Here in the office, it is The Calm Before the Storm. Our list of things to do before Sharathon begins has slowly been ticked off.
Thank-you gifts labeled and packaged? Check. (Stuff Billy's studio nearly to the ceiling with said boxes so that no one can see out the window? Check.)
Set up the database and start totaling pre-Sharathon gifts? Check.
Plan meals for 50+ people every day, plus buy junk - er, snack food? Check.
Sort through giveaways sent by our programmers and figure out what will be given out when? Check.
Rearrange and clean entire building in preparation for Monday? ... Well, we're getting there!
And those are just some of the tasks that must be accomplished every year before we kick things off bright and early on Monday morning. I'm not sure how it happens, but every year we (and by "we," I mostly mean, Susan Turner: Sharathon Super Woman) manage to get it all done! We hope that you plan to join us as we kick things off at 6:30 a.m. on Monday, September 10. We're excited to see all the ways that God's people have found to "Give Unto the Lord!"
By the way, work on the new WBHW tower outside Washington still goes on. Despite a few setbacks, it is nearing completion. We've added some new photos to our WBHW Upgrade Project album - take a few seconds to check out the progress!
It's been a very busy past couple of weeks here at Thy Word Network! We've had to get ready for our Golf Scramble and Sharathon, and we're still in the middle of the WBHW tower project.
If you were to walk into our offices right now, you'd really have to watch your step! We seem to be in the process of accumulating boxes. We've got boxes of radio equipment, boxes of books, boxes of CDs, boxes of boxes and envelopes, boxes of food and drinks, and boxes of miscellaneous giveaway prizes. They're stacked up against every wall and in the middle of the room and on just about every available flat surface. Navigating the room requires some serious bob-and-weave maneuvering! Everything has to be taken out of said boxes, labeled, stuffed into a mailer and then put back in the boxes in preparation for Sharathon. We're not sure where we're going to put everything once we run out of wall space, but we'll come up with something!
Last week, here in the office, we were trying to prepare for the Golf Scramble and attempting to get a handle on the list of things we need to take care of before Sharathon begins (surrounded by boxes). It had gotten so hot in the transmitter building at the current WBHW site that the A/C couldn't keep up, and so it just gave up. This, of course, shut down the equipment, and knocked WBHW off the air. Floyd got to spend Wednesday morning installing a new air conditioner, and then he headed to the new tower site to start on some things that needed to be done there. In the middle of all this, the FCC decided to make a surprise inspection visit to make sure that all of our records and equipment were in order for WBJW (they were). So we cleared a space amidst all the boxes, and did our best to accomodate him. Floyd then completed his day by driving from Washington to Albion to help complete the WBJW inspection. It seems that if it's not one thing, it will always be another!
Most of our staff was out of the office on Friday to help with the Golf Scramble at Cambridge Golf Club. It was hot, but a fun break from "the usual". I got to spend my morning riding around in the beverage cart, passing out drinks and snacks and taking pictures (which you can see here). This required putting my life in Bill Turner's hands, as he did all the driving. The boy is a good driver, but when he gets in a golf cart, he acknowledges only one speed: Pedal To The Floor. At least this created a good breeze.
This week, Susan and I are attempting to plow on through Sharathon preparations while Floyd, Rick and Bill work at the new tower site to build a transmitter building. So far all is going well, but we always appreciate your prayers for this ministry as we strive to move forward. Sharathon is just a few short weeks away, and we're looking forward to seeing all of our volunteers and visitors. Give us a call at (800) 264-5550 if you'd like to come up and help out September 10, 11 or 12th!
We hope to be back with more behind-the-scenes information soon! (Assuming we're not wholly swallowed up by boxes first ...)
We love it when our faithful listeners take it upon themselves to creatively raise the money that they use to support our stations. It adds a little "extra" to our day, because we love hearing about the effort, and how much this ministry means to our community.
Thy Word Network's WBHW Tower Upgrade Project recently received a financial boost from the generous members of Loogootee Christian Church, some of them rather on the young side! Shortly after our big "race to the finish" with the Loogootee 500 tower fundraiser, Ed Frost, LCC's Minister, contacted us about raising money for the project during the church's "Take the Plunge With Jesus" Vacation Bible School program. They displayed photos from our construction efforts and built a tower out of Legos to mark their progress.
Recently, Mr. Frost sent us an update on their efforts.
Last week was Vacation Bible School here at Loogootee Christian Church. We chose Thy Word's radio tower project as our mission for the week. God really blew us out of the water with the results for the week.
We had set a goal of $250 for the radio tower project. But God had different things in mind. By Wednesday night we had exceeded the goal of $250 ... so we raised the goal to $500 ... and God again had something different in mind, because by Friday night the total offering had reached $605 for the new radio tower project.
We praise God for the awesome week that we had with the young people. And we praise God for the ministry of Thy Word Network and are thrilled to partner with you in the radio tower project.
And we're thrilled to have everyone at LCC partnering with us, as well! Thanks to generous givers like the children at this Vacation Bible School, our new tower outside of Washington, Ind. is nearly ready to begin broadcasting!
It's that time of year again. School starts in a little over two weeks, so it's time for me (Nate) to say goodbye to Thy Word Network for the year and to start packing up all my belongings to cart away to Purdue. And this is also a good time to reflect over the summer.
It's been a busy summer, and the time has flown by. Back in May, we at Thy Word Network began our campaign to raise funds to build a new WBHW Tower near Loogootee, Indiana. The fund raiser was a complete success, and we were able to begin construction. Over the past weeks, we've had several interesting moments as parts have begun arriving, mostly in functional states (although a few resembled giant metal pretzels), and as the tower crews have begun and finished construction on the actual tower structure. Even with the actual 500-foot tower standing, we still have much work to do. The site requires a building to house a transmitter, which we will be building.
We've even had some humorous moments this summer, including the early Saturday morning several weeks ago when Rick and Billy had to rush out to the station--our alarms were going off warning us of system errors because we weren't receiving our satellite signals from our programmers. Had vandals cut the line? No. Rick and Billy just found a massive ant's nest inside the satellite dish.
Personally, though, my summer has focused more on the online portion of our ministry. Going into the summer, we at Thy Word Network had great ambitions to refine our website to better minister to and serve you, our listeners / web viewers. We've wanted everything about our website to point to ministry and the Lord; to display His glory in every tag of every page. And we've wanted to serve you.
Over the past three months, we've worked hard to make our website prettier, and to make pertinent information more accessible, and to make everything just a little easier to use. We've tried to keep you in-the-know, with the introduction of two new email lists, and two brand new RSS feeds. We've worked hard to up the quality of our Online Daily Devotionals, and to bring you more features in one place, including syndicated headlines on our front page, an Online Community, a vastly upgraded and searchable Community Calendar, and even brand new features like our In the Studio interview archives, which we'll be filling over the next few months. Within a few months, we'll even be increasing the quality of our online Radio Streaming, so you'll be able to listen to our broadcast online anywhere in the world with near-CD quality sound.
But even though we're finished upgrading our website for the summer, we're never finished upgrading our web ministry. Ultimately, our website is meant to be an ever-improving tool for you, our listeners. So, as we forge forward, by all means, let us know how our website can be further improved in the future to make it easier for you to use, or what features would be more helpful to you and minister to you in a greater way.
I feel a sense of deja vu. Seriously. Let me tell you about it. So the delivery guy shows up the other day with a huge, beaten-up, shady-looking box. I use the word "box" loosely, because this "box" didn't have single side still intact. Seriously, did all the delivery company employees just take turns hitting the thing with metal rods? Running it over with their trucks?
Sound familiar? It should if you've read our first blog: What $2100 Will Buy. Last time it turned out well. But this time ... well ... opening the box this time, we found an antenna.
Basically, our towers in Loogootee, Owensboro, and Albion all function similarly: they have a single building with a transmitter inside of it, and the tower and an antenna outside. Those three towers act like relay stations. Their giant antennae pick up the 101.5 FM signal that we broadcast out of Evansville, convert it to the new respective signal (106.5, 88.7, or 91.7) and then rebroadcast it.
And this antenna that we had just opened up was at some point in time the antenna for our new Loogootee tower. But I guess someone thought that we had ordered a giant metal pretzel, no cheese, please, because that's what was in the box. I'm reminded of a certain commercial that has chimpanzees testing luggage by throwing it against walls. I guess commercials don't always lie.
So we have to get a new antenna. Again. But that's not where our tower tribulation ends.
We also needed a building to house the transmitter - the actual equipment that transfers the signal from 101.5 to the other frequencies. So, Floyd bought two old AT&T cellphone/microwave transmitter buildings. Imagine two giant steel boxes with 10' ceilings, and a giant swinging door. Kind of like a reinforced shed. The buildings are mobile, so they can be put on trucks and transferred wherever they're needed. Apparently, though, AT&T sells their old microwave transmitter buildings with all their equipment still inside, so all of us guys at the station spent about four days stripping all the equipment out of the buildings, separating the metals into their respective types, and sending it all to be recycled. It was a great way to get away from the office for a few days, and to pick up some extra funding for Christian Radio on the side!
Anyway, we sold one of the buildings to a radio station in Ohio that is also building a new tower. The other station decided to transport their building to their location as soon as we finished clearing out all the equipment. And the very next day we received a phone call. Apparently, their transport company took the building under an underpass that just didn't have sufficient clearance. Suffice it to say, their building is no longer a building. It's more like a pile of scrap sitting on the side of Highway 41.
Since the other station is on a tighter deadline than we are, we decided to sell them our second building, too. Which, if you're counting, leaves us without a building. But not to worry - Floyd is amazing with tools, so we're going to build ourselves a reinforced concrete, metal-covered building on-site. It will take a little more time than expected, but ultimately, our building will be much better quality than what we originally bought.
So things are looking up. We should be receiving our new, hopefully non-contorted, antenna soon. The tower crews should start construction on Monday. And when they're finished building the tower, we'll start building our transmitter building. Let's just pray that nothing else goes wrong.
So the delivery guy shows up the other day with a huge, beaten-up, shady-looking box. I use the word "box" loosely, because this "box" didn't have single side still intact. Seriously, did all the delivery company employees just take turns hitting the thing with metal rods? Running it over with their trucks?
Normally the guy walks in with nice neat packages, but I'm just staring wide-eyed at this massive mess of a package that the UPS guy is absolutely struggling to put down. I mean he's seriously working. That box must've been at least 150 pounds. But what do you do with a delivery like that? I mean, honestly, do you even accept boxes when they look like that?
Well, it turns out it's a good thing that I accepted the delivery of the package. When Floyd got back from lunch, we pry the cardboard wrapping from around the package, and find.... three huge... metal things. These three huge metal things are called turnbuckles. They cost about $100 a pop, so that shady looking box was worth about $300.
What most people don't realize is that a radio tower actually narrows at its base. The part of the tower that makes contact with the ground is a metal disc about the size of a medium pizza, which pivots on a 5 inch bolt.
This means that the ground basically doesn't hold the tower upright at all. So a radio tower needs dozens of guy wires - huge cables that pull the tower in every direction - to hold it upright. The turnbuckles are what bolt into the ground and hold the guy wires into the ground.
Fifteen turnbuckles and dozens of bolts, fasteners, cables, and wires later, we've spent about $2100 so far. So for everyone who's wondering how we spent the first $2100 of the money we raised during the Loogootee 500 Race Week, now you know.