106.9 The Light Now Heard in Knoxville
First Purchase in 49 Years for Blue Ridge Broadcasting
March 30, 2012 - The radio station founded by Billy Graham extends its reach by purchasing 106.7 WRJK-FM, which reaches a potential audience of 562,700 people in the Knoxville, Tenn., metro area.
By Trevor Freeze
With its antenna perched on one of the highest peaks east of the Mississippi River, 106.9 The Light (WMIT) has a signal that reaches parts of seven states, an area ranked 12th largest among all FM radio stations in the country.
On Thursday, that reach expanded just a bit farther.
Blue Ridge Broadcasting, Inc. (BRB) of Asheville, N.C., a listener-supported ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, finalized the purchase of WRJK-FM (soon to be known as 106.7 the Light), which serves the Knoxville, TN., metro area.
Blue Ridge Broadcasting, Inc. (BRB) of Asheville, N.C., finalized the purchase of WRJK-FM, which covers the Knoxville, Tenn., metro area, adding 106.7 The Light to the BRB family.
"Knoxville is an area that is just on the western periphery of 106.9 The Light's coverage area," said Jim Kirkland, Director of Radio for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. "We saw serving this region as a natural extension of our radio ministry."
Knoxville becomes the fifth metro market served by BRB, adding to Asheville, Charlotte, Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C. and the Tri Cities (Kingsport, Johnson City/Bristol) of Tenn./Va.
Before the acquisition, 106.9 The Light's coverage area reached approximately 5.2 million people, covering the western third of North Carolina, about half of South Carolina and extending as far as Bluefield, WV., Middlesboro, KY., and Toccoa, GA.
WRJK-FM, formerly a 70's/80's rock station, has a signal covering 562,700 people in the Knoxville metro area.
"We're beyond delighted at how the Lord opened this opportunity to share the hope of Jesus Christ through music, messages, and relationships via 106.7 The Light," Kirkland said. "Our team is humbled, even a little amazed, at the number of folks who've gone out of their way to welcome us to their hometown."
With 382,000 weekly listeners and an unlimited reach with online streaming at www.TheLightFM.org, BRB hopes to serve even more listeners with its threefold ministry focus of evangelism, discipleship, and mission.
"Breathing life into that mission statement means serving people with music and teaching messages over the air and on the Internet," Kirkland said. “And developing a real, authentic presence in the community."
Both Billy Graham and his son Franklin have held well-received events with long-standing relationships in the Knoxville community. Mr. Graham's 1970 Crusade was held at the University of Tennessee's Neyland Stadium while Franklin Graham hosted a similar event at UT's Thompson-Boling Arena in 2008.
"Over the years, our founder Billy Graham, and Franklin Graham, have reached thousands in the Knoxville area for Christ," Kirkland said. "That's helped provide 106.7 The Light the blessing of a warm welcome."
Kirkland added: "On or off the air, relationships are everything. We fulfill the principles of evangelism, discipleship and missions only if we build lasting relationships in the communities we serve."
WRJK-FM broadcasts 106.7 MHz with a power of 1.1 kW from an antenna sitting 751 feet above average terrain. The antenna for 106.9 The Light sits 6,745 feet above sea level just 2.5 miles southwest of Mount Mitchell, which is the namesake for the “MIT” in WMIT.
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