi Patti, Amy Grant and Petra (which sound quite different than the artists you hear today!) In the beginning we took in about 1,000 calls a month. Now our Prayer Line can receive that many calls in a day! In 1990 I stepped into the role of General Manager, and in 2010 we added HIS Radio Praise, our 24-hour-a-day alternate format, which I program and host on Sunday mornings. Over the years Nell and I have raised our beautiful daughter Amber, and welcomed her husband Daniel and two grandchildren, Eva and Samuel.
Throughout our more than three decades of ministry our mission has never wavered: to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love the fact that we can help bring the body of Christ together on the common ground of sharing the Gospel. I feel that radio is the most intimate form of communication ever created, just listen to members of the HIS Radio family share their stories and you’ll see what I mean! It’s a one-on-one conversation with the listener. As we broadcast, we multiply the message to so many people who are searching for help and hope.