Your Celebration Radio Network
It was 1968 when Pastor Richard Tatham began to realize the power of Christian Radio after he was asked to fill in for a pastor on a station in Gooding, Idaho. One year later he and his wife, Grace, moved their family of six girls to Lake Havasu, Arizona, which had a population of approximately 18,000 people. Feeling God’s leading, Tatham called a meeting of the leaders in the Christian community to share his vision for Christian Radio. The reception was less than optimistic. Most believed a community of that size would not support it. Mr. Alan Teeple, the owner of Donaldson Instant Printing, recalls his thoughts when he learned that Tatham planned to bring Christian radio to Lake Havasu. “I thought the man was crazy, says Teeple, “I couldn’t see a Christian radio station surviving in a community this size”. The only ray of hope was from an elderly woman who committed to $50.00 per month. Grace Tatham recalls those months when the woman would pass her the fifty dollars and say, “This is for the Christian radio station.”
Without a significant budget to start the station, a real step of faith was made to proceed with applying for the first construction permit. A local commercial broadcaster, Lee Shoblem, helped start the application process by asking his F.C.C. attorney to assist. The construction permit was issued on October 26, 1982.
“With only a vision and no resources,” says Pastor Tatham, “I began to feel a lot like Moses.” He began to pray for a breakthrough- some avenue in which to get the radio station on the air. Soon he would hear of an auction at the Maricopa Community College District in Phoenix, Arizona. He learned that they would be auctioning off surplus equipment left over from a recent renovation to their broadcast facility. He traveled to Phoenix to attend the auction without even knowing what equipment was needed. He ended up with a vintage 1962 Gates Console, an old Mosely STL, Telemetry system, and various other pieces of equipment. Although it is not in the studio, the Gates console is still operational today.
Soon, other pieces of the puzzle began to come together. Pastor Tatham assisted a struggling alcoholic, named Hugh, allowing the man to take refuge on his back patio- providing he would attend church services. Hughes brother, Norm, an agnostic from Tulsa, came looking for him. Norm agreed to attend Sunday service with his brother. It was in that service that Norm walked down the aisle to the altar and gave his life to Christ. Afterward, he said, “I hear you want to build a radio station.” Pastor Tatham replied “Yes.” Norm, an engineer, said, “Give me 45 days, and the needed equipment, and I’ll have you on the air.” Pastor Tatham’s vision was becoming a reality. It was Saturday, July 16, 1983, when KNLB signed on the air.
A few years later, a retired Navy engineer and ham radio operator joined the Advance Ministries board. Bill Goode had a passion for ministry and loved to hand out tracks wherever he would go. He appreciated the line-up of programming and music on KNLB and was instrumental in extending the listening area from Yuma, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada. He made many trips in his Dodge four-wheel drive going where few dare to go.
Over the last decade, Advance Ministries has extended the reach of the ministry through the acquisition of full-power stations and translators throughout 4 states- Arizona, California, Nevada, and New Mexico. A second network, Alive FM, was launched three years ago offering a 24-hour CHR Christian music format that compliments the fifty percent music fifty percent lite AC format of the KNLB radio network. The programming of KNLB is also available on the Glorystar Satellite Network, which is a “free to air” signal with a footprint covering North America.
There were many challenges faced- Solar-powered translator sites, enclosures located in desert climates that reach 125 + degrees, antennas mounted in 60-foot Ponderosa pines- As with other broadcast ministries, there is no room in this article to share the whole story. . . .
Every ministry has a unique God-given flavor. For Advance Ministries, it is best reflected by the unique blend of teaching and music, with a special focus on developing programming for children. Few stations would be willing to commit to two hours of live call-in programming for children every afternoon. However, every weekday, at 3:05 PM Pacific time, the telephones begin to light up with young people calling to share prayer requests, song requests, and answer the daily bible question on Treehouse One. Most calls are light-hearted and fun, but some calls reflect a reality young people should not have to face. This two-hour program heard weekdays after school, features daily Bible questions with clues every 10- 12 minutes. Listeners are encouraged to get into God’s Word, where they can find the answer. The question will at times reinforce a theme from Adventures in Odyssey, which is featured during the program. Calls are recorded, edited, and played back within a few minutes during the program. It is not unusual to see three Voxpro editing stations busy editing calls.
Recently, listeners learned that Sarah, from Joshua Tree, California, is really sharp when it comes to memorizing scripture, has more than a dozen pets, and all of her siblings sport names out of the Bible. Brian from Chicopee, Massachusettes (Treehouse One is carried on other stations) helps his neighbors shovel snow from their driveways in winter and helps rake leaves in the fall. He loves giving updates on the weather in his part of the country. Jaden, from Yuma, likes to ride her horse, yet still struggles with the fact that mom and dad aren’t living together these days. Alyssa is allowed to listen from the kitchen table while doing her homework. She shares that the sound comes in loud and clear with the speakers dad installed.
It has been said that young children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them leaves an impression. To that end, Miss Debbie encourages young listeners to learn God’s Word. Many young listeners win prizes by calling and reciting verses they have memorized. A “Scripture Memory List” with categories like, “Guard Your Heart,” “Doing,” and 38 others, encourages knowing and growing with Jesus. Sensing the Love of Christ.
A CHILD WILL LEAD THEM
It is amazing how the voices of children can speak to the heart of an adult. Their voices are heard in the cab of the big eighteen-wheeler, compelling men like Jerry to call in and share: “I was crying when I heard the story of the adopted girl on your program today. Have you ever seen a 53-year-old man cry?” Meanwhile, a 91-year-old in Yuma wears a headset in her bedroom so she can listen to young children on TreeHouse One. Steven, an inmate serving life at Ironwood State Prison, near Blythe, California writes “I hang on every word. . .you do not know what this signal means to me”
Obviously, our ministry philosophy emphasizes a relationship with our listeners. Through the challenges we have faced, mountains we have had to climb, it's our listeners who have been faithful through and through; praying and supporting this ministry for over 30 years. Working together, it is exciting to know that the signal that goes out can change a life for eternity- God says His Word will not return void. We appreciate Pastor Tatham’s favorite verse:
“Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” -Ephesians 3:20.