Ever wonder how VCY America came to be? In 2001, Jim Schneider sat down with Vic Eliason to talk about the history of the ministry. Tune in and listen to the continuing miracle of VCY.
JS: Perhaps you’ve recently become acquainted with the VCY ministry or perhaps you’ve been a longtime friend, but wonder “How did it all begin? What were the circumstances surrounding the very earliest beginnings of the VCY America broadcast ministry? What were those milestones along the way?”
It’s our delight to have sharing with us today Mr. Vic Eliason, Vice President and Executive Director of VCY America.
Vic, I’m looking forward to this special recording here to acquaint our listeners with the history behind this ministry.
VE: You’re going to be taxing my memory!
JS: I’d like us to go back to the very beginning, which actually predates radio in 1961. It predates your arrival here in 1959. Vic, as best as your memory can, take us back to the very beginning of the VCY ministry.
VE: Well VCY was previously known in the Milwaukee area, in the very early years. as Youth for Christ. The Youth for Christ movement across the nation was an evangelistic outreach that was sweeping the country and there were groups of young people and servicemen that would come together.
It actually had its beginnings in the 1940s, war time here in the Milwaukee area, sailors used to come up on the on the trains and would be here in the city. They would come up from Great Lakes. There was a group of businessmen, T.E. McCully and others, who had activity going on here then known as Youth for Christ.
However, Youth for Christ and it’s teen ministry, reaching out to kids in high schools, really came together about 1954. It was incorporated here in Milwaukee, a gentleman by the name of Russ Johnson came to be the director here and a group of teenagers had raised some funds, I think it was a total of $500, and they invested this money in support for a YFC director.
In 1954 Russ and a Board of Directors was formed. Russ presented the program and a corporation was formed and it would become known as Milwaukee Youth for Christ
JS: Now Russ was here for a period of time, but it wasn’t too many years later that you entered into the scene. When was your first interaction with Russ Johnson, how was it that you came to Milwaukee?
VE: My first interaction with Russ Johnson was long before we came to Milwaukee. Russ’s father was the sheriff in my hometown up in Cook, Minnesota. As a little kid I grew up in the Cook Baptist Church and of course Adolph Johnson, that was Russ’s dad, was the County Sheriff and Russ was a teacher in daily Vacation Bible School so I had known him as a DVBS teacher and had been in his guidance then.
So many years later when the opportunity came to be invited to be on the staff here of Milwaukee YFC, I was very much excited about this and Russ contacted us in Des Moines and mentioned the fact they needed a Bible club director. In September of 1959, Frieda and I took all of our belongings and cardboard boxes and put them in a U-Haul trailer and headed for Milwaukee.
JS: Now if you came here as a Bible club director, Russ Johnson was still here then as director?
VE: That’s correct, Russ was the executive director of Milwaukee YFC. It was an organization that had – well, I had 20 Bible clubs when I came here in September. My job was to supervise 20 of them. There were a couple of part-time gentlemen who were with us at that time – Bill and Al Thrall – they were part-time directors. There was also Dick Ledwoodson who was a local youth pastor and he also covered some of the beginning clubs, but I had 20. If you could imagine going to 20 Bible clubs every week it was it was an interesting task.
JS: Now all of a sudden the day came when you learned that Russ Johnson was going to be leaving the organization?
VE: About a year or so later, late ‘60 to early ’61, Russ actually felt led to go back to the very city that we’d come from we were in Des Moines, Iowa. I had worked with Youth for Christ in Des Moines. He received a call to go back there and direct Youth for Christ full-time and so when I heard the news it was kind of a disappointment because I was looking forward to working with Russ and this the word was out that in that fall he was going to be leaving
JS: And the board of directors then at that time?
VE: Well, Russ and the board had approached me and said “Would you be willing to be our interim executive director?” I was just 23 years of age at the time and just out of Bible College and had served as an associate pastor in Des Moines and I didn’t really know what an executive director did.
Russ said he would help me and that they would hire another club director to take my place and so I said “Yes, we would be willing to serve as the interim executive director.” That meant there was hope that someone else would come in and take the job.
JS: But that hope never came to be
VE: Well I was interim for about three years, Jim and after three years I mean everything started well you had been going there was a lot of excitement going on even when Russ was here we had exciting things like Clipper trips, Saturday night rallies twice a month, Sunday nights inspirations. There was no lack of activity – I think I was putting on about a thousand miles a month on my car we were excited kids were living for the Lord witnessing on campus. But after Russ left there were other dimensions that began to start to explode as well.
JS: Now before we get into those dimensions, I know there’s a story as well regarding Russ giving you advice before he left and told you that you could call him when you got into certain kinds of trouble?
VE: Yeah, I’ll never forget the first two weeks after Russ left he’d said “Now if you need any help give me a call in Des Moines I’ll be glad to talk to you through some of those things.”
Well I got a phone call from the treasurer Milwaukee is for Christ in there were only three of us on the staff I think the directors salary was $65 a week in the club director got $55 dollars a week our rental on our office was a hundred and twenty dollars a month including heat and electricity and I mean we were running I think our total budget was $1,800 a month and wonderful people I think about two thousand people on the mailing list and a portion of them provided support.
Well after Russ left, the treasurer called me and he said “Vic, we’re eighteen hundred dollars in the red and we have five dollars in the checkbook what do we do?” and yeah I must honestly confess it was one of those things that well I’ll call Russ and so I dialed Russ in Des Moines and I’ll never forget as his cheery voice answered the phone.
I said “Russ, you said that if we needed some advice that we should call you and I did.” and Russ’s response when I told him, I said “We’re $1,800 in the red and we have $5 in the checkbook what do we do?” and in his cheery and kind of sparkly way he said “Get used to it, get used to it” and then he said “No, Vic, what you need to do is fire up the printing press, put out a letter to the investors who supply the funds for VCY (then-YFC) to continue” and so we did.
I will never forget as we went down to the old printing press in the basement which had a spoilage rate of about 20 to 25 percent, I mean the old thing didn’t run really well, but we came out with a letter of appeal.
We folded the letter and put it in the envelopes and prepared it for mailing had it all sorted out and I called the treasurer. I said “We needed $25 for postage.”
I don’t know how to describe his voice but it was not excited. He said, “Well Vic, you remember we only have five dollars in the checkbook.” and so here we were with a mailing ready to go out only $5 in the checkbook and we couldn’t do anything there’s no way would even get the thing out.
Dick Ericsson who was the club director then, and Elaine Olson who was a secretary and myself, we stood there by that table and we had a word of prayer.
“Lord here’s a mailing that we can’t even mail it expresses our need to all of our friends” and by the way we had no radio station then it was just strictly direct mail, we prayed “Lord if you would have your way in supplying the need we would be grateful.”
We finished that prayer and I’ll never forget, it couldn’t have been more than five or 10 minutes, the phone rang and I picked up the phone and there was the voice of an elderly lady. I’ll never forget her name, her name was Mary Eggert. She lived over in West Allis she had been a supporter and a prayer partner for Milwaukee Youth for Christ.
She called and said “Hello, is this Youth for Christ?”
I said “Yes, it is.”
She said, “Could Youth for Christ use some money today?”
My mouth dropped open. I was speechless. I said, “Well ma’am, we just got done praying about a financial need, and here you are calling!”
“Well,” she said, “that’s wonderful! I was praying and God impressed on me that you have a need. I’m too old to bring it down there but if you’ll drive out here to West Allis I have $25 for you.”
That was probably one of the most treasured lessons I ever learned in those early years that God cares about specific needs. We needed $25 to mail that mailing and God provided it in one cash gift from Mary Egerton.
I drove out there, I think my little Nash Rambler was about 6 inches off the ground all the way. carried that money back the mailing went out and God provided the need and I will never forget that as long as I live.
JS: God’s Continuing Miracle, The VCY Story. Vic, what was the actual physical location of the ministry at that time?
VE: 2631 West State Street. It’s just a little bit east of the corner, it’s a four story brick building, still there. The lower storefront on the west side was our office. It was measuring about 20 by 40, it had a half a basement underneath where we had our old beat-up printing press and our office furniture and stuff was all there. We had partitions made of plywood that separated our office. We didn’t need an intercom we just kind of yelled over the top, but that was our office and that was really our do-everything office. We had kids coming in for club meeting, planning, counseling, whatever it was, that was our headquarters.
JS: Vic, now if you were leading a Bible club ministry, and this is the interesting part here, how is it that you ever got involved in radio? The two are so separate from one another – there’s not really a direct link there? What was what was it that that caused you and Milwaukee Youth for Christ at that time to venture into broadcasting?
VE: First of all in the natural would have been insane because we were I was doing everything from going to clubs as I mentioned 20 a week I worked on the bus to the janitorial work they run the printing press and I enjoyed every bit of it. It was a great challenge but I had no idea thinking about this.
Now as a kid I will confess that I had an interest in electronics. When I was a teenager back home in Cook Minnesota, I made a little transmitter that you could transmit up the country phone line a few miles.
JS: That was with FCC Approval?
VE: It didn’t have enough power to warrant FCC approval but it was in up in that country where there was only mooses and bears and a few people, you didn’t have many listeners anyway, but it was an experiment and it worked. I always had an interest in broadcasting but never even had the wildest idea that we should get involved with it then.
But three teenagers came up to me and they said “Vic, could we start a Christian radio program?” And they said one of the kids had a microphone stand, and one of the kids had some LP records, and somebody else had a turntable, and a borrowed tape recorder.
So we accumulated all this stuff and said “Well, the first thing we have to do is create a sample program, because we can’t just go out there and say ‘We’re gonna have a radio program’ – what’s gonna be on it? what’s gonna be the format?”
So we had just rented an apartment (my wife and I) and there was no furniture yet except the bed and the kitchen table. The front room was all carpet and so these kids brought this equipment over. We laid it out on the carpeted floor and lying on the floor (because we had no chairs in the room) we did our first sample program. I think it was a 15-minute program that had some Christian music on it.
The object was to take it around to FM stations and ask if they would carry it for free because we had no money to carry a broadcast. This had to be a public service program or it wouldn’t fly at all.
JS: Were there religious-based radio stations at that time?
VE: None – there were no Christian stations in Milwaukee, much less FM stations. There was only at that time about 3 FM stations. There was no such thing as stereo in those years. I remember the very first time they did a stereo broadcast in Milwaukee – WTMJ-AM carried programming on the AM dial, and then WQFM carried the other channel on the FM station. you turned on two radios and it gave you an idea of what you’d call binaural broadcasting. But there was no stereo separation – it was a very feeble effort but that was Milwaukee in those days.
There was no Christian radio as we know it. No, you prepared this program, you got all excited, you’re going to take this now to FM stations, and we did. We went to the existing FM stations of which there are about three, and each of them was very polite. They listened to our tape, and then said “Well, we can’t make up our mind what time of day that kind of music would fit into,” and so they respectfully declined our offer for this free program.
To be honest with you, we were kind of discouraged, but we came back with our tape and went to the office and put it up on the shelf and said “Well Lord, if you want us to have a Christian radio program then you will have to open the door!”
That door eventually opened at the office five days later. Unbelievable. Five days later we were sitting in our little office there and as I said the partitions were open, so you could hear people talking. 2631 West State Street. I’ll never forget the door opened and a man walked in. I could hear him say to the secretary “Is there anyone here that could use some free airtime?”
Now who would come down to 27th and State? A place which is more of a Bowery than it was a Christian site for broadcasting. There were I think 10 or 11 taverns in one square block, and we were having drunkards falling into the doorway of our office more often than not. It certainly was not a place where someone would look to come and give away free airtime.
But I dashed out of the door of my little cubicle and got up to the front and there I met a gentleman by the name of John Harold Clark. He had come from Atlanta, Georgia. He had worked at radio station WAVO down there. He was a Christian, and he had come to Milwaukee and was selling radio time for a little AM station downtown known as WFOX. They had a sales organization, he was out there selling and that was what he made his living. He said that a new FM station had just started in New Berlin, Wisconsin known as WBON at 107.7 on the dial. It was a brand new radio station. He was moonlighting out there and he was doing a music program or two and as a DJ as well as selling air time on WFOX.
And then he opened his heart to me. He said “I’ve been in Milwaukee, I’m a Christian but the things I’ve been involved with have not been honoring to the Lord. I’m going back to Atlanta, I’m gonna be leaving. I want to get back into a good Bible-preaching Church and get things squared away with the Lord. But this station where I’ve been moonlighting, these people have asked me to do a program on the radio called ‘Sacred Stylings.’ In my heart I don’t feel worthy to do this because my life has not been honoring to the Lord and so I was just driving down the street looking for some Christian organization that might do the job for me, that would take the responsibility for the program because I’m leaving town. I saw your sign and I came in.”
Now Jim, five days earlier the kids are praying “God give us some airtime.”
JS: Also 2631 West State is a long ways away from New Berlin.
VE: Like eight or ten miles, and in a town this size, all I can say is that God must have directed John Harold Clark as he drove down those streets to turn that corner on the State Street, and see that little plastic sign that says “Milwaukee Youth for Christ” and to come in the door and provide an answer to our prayer.
JS: The miracle continues. Vic, what was your reaction when you heard that – what kind of emotion did you face at that time?
VE: I’ll tell you my heart was pounding like crazy after he gave me the business card telling me where to go to the station.
I said “When do we begin?”
He says “Next Monday.”
That was like four or five days from then.
I said “How much time is this?” thinking it was a 1/2 hour program or 15-minute program a week.
“Oh,” he says, “it’s a half hour a day, and an hour on Sunday.”
God had already answered far more than our fondest dreams, but what this meant is that we’re going to need records, we’re going to need programming material – you don’t just walk into a studio and suddenly you go on the air with nothing.
So we contacted record companies and I called Paul Stewart over at the Christian station in Madison WRVB it was called then, and Paul Stewart sent over some records. We were gleaning material from everywhere. I had about 4 or 5 LP records and we started.
God gave us a wonderful beginning, we’re very grateful for that.
JS: So you were looking for a quarter hour a week and the Lord miraculously provided them a half hour a day and an hour on Sundays
VE: Now this is a 38,000 watt radio station and it covered all over the area and it was far more than we ever dreamed, but God answered prayer
JS: What did you call that first program?
VE: We gave it the name that the owners of the station had asked it to be, it was called ‘Sacred Stylings.’ We still carry that program every day at 5:30, it’s called ‘Sacred Stylings’, and the very music you hear on that program is the very same music we used as the opening theme.
JS: Now were these programs that you produced for the station, were they live, were they pre-recorded? How did that work out?
VE: Well, we were live the very first night. May 15, 1961, we went out and did the program live. Here was this big brand new console and microphone. The studios were hardly even finished, there was still wiring to be done and drawers to be put in the cabinets. It was a lovely facility but we knew because of our busy schedule it would be impossible for us to keep chasing out to the radio station every night.
So we began immediately to try and put together some recording equipment so that we could put our program on tape and deliver it there.
We still have in our glass case out here some of the artifacts of the early beginnings. We took some old World War 2 parts and components and put together a mixer. We had some early nine-inch turntables, we had 12-inch records on them, so you can imagine what that looked like, but it worked.
The stuff that we had was very basic. Gradually we added some better equipment, we did away with those little 9-inch turntables and we found some better turntables, and gradually things began to happen that provided us with the ability to record our program to get it out to run tape
JS: This was a new venture for the board of directors as well, how did they respond to this new broadcast ministry?
VE: When we asked them about doing this, they said, “Well, as long as you do it on your own time, it’s okay.”
Of course we were working 15 hours a day anyway, but we tucked it into our spare time, if we had any, and the kids were excited. The teenagers were excited and did everything they could to help make this happen.
JS: So the teens were directly involved in the process?
VE: Well they would they would come and run the equipment. They didn’t host the program but they were involved in the makings of it, and the equipment and the technical things.
JS: If grandma had some extra records I’m sure they brought those?
VE: That was the way it was done.
JS: How long did this radio last?
VE: We were so excited, we’re coasting along just fine and eight months later the station had hired a new program director and his name was Ron Walker and Ron said to me one day “Vic, a half hour of religion is too much for any one day. We’re going to be terminating your program, we want you to know that.”
By the end of the week our program was off the air.
JS: Both the weekly program and the weekend program?
VE: That’s right the whole thing was dropped. “A half hour of religion was too much for any one day.” Because we had a half hour every day and then an hour on Sunday, he had some thoughts about how this station should be changed, and that was his prerogative, he was the program director
But we were off the air, and there was a big letdown. We’d been on for eight months. We developed a listening audience and suddenly it was no longer there.
I contracted the flu that weekend, and I was at home in bed and Freda went to church and I woke up and turned on the radio, and began to turn this little FM radio dial across the spectrum, wondering if there might be some Christian program that would encourage my heart. I stumbled on to a new spot on the dial. It didn’t have a Christian program on, but it was a new radio station in Wauwatosa, and there it was at 103.7 WTOS.
As I was listening to this station I got an idea. I don’t know where I came up with the idea, someone might say was because you were sick, but the idea came “I wonder if it would be possible to buy some airtime in a block of time, like eight hours of time a day.”
Now, where in the world I ever thought we would have the energy or resources to manage that much time in a day I’m not sure where. I don’t think I even thought that far, but I picked up the phone and I found the number of this new station. I called and the man who was running it was the owner there. Everyone else had the flu bug that week as well.
Mr. Bob Purthel answered, and I told him that we had been doing a program on another station and that we were no longer on that station. I told him also about my idea of having a block of time that would be used for all religious programming continually for a period of time. So I asked him, “Would you consider selling to YFC eight hours of time per day, seven days per week?” And then came the cruncher, “for $500 a month.” In those years I don’t think I knew really what I was asking for.
He was so frustrated because he had a limited staff, and he says “I will sell you that, $500 a month, seven days a week, eight hours a day, from 4:00 to midnight, if you will provide the manpower to run the station.” By manpower he meant volunteers, and when he said that, I began to feel better.
He said, “Could you come over and talk with me this afternoon?”
It was a Sunday afternoon, and I drove over to this little station. It was in the basement of a gasoline station, the tower was bolted to the side of the building, it stood about a hundred feet in the air. The station only had 3,000 watts of power, and the transmitter was an old antique, a thing that had been restructured and put together.
I met with Bob Purthel and we talked it through. I said “Before I can make any commitments I need to talk to our Board of Directors. The concept would be to pay $500 a month and you’d give us eight hours of broadcasting seven days a week, eight hours a day.”
He said, “I’ll tell you what, I know you’ve got a board of directors to talk to so I will give you the radio station for the next two weeks. For the next two weeks, free of charge, to run as you would, and you start at four o’clock in the afternoon you go to midnight for the next two weeks. Use that as a living example and if your board of directors approves and you got the support raised, then we sign a contract. But if nothing happens, if nobody is interested then you’ve had two weeks of free broadcasting. You can’t lose.”
I said, “Well I think we can agree on that.”
So that’s exactly what happened. I got on the phone I called Paul Stewart again over in Madison.
I said “Paul, we’re going on the air. We’re gonna be on eight hours a day, seven days a week for the next two weeks. Send me some programming.”
He sent me tapes of Back to the Bible, Walter Wilson, Heaven and Home Hour, and all the old-time broadcasts were there and all kinds of LP records. More than we’d ever had. He sent it over on the Badger Bus.
I picked it up at the bus station, and the box is so heavy, I could almost hardly not carry the thing. The bottom almost fell out of the box.
We got it into the car and we began to make plans. We didn’t have enough taped programs to run a series every day, so then this may be laughable, but Monday night was ‘Back to the Bible’ night. So we’d play some songs maybe for an hour then we’d play the ‘Back to the Bible’ half-hour, then we go for another hour or two of music and then we go back and play the same ‘Back to the Bible again, that was ‘Back to the Bible’ night.
The next night was Walter Wilson night and the next night was somebody else’s night because we did not have enough material to do this.
But people started listening and they loved it. Within two weeks, not only was the board impressed, but a number of churches stepped forward and said “Look, if you’ll give us a half hour of time, we’ll give you $15 a week” and that’s how things started.
We were able to bring together enough funding to pay that $500 a month, and Bob Purthel was happy. We were happy and started programming. We had volunteers that would come into the studio at night. I remember some men who were mechanics, some were architects, some were whatever. They’d come and donate a night of service and sit there and run the transmitter.
That was when we began to develop our little studio down at 2631 West State Street. We scraped enough money together to put in a telephone line to carry our signal from State Street out to Wauwatosa where WTOS was. By installing that phone line, we were able to have our own little tiny studio down there at the offices. That’s where the young people then got involved in running the equipment.
JS: Well the miracle continues, but Vic all of a sudden one day there was notice given to you and in some form that was going to terminate your relationship here at WTOS.
VE: It actually was more of an offer to continue if we would raise our funds and I don’t fault Mr. Parthell for that at all because the amount we were paying was certainly very reasonable.
But he said, “For eight hours a day I really should be getting more money.” He asked us for $1400 a month if we were going to continue, up from the $500. We began to weigh our options and look around and we felt that if we were going to pay that extra money we would hope to have a little more power for outreach to expand our audience. The station at that time was only 3,000 watts and a hundred feet off the ground.
In so doing we became acquainted with a station known as WMIL-FM. It’s studios were located at 26th and Wisconsin, just about four blocks from our offices. I went to see the owners, Mr. Saul Radoff and Mr. Gene Posner who owned WMIL. They were Jewish men, they knew exactly what our our message was, and I explained what we wanted to do.
They said “Well, if you’re not anti-semitic we’ll be glad to have you on the air.”
I said to both of them, “I want you to know that the best friend I have in the whole universe is a Jewish man, His name is Jesus.”
They had no problem, and they said “We’ll go along with you and will sign a contract for a year.”
We did, and so for $1400 a month we now had 25,000 watts of power and CBS News at the top of the hour anytime we wanted it. So our little studio over at 2631 West State Street was now connected to a 25,000 watt station.
JS: Now was that for the same block of time?
VE: Same block of time. From 4 o’clock to midnight. What happened however, was that after we had been on almost a year, some of the unions became – well these are all union employees except for our kids and the kids are doing the work and the union employees over at the studios were sweeping the floor and polishing the windows because they had nothing to do.
Our kids were doing this from our studios, and so Mr. Posner called me and when were just about a month away from renewing the contract, he said “We would be glad to sign another contract with you, but the union’s have said you cannot continue to run the console and the programming. The union men will have to handle this, and they can answer the phone here at the studios, but you just bring the stuff over in a box.”
I said, “Gene I don’t feel that this is what God would have us to do.”
“Well why not?” he says. “Where else would you go?”
I said, “Gene, we can’t renew the contract.”
He wanted to know if we had any other place to go.
I said “No, I don’t. But if the young people are not involved in handling the programming, if we do not have the opportunity to interface with our listeners and to counsel them from the Word of God, whatever, it just can’t be.”
I’ll never forget, we knew the contract was coming down the homestretch here and we had about a month left. Then it was three weeks left, then it was two weeks left, we had nowhere to go.
The young people in the studios were running the station, they didn’t even know that our contract was coming to an end and I was scared to tell them.
It came down to one week and still no answer. Nobody on planet Earth knew except us.
We were praying “Oh God, guide, supply, direct, whatever it is.”
We were down to three days before the program would go off the air, and I got a phone call from Mr. John Derringer who is one of the owners of WBON out in New Berlin, the very first station we were on.
Ron was no longer the program director, and there was a change of sentiment, and he had called and he said “How are things going Vic?”
I said “Well, it’s interesting that you would call.”
Now bear in mind there’s only three days left. John did not know anything about our contract running out.
I said “Well it’s interesting that you should call because we’ve got three days left on our contract and have nowhere to go.”
He said, “Well, that’s why I’m calling. I was wondering if you might be interested in coming back on our station. We really don’t have that much interest in the main channel. We’re using the sub channel to broadcast background music to restaurants and the main channel – if you would be willing to come back – we would hire you for a dollar a year as our program director. You can control the programming any way you like, and you can broadcast 19 hours a day, seven days a week.”
We started contacting a number of the other national broadcasts. We had three days left to make the change. I called the telephone company and they worked miracles hooking up phone lines to New Berlin.
That evening when we went off WMIL we were able to say “This will be our last broadcast on WMIL. Tune in tomorrow morning at 107.7 on the FM dial.”
God opened a special blessing that day. That was 1964 when we made that change. God answered prayer in the 11th hour.
Nobody on planet Earth knew about our need but the Lord, and God opened that door.
JS: Vic this is why, through the history of this ministry, that God receives the glory. Because in ourselves we cannot maneuver to make things happen, it is only through God that this miracle continues.
VE: And it is a continuing miracle, it’s the kind of thing that you know there’s no way in the world. We did not have the expertise to do this, we had no background in negotiating with unions. We had no background in much of anything, except God opened that door of opportunity and it was obvious we should step through it.
JS: Well as you’re back now on WBON, you’re broadcasting 19 hours a day? That must have been 5:00 in the morning till midnight?
VE: I think it was 6:00 in the morning, something like that.
JS: This station was not owned by this ministry, that was an outside group of owners. Did the Board of Directors come with you?
VE: After we started the programming block, they knew by this time that this is obviously becoming a part of the ministry and had their full blessing behind what we were doing. In fact we were all elated to see what God was doing. Still having Bible clubs and rallies and things of this nature, so we still had a full plate. We did cut our rallies back to once a month though and the singspiration schedule was modified somewhat, but we continued from 1964 until 1968 when Mr. Derringer called me.
He said “Vic, we are considering selling WBON, and in that you people have been buying a block of time every day on the air, we would like to give you the first option to buy the station if you’re interested.” And he said the price will be $315,000.
There was kind of a loud gulp as we heard this and in today’s economy of course that would be a bargain for a station. But at that time in the city of Milwaukee, it was one of the higher prices that was ever paid for the sale of an FM radio station. We talked it over among the Board of Directors, and they said we have no other option but to negotiate and to pray and ask God to raise the funds.
Mr. Derringer said if we can raise $78,000 for a down-payment, they would even carry us for a while. Well we brought this need to the general public and the people began to give.
To make a long story short, the $78,000 was raised to make it possible. We began making payments and ultimately the Lord made it possible that in 1970 we consummated the sale for the station for $315,000. It took about two years to raise those funds. We’re so grateful that in 1970 WBON was the official voice of Milwaukee Youth for Christ.
JS: Vic let’s digress just one moment and talk about FM for a moment. How prevalent was FM when you began broadcasting? You started in 1961, was FM radio available? Were people able to listen well in 1961?
VE: FM was really not that well-known. In fact, most people said “Oh, that kind of radio. We don’t have that.” FM radio, when you’d listen to it, had a very clear sound. There wasn’t stereo, it was monophonic radio, but had a clear sound. But the radios themselves had a strange characteristic: you’d put them on frequency and in about 10 minutes they would drift off frequency and you’d have to quit, go back, and tune them back. That was the normal way FM worked.
And then they came out with a high-tech thing called AFC which was ‘Automatic Frequency Control.’ A little button that you’d push on the new radios and they would stay on frequency. That was a great achievement, but there was still no stereo.
Our audience was so limited with FM, so we found a company called Sarkes Tarzian, they made FM radios, plastic FM radios, for somewhere in the $15 range for an FM receiver, and about $22 for an FM/AM receiver, so we bought them by the case and sold them just for what we paid for them, just to increase our listening audience, and it worked the people started listening.
JS: Vic, the time came then when there was a decision made to change the call letters of the station?
VE: We operated from 1970-1973, and June 1st 1973 was a very special day because Milwaukee Youth For Christ had decided to change our name that would be more in line with the broadcast ministry. We were still working with young people, but the broadcast ministry was becoming very dominant at that point, and so June 1st 1973 the call letters of the station were changed to WVCY and the organization name was called Wisconsin Voice of Christian Youth. We continued doing what we were doing but there was a new name change
JS: There was another milestone that came in to its to the listening ability of radio as well as far as the quality of the sound?
VE: A couple years later in 1975 other stations by now had heard about and were actually innovative in going stereo. I remember a station called WMKE run by Mr. Dick Stefan here in the city was one of the first stations to go stereo. They had to buy this little special gadget box that sat on outside of your radio and would run another amplifier and then would give you what was then known as stereo. That was in the early 70s, by 1975 other stations were stereo but we weren’t.
Also one of the things that we weren’t was ‘circular polarized’ – our antenna would send out the signal in a horizontal direction but the vertical direction which would be picked up by cars was not part of that picture. We proposed the purchase of a new transmitter and a new antenna that would reach more effectively to automobiles, and at the same time would allow us to go stereo.
We had a fundraising project to do this, about a hundred thousand dollars or so to buy the transmitter and some automation equipment that would make it more work for us (we had a very small staff).
We had a fundraiser at the Mark Plaza the evening when we switched to stereo. We went to the Mark Plaza Hotel which is now known as the Hilton Hotel here in Milwaukee. They had the big crystal ballroom that we rented for a special banquet. Russ Killman of the Heaven and Home Hour came in and a number of other folk. Russ came in, a number of pastors came in, just giving a vignette, a small message.
We had some distinguished guests that were there, John Koss from the Koss Headphone company was there, and a lot of other folks were there to watch this happen. We hooked up stereo speakers all across the front of this ballroom and were actually broadcasting from the ballroom in mono the way we had always done.
We had projected to switch over at 10 PM. It was a late banquet – at 10 o’clock we would cut the switch over and we would become stereo, and I will never forget, as the audience waited for that moment.
It took about 60 seconds to make the switch as we came to the end of the mono broadcasting, and the very first sound that came out of those speakers was a beautiful song, ‘Eternal Father of Mankind’ was in stereo by the Mantovani Orchestra. It just filled the ballroom and I saw people standing with tears running down their faces, and it was kind of a moving event at that point because WVCY was now in stereo and it was now full power. They cut to the new antenna and we had more power than we’d ever had before.
JS: Were the Bible Club ministries and rally ministry continuing during this time?
VE: Yes they were we were, of course running from 1963 on we’d had difficulties because Madalyn Murray O’Hair had raised a big ruckus about her son. Interestingly enough he later became a Christian, but prayer and Bible reading was removed from the school – anybody that even hinted at anything spiritual. Our clubs had been relegated totally outside the school. We were asked to not meet in the school building, so we were meeting in buses or homes.
Then they started mandatory busing, so kids couldn’t even stay there after school because they had to ride the bus back to where they were. It caused a great deal of difficulty in maintaining the club program as we had once known it.
JS: Before we look at some of the new and expanded outreaches that began with radio, I want to spend a moment or two looking at some of that some of those early staff. Were they paid staff or were these volunteers that ran the ministry?
VE: Way back in the beginning when we were doing this broadcast it was all volunteer, but then when we went eight hours a day, we had to have somebody to run this thing.
Every evening we went on the air at four o’clock, there was a young man who walked up from Boys Tech (now Bradley Tech). His name was Al Knuth, and he walked up three miles from Boys Tech all the way to 27th and State to volunteer his time to run the radio station. He worked like a beaver, he was a ham operator and he rejoiced in being a part.
Later when we went to the eight hours of time and a more demanding program schedule, Al couldn’t maintain all of this 56 hours a week on his own. He would just come up and cover the evening and some of us would work shifts to fill in the time.
A young man named Larry Trumbower was in Chicago. He was a Milwaukee boy who had always had an interest in Christian radio. He was driving city bus and he heard about this project and he called me up one day and he said, “Vic, if you’ll have me, I’ll quit my bus driving job here in Chicago and come up and run that station for you.” He became our first full-time employee, and today he’s on the mission field running a radio station in Puerto Rico.
At that time, for every hour we were on the air from our studio you had to have a real live person out there at the transmitter. One night, one man had come in, the next night. someone else. One of the dear friends of our ministry, Forrest Gibeaut, was out at the transmitter one evening and he was not feeling well. An appendicitis attack was brewing, but he was not going to leave. He was going to stay there until the end of his shift, and in that period of that time his appendix burst. Regardless, he was going to stay there in pain until the end of his shift, and finally got into his car and drove home. His commitment was greatly admired. He didn’t realize what was happening, but God wonderfully spared his life. He was involved in so many areas – he would run the station, he would do remote broadcasts, he would sort our tapes, all of this while being a mail processor at the US Post Office.
JS: We learned of the purchase of WBON in 1970, the call letters being changed in 1973 to WVCY, but Vic it was in 1976 that you had a special visit to the Federal Communications Commission?
VE: I sure did. For some reason we had thought about expanding as God was blessing. We began to see the impact of Christian radio on the families of this city. I was in Washington DC and talked to a man named Dick Dean. He told me that the FCC had some frequencies available for television. I went over to the FCC and I talked with Quintin Proctor. Quentin was one of the movers and shakers at the Commission.
I said, “Mr. Proctor can you tell me if there are any frequencies available for TV yet in Milwaukee?”
He went over to a little three by five card box and he pulled up Milwaukee, and he said, “Well, yes, there are several frequencies. There’s channel 58, there’s channel 30, and he named several channels that were available.”
He said, “I’ll tell you what. We’re granting applications to build stations, and you can build a station fairly reasonable with used equipment. Here’s a guy named Dick Dean” – and he hands me Dick Dean’s application of what they had done in Allentown, Pennsylvania – “if you want to take a copy of this, you can go back to your home, and see if you can’t put something like that together.”
Well we did, and that’s where the concept for Channel 30 came about. All of the staff with the help of Mr. John Lafferty, an electronics engineer, and Gordie Morris, and number of other staff people, we put together our application.
There was complication that developed in those years called duopoly ownership, meaning that if you had a radio station, they didn’t know if they wanted you to have a television station. Of course, the Milwaukee Journal had all three, but in our case they were having a second look at it.
It took several years of Investigation by the FCC, but one day we got the construction permit and they said “We hereby authorize you to build Channel 30.” We applied in 1977 for the construction permit, and it was 1982 when they granted it to us.
JS: Vic, you had never run television before?
VE: No sir!
JS: How did you respond when you had that piece of paper come in the mail authorizing construction?
VE: John Lafferty was here in our office when it came in, and I said “John, we’ve got this construction permit, what do we do now?”
He looked up at me, and he says “Gulp.” He says it’s kind of like if somebody gives you a baby elephant – what do you do with it? You begin construction!
This was a miracle as well – first we had to find a transmitter, then we had to find a place where we could put our antenna, and the transmitter had to be purchased and the transmission line. We could probably go for three hours just talking about the miracles that happened.
We did find a transmitter, it was channel 36 and their transmitter was adaptable to channel 30 and so we purchased that transmitter at a greatly reduced price.
We needed transmission line, and we heard about a station down in Knoxville, Tennessee that was taking down their line. For a fraction of the cost of new line, we purchased used line. That line is still working like new 20 years later.
When we purchased this transmitter, we began to raise funds of course, and people started to give toward the project. We knew that in the natural it would cost probably one or two million dollars to build this thing, but we prayed and we saw God provide. Equipment: hand-me-downs from other stations, lighting, old cameras, tripods, studio distribution amplifiers. The stations all over town were giving us things that that they knew that they didn’t need anymore. We acquired much of this equipment plus buying the new stuff that was needed to put it together.
As the time came to move that transmitter from up at PBS Channel 10 and 36’s building to the place we had found, and to hook it up to the tower that we were renting now, I was kind of frustrated that day at the office.
“Lord, what are we gonna do?”
The phone rings and a man by the name of Nolan Tobias calls me.
“Is this Mr. Eliason?
“I understand you’ve purchased a TV transmitter.”
Now if I can break thought for a moment, the TV transmitter is like seven feet tall, four feet wide, and the transmitter stands about 35 feet long. It weighs tons. The tubes are so big you have to use a chain hoist to get them out of the transmitter. The tubes are $28,000 apiece. There’s miles of wiring. 20,000 volt transformers. All of this, yours truly did not know beans about this. We had no one here that that could handle it.
Nolan’s on the phone and he says, “I understand you purchased this transmitter. Do you have someone to disassemble it and to move it from where it is now to your new location?”
“Mr. Tobias, no, we don’t have someone.”
“Would you like to have someone volunteer their services?”
I almost dropped my teeth.
“I am an electronics engineer that would be qualified to do that, but there’s one requirement – that I do it for no charge. My work will be a gift and if it’ll make you feel any better about this, I’m the engineer that used to run that transmitter for the last nine years.”
Nolan Tobias and his father-in-law moved that transmitter, hooked it up in the new location, and it worked just fine.
The same thing happened down at the studios. We had a whole master control room to build down there at a different location. We didn’t know beans about hooking this stuff up. I had another phone call, very similar, almost the same words.
A gentleman called from Midland Video Productions, and he said “I understand that you people are putting a TV station together. Do you need any help putting your control room together? I’m a control room engineer.”
“Yes we do!”
“How much help do you need?”
“Like the whole thing?”
“I’ll be down but I don’t want any money for it. This is my gift to see this station start.”
He came down and installed and put into service the control room that we use today.
JS: January 11th, 1983 came. The very first broadcast on WVCY Channel 30. What do you recall about that first broadcast signing on the air?
VE: Just a few days earlier we had hoped to have the station on the air, on Christmas night. We had already told the newspaper that a new star would be shining over Milwaukee on Christmas night.
The only problem was that the best-laid plans of mice and men don’t always work out. Milwaukee contracted the worst ice storm you have ever seen, and the crew that was in here from Cincinnati, Ohio refused to climb that big thousand foot tower because it was covered with ice.
So we had to shut down our plans we never got on the air in December and everybody went home for the holidays. They got back and it was just before January 11th . We got everything done – that day we’d all been up at the transmitter soldering copper together and all the other things, and our hands were covered with solder paste. Everybody chipped in to do something and we then cleaned up and went down to the studios.
We were going on the air that night at 6 o’clock and we went on the air with no announcements. Nobody in town knew about it but everybody was waiting for it to happen. We went on the air and invited people to call in by faith we’d already hooked up the phone lines we had 14 phone lines and the phones began to ring. Hundreds of calls came in people from that were watching Channel 30, on January 11th, 1983 at 6 PM.
JS: Prior to TV 30 signing on there was a location change?
VE: During 1968 we purchased an old bank building at 27th and Vliet Street. This is about three blocks north of where we had been on State Street. We had purchased this building for $20,000 and had remodeled it into an office building and moved into that office building in 1970. So when we turned stereo, we were operating from a building that was our very own.
That meeting room on second floor, which housed about 400 people, suddenly had to be converted into a television studio.
JS: The board of directors during this time were also looking at ways for continued outreach. The Bible Club ministries were going on, Bible correspondence courses, rally ministries, ministry to delinquent youth, on and on the ministries went. But the board was not content to stay put and just to leave things as they were. They had a vision to reach beyond Milwaukee, to reach beyond Southeast Wisconsin in a way to capture new listeners here within the state?
VE: So many things were part of this mosaic. In 1978 we had started a Christian school. We had moved – we had only been in our offices on Vliet Street for eight years and then our offices moved to 35th and Kilbourn where a new Christian school was being born. Everything started exploding. The staff was larger – we had grown to 12 or 14 and more staff.
God had opened the door for the acquisition of another radio station up in Tomah, Wisconsin. In order for us to get the signals there, we either had to maintain a staff up in Tomah and then a staff down here. Of course a double staff meant double overhead, cost and all those things.
We had hired a guy named Jim Schneider from Kansas City – you came up and took over the managership of WVCX in Tomah. But our prayer was that somehow we could use satellite to link the stations together so there’d be a consistency in programming.
JS: Let’s talk about WVCX for just a moment. The former call letters of the station were WTMB We’re Tomah Broadcasting in Tomah, Wisconsin. A very unique location – it was the crossroads of the state where the interstates divided, and many state highways were going to that location.
This was a new venture, it was a few hours from the home base here in Milwaukee. The people in this area had no access to Christian radio before.
VE: The man who had owned WVCX was an attorney, his father was an attorney as well. The Dickey family owned it, and Hugh Dickey, the patriarch, had died. Dean Dickey his son had pretty much determined he didn’t want to go on in radio broadcasting. He was a very busy and prosperous attorney and so the station was put up on the auction block. We negotiated for and purchased the station. The FCC took awhile to approve the purchase, and finally the day came when the big cutover occurred.
Now WTMB at that point had been a country-type multi-service programming facility. They had everything from the local daily auction to the weather reports and maybe some farm reports, cultural things within the city. It was a powerful station – it has its antenna up on the bluffs outside of Tomah. One minute it would be one style of music, the next minute another. It was all secular.
On the day we were to take over (they had determined they wanted to run the station until noon) at noon we would switch over. Much of the equipment they had there in Tomah was so defective and tired and old that you had to bump it and slam it in order to keep it working.
We didn’t want to have any more glitches than might happen with that old equipment so we’ve brought in some temporary equipment and put it down the hall from the master control room. We had a plan that would take about 60 seconds to switch from their equipment to ours right at 12 up noon.
They came to the end of the program at noon and they played “Happy Trails To You Until We Meet Again,” and they said “This is WTMB signing off.”
There were 60 seconds of waiting as we looked down the hall and watching for Gary’s thumbs-up that he had the wires hooked up. He gave us a signal and we came on with the new call letters “This is WVCX Tomah, a new radio voice with a new purpose.”
The first song we played was Robbie Heiner, and he sang the song “I’ll praise your name Lord, I’ll sing your song.”
There were kids down the road in Sparta had brought their boom boxes took to school that day and were listening. When the switchover came there was a big cheer that occurred in the school, and there was a cheer in the hearts of lots of people because they’ve been praying for a Christian radio voice.
JS: So now there were two Christian radio ministries, a Christian television station. The first simulcasting occurred: your TV program In Focus. Comrex lines were utilized to phone in so people could hear the issues that were occurring, and all that was simulcast. That was perhaps the early hints of wanting to bring the stations together for satellite communications? It was March 26, 1987 that you had a special Share-a-thon that you hosted?
VE: We called it an Uplink Share-a-thon, and there had been a lot of disturbance on the national scene. Jim Baker’s scandal had just been announced and the heartbreaking things that had gone on with PTL.
Here we were on the air trying to raise funds for a $65,000 uplink. That day as we shared the need with people to tie together the stations so they could have consistent programming and it would give us a pipeline that could be run for other stations as well.
The newspapers contacted us, “Well, how was your fundraising going?” They were thinking that we’d have a dour story for them because of the sad things that had been gone on in the national picture. What a thrill it was to come to the end of that day. TV30 joined the radio stations that evening at 7 PM, bringing the TV audience during that hour. By 8 PM $65,000 plus dollars came in to provide for that uplink.
JS: As this uplink was being planned, it was not just to serve WVCX, there were also plans underway at that time for a station in South Dakota that came about through a WVCX listener?
VE: There was a lady who was listening to WVCX in Tomah who had a brother who was out in Gregory, South Dakota. He was in his senior years and he was thinking of selling his 100,000 watt radio station KKSD in Gregory, South Dakota. We became aware that this station might be for sale and had gone out to visit this station and looked it over. After seeing it and looking at the purchase price that the man was asking, we did not feel that we were prepared financially to go ahead with this offer.
We came back home, put the file back in the file cabinet, and about six weeks later we received a phone call from a group of businessmen who were praying for Christian radio. They were praying that God would provide Christian radio to South Dakota. They found out that the station could be purchased for less then was first asked. They said, “We will raise the first $65,000 as a down payment if you will take the responsibility to foster and bring to life a Christian radio ministry. We’ll support, we’ll pray, we’ll get the people giving.”
That happened and today we have WVCX 100,000 watts in Tomah, then we have KVCX in Gregory, South Dakota that signed on the air April 17th, 1987.
JS: Also at that time a ministry in Fort Scott, Kansas was struggling, known as KFTS.
VE: We had gone down to Missouri, my wife is a native of Sheldon, Missouri, which is not too far from Fort Scott, Kansas. Every time we would go down there we would listen to this little Christian radio station that was on the air. This time we went down and found out you could hardly hear it. My son, who’s our chief engineer, said “Dad, I think they must be having trouble because we can hardly hear the station. Let’s go over and see if we can help them.”
We drove over to KFTS and found this little station that was so damaged that the transmitter was running on 6% of its normal power. 6%! It was 94% inefficient, and it was broadcasting this limited signal. Here were volunteers that were giving of their time, and the station literally was in receivership. The bank was ready to foreclose. The funding was insufficient to meet the needs. We had a chance to meet Will Russell and Gracie Cobbler and some of the other people that were there running the station. They said “We need some help.”
We sat down and visited with Will Russell and in a very interesting chain of events, God made it possible for us to negotiate with the receiving Bank that was ready to close them down.
The president of the Bank said “Look, if you people will come in and keep this a Christian station, I’ll forgive all the back interest, I’ll forgive everything, if you can just pick up the note where it is, if you would come in here and take over and put this station back on its feet.”
Today the station is not a 3000 watt station, it’s not a 6000 watt station, it’s putting out 25,000 watts of ERP, but at that height it’s closer to the effect of 50,000 watts. It’s reaching clear down to the outskirts of Joplin, and Lamar, Missouri, and clear up to Harrisonville. We thank God for what he has done and Gracie Cobbler and Will Russell were still working for the station.
JS: It was in 1991 that the actual national uplink began to service stations all over the country. It was just after KVCY and KVCX came on that were able to do the simulcast. The satellite communications began, national program distribution began.
That takes us up to the 1990s, when there was a station that you became aware of in Oshkosh Wisconsin.
VE: Yes, there was a station known as WXOL. It had been owned and operated by a gentlemen that had been an alcoholic. He’d been struggling in in this area of his life and in a desperate situation. The station was in receivership, the bank was ready to shut it down.
The man who had been running the station, though he had his disaster, had come to Christ and had found the Lord. We had the opportunity of acquiring WXOL, newly renamed as WVCY AM 690. Brother in Christ Steve Rose had been the manager of that station (and before he knew the Lord had been in desperate straits). Now here’s a man that’s been redeemed, and we hired the man who used to own the station to be our operator. Steve was there for a number of years, faithfully operating the station. Today at WVCY AM 690, Bob Gardinear is our operations manager there.
JS: While this acquisition was going on, you had also been receiving a petition from many people in the Eau Claire / Chippewa Falls area?
VE: Five hundred people signed petitions and said “We would like to have a station in this area that is rich in Bible teaching, that takes its primetime and uses it for the teaching and edification and the ministry of Bible preaching.”
We responded – we were able to take one of the transmitters from one of the other stations. refurbish one of the towers from another station. As the station down in Kansas went to the newer tower, we took that tower up here, so that tower had a second life, that transmitter had a second life.
Today you can listen up there in Eau Claire to the station that is reaching out, 90.5 WVCF radio.
JS: March 14, 1995, WVCY AM came on the year. March 26, 1997 WVCF Eau Claire came on the air. That story is a miracle in itself. For a long time it looked like, through competitions with others seeking that frequency, it would not be possible but God enabled for WVCF to come on the air.
Also in 1997 there was another station added in Salina, Kansas on August 1.
VE: Mr. Galen Got, who was the operator of a non-commercial station in Salina, Kansas indicated that he wanted to sell and that he was going to be going into another type of broadcasting, so he approached us. As the board of directors evaluated, it was concluded that KVCS radio should be added to the VCY family of stations. It was a not a high-powered station – it was operating at 1,000 watts of power – but it covered Salina quite well and so it was acquired August 1st, 1997.
The opportunity came to increase its power. Our prayers has always been “Lord, help us to strengthen that outreach and to reach out to more people.”
In December 12th, 2000 the power increase occurred in Salina. What we’ve seen happen is just an absolute miracle there. Instead of the tower where we had been broadcasting, we located a new spot 300 feet higher. Instead of a 300-foot tower we put up a 495 foot Tower. The power increased and now we’re putting out the equivalent of near 50,000 watts effective radiated power. The signal reaches almost to the outskirts of Wichita, Kansas, clear up to Fort Riley. We see reports coming in from all around Salina and we’re grateful.
JS: We have also seen here in the late 1990s a series of translators that have joined the VCY family as well.
VE: A translator or satellator is a low-power transmitter that runs by itself. It has to have a satellite dish to pick up the signal from outer space and rebroadcasts our signal to a community. It may cover up to 30 miles depending on the height of the antenna.
Our first translator was Mitchell, South Dakota, on September 5th, 1997.
December 1st, 1997 we saw construction completed on a translator in Ironwood, Michigan.
May 21st, 1998, construction was completed on a satellator in Monroe, Wisconsin.
November 7th, 1998 construction was completed on a translator serving the Charleston and Mattoon, Illinois area. This was an area where the folk had asked for Christian radio. They said they would support this if it would come to their community and since that date the ministry has been 24 hours a day touching lives there in Illinois.
JS: Now as this ministry has sought to go beyond its borders of the City of Milwaukee, go beyond the borders of the state of Wisconsin, there was another name change that occurred from Wisconsin Voice of Christian Youth, Incorporated to VCY America, Incorporated.
VE: Because VCY was becoming known outside of Wisconsin, and we were no longer limited to the state of Wisconsin, VCY America was chosen as God was opening doors all over America for people to listen.
JS: Yet another station was added, September 24th of 1999
VE: We became aware of a station that had never broadcast before. It hadn’t been on the air, it had just been newly constructed by a man up in Baraga, Michigan. Mr. Dave Savilein. Dave and I had had some conversation about this station and he ultimately decided to sell it. Ultimately the station was acquired and transferred through the FCC. It’s 100,000 watts, it’s on one of the highest points in Upper Michigan with the tower, and it transmits to Upper Michigan, Houghton, Hancock, and various other parts of Upper Michigan.
It was formerly known as WBUM but we didn’t feel that ‘BUM was a good way to describe Christian radio so we changed it to WVCN, the Voice for Christ to the Northlands.
JS: We have seen through the years as well, ministering to stations across the country in locations from Corpus Christi, Texas to Englewood, Florida to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Zanesville, Ohio and other locations as well.
VE: This continuing miracle is almost like riding the tale of a tornado because this recording was made on May 9th, 2001, but there will be the completion of another station just outside of Sioux Falls, South Dakota that’s KVCF. This station will minister to Sioux Falls, Yankton and other areas surrounding. This tower is 800 feet above ground and will certainly be touching the lives of thousands of people.
There will also be the operation and installation of a new station in Iron Mountain, Michigan which be serving the city of Iron Mountain and area as well.
Someone asked once, “You must have a ten-year plan as far as the rate of development that has occurred?”
I wish I could say that because it sounds more scholarly, it sounds more organized, but sometimes God has literally pushed us into situation to meet a need which wasn’t initially out there in our plan at all. Like the situation in Tomah with WVCX, one of our strongest stations today, that God opened the door and practically pushed us through it.
As we as we think of God’s provision, it has been absolutely amazing. There is no person on this staff or board of directors that can claim any ability. To see God work in the ways that He has, it has literally been running to keep up with the Lord as these doors open. This is why we call it a continuing miracle, because practically everywhere we turn you see the hand of God in other ways. The miracles happening this past week in providing things that is too long to even talk about here, the ministry of Trail Ridge Ranch and Conference Center and other things that are emerging as a part of VCY America. Someday we’ll have more miracles to add to this tape.
JS: Vic, we appreciate you sharing with us and sharing the heartbeat of what the Lord has done here through the years. This is God’s Continuing Miracle: The VCY Story. Psalm 127:1 says “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” For over 40 years now, God has shown his faithfulness and in more miraculous ways than what time allows for us to talk about today, he’s provided for this ministry reaching beyond radio to youth ministry, discipleship programs, ministry outreach to delinquent youth, bookstore ministry, and on and on the list goes. The miracle continues and evidenced every time a life has changed for Jesus Christ. To God be the glory, great things he hath done!