PEQUOT LAKES - Minnesota Christian Broadcasters, Inc., or MCBI, is turning 30.
Thirty years ago MCBI was made up of one station, KTIG, 102.7 on the FM dial, and it hit the airwaves April 30, 1978. Back then, KTIG was a 3,000-watt radio station, meaning it could only be heard in the Brainerd lakes area. In 1990 it was bumped up to 6,000 watts and in 1994 became a 50,000-watt station, expanding its listening area to as far as Bemidji to the north and Little Falls to the south.
KTIG was the only Christian station on the radio in the Brainerd area in 1978. According to Jim Park, KTIG's program director, Christian radio began to boom in the late 70s.
Mike Heuberger (left), general manager of Minnesota Christian Broadcasters, Inc., and Jim Park, KTIG/KCFB program director, stood in the radio station's control room in Pequot Lakes. MCBI and KTIG turn 30 on April 30. Brainerd Dispatch/Heidi Lake » Purchase reprints of this photo.
As a non-commercial station, KTIG was, and still is, listener-supported. There are no paid advertisements or commercials.
"We have a mission," Park said. "We're duty-bound. We have a service to God."
If you go...
Christian recording artist and author Michael Card will headline KTIG's 30th anniversary celebration at 7 p.m. on April 25 at Tornstrom Auditorium.
Tickets may be purchased in advance for $12 ($10 per person for group purchases of 5 or more) and are available by calling Minnesota Christian Broadcasters, Inc. in Pequot Lakes at 1-866-568-4422. Tickets are also available online at www.mcbiradio.org or can be purchased at the MCBI studios in Pequot Lakes; Bethany Book & Gift, Baxter; The Good Book Store, Little Falls; Inspirations, Wadena; Bookshelf N' Office Supply, Park Rapids; Rick's Piano & Music, Aitkin; and Corner Christian Book & Gift, St. Cloud. Tickets at the door the night of the concert, if available, will cost $15 per person. There will be open seating only.
KTIG plays long, usually 30-minute educational Christian programs on topics such as family, finances and the Bible.
Between the nationally syndicated programs comes local news, weather, and, of course, music. There's a 50:50 ratio of teaching programs to music on KTIG. Music styles vary from traditional hymns to praise and worship to light contemporary Christian.
"There's a gospel message in all the music played," said Mike Heuberger, MCBI's general manager.
KTIG also gives airtime to some local Christian artists.
KTIG, or 102.7 FM, has been on the air for 30 years. To celebrate, a concert featuring Michael Card will be at 7 p.m. on April 25 at Tornstrom Auditorium. Brainerd Dispatch/Heidi Lake » Purchase reprints of this photo.
In 1997 MCBI created KCFB, or 91.5 FM, which simulcasts KTIG to the St. Cloud area.
KTIG/KCFB provides programming for families and may appeal to an older crowd. To reach out to youths and young adults, MCBI started WZFJ 100.1 FM, or The Pulse, in 2002.
The Pulse plays adult contemporary Christian music and features shorter educational programs.
Heuberger, MCBI's general manager for all 30 years, said getting WZFJ on the air was exciting.
"What's most exciting to me, though, is to see lives change through the ministry of the stations," he said. "We're here to be an arm of the local church."
For 30 years, MCBI's mission has been to educate, encourage and evangelize.
Park said while 70 percent of the population in the lakes area doesn't go to church, many tune in to Christian radio to be fed.
"From the beginning MCBI's goal has been to present Biblically based programing that reaches across denominational lines," Heuberger said.
HEIDI LAKE may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5879.
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