We wanted our founders, Don and Shirley Chagle to share some thoughts and memories as they look back to the beginning to see how God worked to bring a miracle to the Tri-State and as they look forward to the future and anticipate God continuing to do great and mighty things.
When the construction permit was finally received for 101.5 FM, we didn’t know “what do we do first?” After all, Don had spent his life in auto parts sales and Shirley had spent her working years as a medical secretary. We settled on finding a definite place to set up the tower, and after almost begging the landowner to sell, he finally agreed and about 5+ acres were purchased in a dense, woodsy plot comparable to a jungle. Next came the preparation of the land, the site was cleared and the land leveled.
The tower was ordered, and then came some exciting and anxious days watching the erection of the 500 ft tower, pieces of steel being stacked one on top of the other. The next step was to build a very simple building to house the transmitter and other equipment. The building was approximately the size of a one-car garage except it had a basement. By this time, we had met Floyd and Susan Turner, who became very much involved in assisting with the building project, “shopping” for equipment, and advised in the selection of the transmitter and other equipment. Floyd had had experience as a manager of a radio station in Covington, Indiana. The Turners ultimately “came on board” in faith believing there would be funds coming sometime for his salary. Actually, the donations that were coming in were needed for the tower, equipment building, etc. Continuation of the building program was urgent in that the FCC allowed only 18 months for completion and to go on the air.
We were furnished with a listing of call letters from which we could choose the cal letters for the station. Our first choice, WBGW, was approved and we were very pleased because we had selected these letters to stand for the purpose of the radio station: We Broadcast God’s Word.
It became a “race” to get the station built and on the air in the time limit with so many details to work out. It was a difficult matter to ask for funds, especially for a project this costly. We checked with the bank, but no bank loan would be approved for a ministry that was being built “on donor support.” Left from the previous radio program we were involved with over WVHI was less that $5.00 in the corporation account, and this project was to be about $180,000 or more. The Lord led many persons to become involved in this endeavor, and as time went by, we found there were persons in various parts of our country who wanted to be a part of this new station to serve the Southern Indiana area. We were pleasantly surprised to get a matching gift from a gentleman from near Indianapolis: a gift of $21,000. What a blessing!! To this day, we have never personally met this man. His gift came at just the right time to help meet a deadline for equipment we were to receive in just a few days. (God’s timing? Yes, perfect.) There were also some churches involved as the people caught the vision of this opportunity and donated towards this effort as a missions outreach. All the funding to put WBGW on the air were gifts from God as the people responded to Him. Gifts in various amounts came I, all the way from $1.00 to about $25,000. Every dollar was important, and when it was added together, the Lord blessed it.
We well remember July 20, 1990, when the station was completed, and what a great feeling and exciting time when the switch was turned on, bringing about the ultimate goals of airing Bible teaching, playing music, and reaching listeners in our area with broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We thought our work was completed. Everything was going well. However, after being on the air several months, persons north of WBGW contacted us about the possibility of having a station in their area because they like the broadcasts down here. A decision was made to apply to the FCC for a construction permit (when a window became available) and after many, many months, it was finally granted for 88.7 FM. This station’s call letters were selected to WBHW (We Broadcast His Word). We learned we did not have to build a new tower, which saved thousands of dollars, and were blessed by being allowed to use an existing tower south of Cannelburg. Recently, we found we could expand our outreach in this area if we would build our own 500’ tower. A plot of land was purchased just south of Washington, Indiana. WBHW was moved to this site, and it is exciting to know with the higher tower, ten new counties will be added to our listening area.
It had never been our goal to “build more stations,” but when God has opened doors, we feel He expects us to go through them with Him at our side. He has always provided.
Some years ago, an opening was made available in the Albion, Illinois region for a station there. A plot of land was found and obtained, and a new tower was erected in a field of Christmas trees. This station broadcasts over 91.7 FM and is called WBJW (We Broadcast Jesus’ Word).
It has been our goal to reach people with the gospel message, win souls for Him, to teach God’s Word, to strengthen believers and encourage all persons along their paths of life. The program format has included Bible teaching, programs for children, news, various kinds of music, sports, family matters, financial guidelines and various other subjects. We hope to minister ALL PEOPLE, ALL AGES.
A low-power, translator station application has been granted by the FCC for Owensboro, Kentucky. This new addition to Thy Word Network began broadcasting on June 9, 2006. Thank the Lord for more opportunities to Broadcast God’s Word.