KWFC is headquartered in Springfield, Missouri, and owned by the Radio Training Network. Studios are located at 2550-100 South Campbell Avenue, and tower facilities are north of Fordland, 20 miles east of the studios.
Broadcasting on a frequency of 89.1-FM at 100,000 watts, KWFC is among the most powerful radio stations in the area, with a signal reaching much of southern and central Missouri, as well as northern Arkansas. The station's size and strength have made it a leader in the southern gospel industry, with personnel recognized nationally for excellence, and in 2013, the station as a whole was named Radio Station of the Year by the Southern Gospel Music Guild.
KWFC began broadcasting on April 17, 1969 at 97.3-FM in Springfield. At the time, the station operated for most of the day, but would shut down for the night. Those early days saw a programming mix of teaching, preaching and music. The musical format was not strictly southern gospel as it is today, primarily because the genre didn't have that designation nationally.
Instead, according to a 1970 Billboard magazine article, the station aired a mix of gospel, contemporary and easy listening Christian music. That musical format would stay with the station until the 1980s when the Christian music genre diverged into better defined sub-genres (southern gospel, inspirational, contemporary christian). At that time, KWFC became primarily southern gospel.
KWFC moved into the W.F. "Bill" Askew Broadcast Center in 1979, where operations continued until February 2015. Originally, the transmitter facility was also located on the BBC campus on a 400 foot tower. It was said that the 100,000 watt signal was strong enough that students living in the dorms at the base of the tower could sometimes pick up the station signal through the metal springs in their beds.
In 1998, KWFC and BBC purchased a 1,000 foot tower (formerly owned by KSPR-TV) at Fordland, and relocated to that location. This move tripled the coverage area of the station, adding many new listeners and making KWFC the southern gospel powerhouse in the Ozarks.
At around that same time, KWFC began expanding into another technology, the Internet. In 1998, KWFC.org was launched to meet the growing demand to get information out to the world. KWFC would begin streaming its signal over the Internet in 2006.
KWFC's beginnings spawned from radio piracy when a young Jim Price began tinkering in radio as a teenager. He built a pirate radio station in his parent's garage. Not long after that, he found legitimate work as a DJ and engineer at a station in Detroit.
As he got older, he moved to Springfield, Missouri, to attend Baptist Bible College. While a student at Baptist Bible College, he convinced school leaders to begin building a Christian radio station on the campus. As the project moved along, BBC administrators hired Rev. Bill Askew.
Jim would become KWFC's first Program Director, a title he held until he left the station in the late 1970s. In 1979, he helped found Sterling Communications in Ringgold, Georgia. He spent the rest of his life helping others fulfill their dreams of building radio stations across the country. Jim passed away in 2011.
Rev. Askew began his radio career in the U.S. Marine Corp where he was a radio man serving in the Pacific theater in World War II. Following the war, he began working in commercial radio. Technology at that time required the use of engineers constantly at the station or any outside broadcast. While working for a station in Florida, Bill was assigned to be the engineer for a live broadcast from a local church. At the end of one of these services, Bill went forward to accept Jesus into his life. This would forever change the course of his life.
Over the years, Bill would work in radio and become a pastor in Florida. In 1968, he was hired by BBC to become KWFC's first General Manager. He and Jim Price worked together to make KWFC a reality.
Bill Askew would spend two stints as the station's manager. These two terms allowed him to lead the growth in the early days of KWFC, the new beginning in 1985 when KWFC moved to 89.1-FM, and the transmitter move to Fordland in 1998. He served KWFC until his death in September 2000.
Radio Training Network
In January 2015, Baptist Bible College sold KWFC to the Radio Training Network, which owns over 100 radio stations and translators throughout the southeastern United States and Missouri.
RTN Mission Statement:
To extend the reach of Christian Community, by affirming that which is positive in our culture, and penetrating our world as salt and light with the life transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ. Read our statement of faith here.
Radio Training Network (dba KWFC) is recognized as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) U.S. Internal Revenue Code.