By JOHN FORTMEYER, CNNW publisher
PORTLAND — A contemporary Christian music and ministry network will soon make a move down the Portland radio dial estimated to almost triple its potential listenership in the metro area.
WAY Media Inc, operator of WAY-FM stations in 26 states, is purchasing from 3 Horizons LLC KWEE-FM, a full-power station at 96.3 FM licensed to West Linn. The signal, which most recently has featured a hip-hop music format, will change to the Christian programming and will replace the 104.5 FM translator on which WAY-FM has broadcast since 2011.
It is at this point undetermined how soon the change in dial position will take place, said Paul VanSickle, WAY-FM’s local operations director.
“We are excited to move our signal so that WAY-FM Portland increases from 800,000 to 2 million (people) in coverage,” said WAY Media President and CEO John Scaggs. “This full-power station expansion helps cover the triangle of life where our listeners work, live and play. We look forward to being the soundtrack of Portland for those that know Jesus and those yet to know Him.”
Founded in 1987 in Florida, WAY-FM is a national, non-profit network based in Colorado Springs, Colo.; content creation and programming originates in Franklin, Tenn. Local office and studio for the Portland station is at the US Digital ministry center in Vancouver, Wash.
Scaggs noted that the Portland metro area is the most religiously unaffiliated city in the United States, with 42 percent of residents identifying as atheist, agnostic or no religion. “As odd as this might sound, this is exactly the kind of city where we want to have a WAY-FM, rather than one we run away from,” he said.
Scaggs added, “We are interested in serving Portland like never before. Much like our current signal that we are superseding, WAY-FM is community supported — donor as well as business support. This new WAY-FM signal in Portland, joining our purchase (several) weeks ago in Evansville, Ind., are examples of our intention to shore up coverage in current WAY-FM markets along with our goal to enter new markets.”
WAY-FM reaches into more than 50 communities on FM signals, including stations in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Denver, Colo.; Nashville, Tenn.; Louisville, Ky.; Huntsville, Ala.; and both West Palm Beach and Fort Myers in Florida.
Before entering the Portland market, WAY-FM for several years operated a station in Longview, Wash. The only other current WAY-FM signal in the Pacific Northwest is in Spokane, Wash.