Saturday, December 12, 2015

WGTS - World's Gateway to Service

I always find it interesting that one of the most valuable entities in Takoma Park gets such little local attention.  WGTS, the contemporary Christian music radio station owned by and operated at Washington Adventist University, was valued at at least $25 million in 2007 when American Public Radio came close to purchasing the station.  They planned  to convert it into a news and public affairs station that would compete with WAMU and WTOP.  At the time, the endowment of the then-named Columbia Union College was said to be around $4 million.  According to a subsequent article -
WGTS-FM broadcasts from a converted World War II-era Quonset hut squeezed into a corner of Columbia Union College's shoe-box campus in Takoma Park. The building's roof leaks. Inside, the station's cramped offices are outfitted with enough hand-me-down furniture to stock a Goodwill store. Today, the general manager's German shepherd, Andy, is hanging out, wandering from room to room between naps.
but the station was also said to have a fairly large and extremely loyal groups of listeners throughout the DC area.

I can't imagine things changing much at the nonprofit, listen-supported station, but it would be nice if such a potentially valuable resource had more of an impact in its community and in the area generally.  Oh, and also a roof that doesn't leak. 

4 comments:


  1. And one of the ironies I have found is that this station with a handful of FT employees is typically ahead in the ratings of WNEW, the CBS-funded news operation with an army of workers.

    I believe that WGTS's primary transmitter is actually in Arlington with the back-up at the school.

    As for local impact, maybe we will see that when WOWD goes online in a few months. WOWD looks like it will be all local all the time!

    http://takomaradio.org/

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  2. This station has actually changed a lot in the past couple of years. The building has been completely remodeled and the staffing has increased. This station typically ranks in the top half of all stations in the DC market, and is performing quite well.

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    1. I'm glad to hear that physical conditions have improved. I still think that it is an underutilized resource, especially in its immediate community. After all, it seems that most people in Takoma Park don't know that it exists. Given that the Adventist church is a worldwide faith (with fairly aggressive radio proselytizing efforts), I would think that a non-profit public affairs station with an international focus would be a natural fit for the station, community, and market. Nowadays, they could continue to stream religious music programming online for those listeners.

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  3. This station has actually changed a lot in the past couple of years. The building has been completely remodeled and the staffing has increased. This station typically ranks in the top half of all stations in the DC market, and is performing quite well.

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