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an FM


By Dorothy C. Haskin

Jean Carpenter flips the transmitter switch making KHOF-FM a reality

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA’S MOST POWERFUL and only full-time Christian radio station is owned and operated by Maple Chapel (Assemblies of God) in Glendale, California.

The FM station KHOF went on the air in November, 1956, and since that time has blanketed the congested Southern California area with the best in gospel programs from sixteen to eighteen hours a day. Recently permission was granted to increase the operating power to 100,000 watts which will give KHOF more power than any other FM or AM radio station in Southern California.

It was in 1953 that the congregation, which was already broadcasting regularly, decided to increase its radio ministry. Pastor Raymond Schoch and Jean Carpenter, who is now director of the station, made a thorough investigation of the possibilities. They talked with everyone they could who knew anything about radio or television, including C. M. Ward, RevivalTime speaker. Brother Ward pointed out that “radio is an intimate medium, while television is a theatrical medium. Therefore radio is more suited for obtaining spiritual results.”

They took his advice, and decided also that it would be cheaper in the long run to build their own station than to continue to pay for adequate radio time.

A radio consulting engineer strongly advised them to go on FM. At the time this seemed ridiculous for FM was at its lowest ebb. But the man assured them that FM would come into its own as television went commercial, and AM aimed for the news and popular audience. That would leave the FM field open for the lovers of classical and sacred music.

At that time Maple Chapel had its choice of twelve spots on the FM dial and they selected the middle. Today that spot puts them between two other popular FM stations and many people must pause and listen on their way from one station to another.

Having selected their spot, they put in their request to the Federal Communications Comission. Pastor Schoch’s birthday is July 7, so he asked the Lord to let the permit arrive on that day as a special birthday present from his heavenly Father. In the morning mail there was no permit! He couldn’t believe that the Lord hadn’t answered so he and Brother Carpenter phoned Washington to see if the permit had come through. However, they could not locate anyone who knew anything about their request. So they prayed and waited.

Meanwhile another FCC official tried to send them a wire. There was a delay in delivering it but the news was released to the press. So about six p.m., a reporter from a trade journal phoned the pastor telling him, “I’d like to write a release about the small church which is starting an FM station.” The pastor paused long enough to thank the Lord for his birthday present, then gave the man the information he wanted. Afterwards, as it was Thursday, he went to the regular men’s dinner and told the church members the good news. A time of rejoicing followed.

From then on the development of the station was a story of petition, postponement, and prayer. They had had to locate suitable property before they could even apply for the license. Now they went to the man who had given them an option, but found he wanted more money and was too busy even to discuss the matter with them. Day after day they went to the man’s office. One day, in the providence of God, the real estate man was tired when they came, and invited them to join him for a cup of coffee.

Over the coffee Brother Schoch quoted God’s promise to Abraham, “I will bless them that bless thee” (Genesis 12:3). The man decided he needed some blessing and agreed to sell to Maple Chapel fifty acres for $50,000 with five thousand dollars down, only interest for two years, and then reasonable payments. It was more property than the brethren thought they needed, but they took it as a gift from the Lord.

The next step was to raise the five thousand dollars, The Maple Chapel members gave what they could, but ninety per cent of the money came from outside sources. The next day, when they were due to put the money in escrow at two o’clock, they were still short one thousand dollars. An all-night prayer meeting was called, and the next morning the phone began ringing. One man had just received an income tax refund and brought over one hundred and fifty dollars. Another phoned that someone had paid an old debt of fifty dollars and brought it over. By eleven o’clock Maple Chapel had prayed in the necessary one thousand dollars.

Seventy-five percent of the labor in building the station was done by members of the church. In order that everyone could help, the men would come directly to the station after they had finished their day’s work. They would work as long as it was light, then all would go to the church, where the women served an extra special dinner.

The securing of the transmitter itself was a miracle. Jean Carpenter read in a trade magazine that he could buy a transmitter for $2,500. He knew this was a tremendous bargain, since the original cost had been $20,000, so he told the pastor about it. Brother Schoch knew the finances of the church were such that they could not ask the members to buy it at this time, but he did announce that the equipment was available should anyone feel moved to give toward its purchase.

In the audience were two lady evangelists. They had not seen each other for years but, meeting in the foyer, they had sat together in the church. One said, “I’d like to buy half of that, how about you ?“

“So would I,” agreed the other, and they sent a note to Brother Schoch that the Lord had laid it upon their hearts to buy the transmitter. He announced the news to the congregation and a real shout of praise went up from the church. In fact, the path of KHOF has been one of thankfulness each step of the way—thankfulness for the many Christians who work part time for the station, making it possible to operate on a limited budget—thankfulness for the evangelical programs such as RevivalTime and others they are able to broadcast—thankfulness for the letters that come from listeners. There is particular rejoicing when they receive one something like this:

“I used to go to church back east (or in the middle west). Then I came to the coast to work in the aircraft industry. I made money but I never found a church home. Now, through listening to your station, I have come back to the Lord.”

A radio station is not always assigned the call letters asked for in the application. In the case of KHOF the request was granted and those letters are significant in themselves. K is the usual prefix letter for a western American station, while HOF stands for Herald of Faith. Station KHOF, with its tower on the hill, its studios, its fifty acres of land, and all its equipment, is a result of faith; and it indeed heralds the message of faith.

Those who do not understand how one small church could do so much in such a short time need but to turn to Nehemiah 4:6 to find the answer: “For the people had a mind to work.”

Article reprinted from the Pentecostal Evangel , November 30, 1958, pg. 22-23