WPRJ

Infobox Radio station
name = WPRJ


city = Coleman, Michigan
area = [http://www.radio-locator.com/cgi-bin/pat?call=WPRJ&service=FM&status=L&hours=U]
branding = 101.7 The Fuse
slogan =
airdate =
frequency = 101.7 MHz
format = Religious; Contemporary Christian
power = 4,600 watts
erp =
class = A
callsign_meaning = Praise Jesus
former_callsigns = WSMZ (8/8/88-9/27/91)
owner = Come Together Ministries
webcast =
website = [http://www.1017thefuse.com/ http://www.1017thefuse.com/]
affiliations =

WPRJ is the callsign for an FM radio station in Coleman, Michigan which is owned by Come Together Ministries and broadcasts at 101.7 FM. WPRJ swapped frequencies in 1996 with WWBN, 101.5 FM in Flint, MI WPRJ is a non-profit Christian Hit Radio station and now uses the nickname The Fuse.

History

Early History

WPRJ came into existence when General Manager Gary "B" Gary and wife Patty Jo had a desire to bring a 24-hour contemporary Christian radio station to the Central Michigan area. Gary was a Michigan radio personality who had worked at WCEN-AM & WCEN-FM for several years.

After several failed attempts with different frequencies on AM or FM radio, WPRJ finally settled at 101.5 FM on December 7, 1992. For most of 1992, the station was only operational a few hours a day and had a combination Praise and Worship and Contemporary Christian format. This continued until the station became automated and affiliated with the MorningStar Radio Network. During this time, the station was Contemporary Christian in format and used their callsign as an acronym for promotions (We PRaise Jesus). Later, the station adopted the slogan "Piercing the Darkness with the Light of Christ," a phrase taken from the popular book, "Piercing the Darkness," by Frank E. Peretti.

During these early years the station work to build an audience and market itself as a Christian band in Central Michigan. Jeff Schultz was the local voice in the mornings with the show “Daybreak.” In addition to this role Jeff was also responsible for sales (Jeff continues to work at the station today). Brian “Doc” Erwin (1992-2002), a recent graduate of Spring Arbor University was later brought in to cover evenings and become the first Music Director. Before leaving to Africa for full time missions, Tim Wright was an on-air talent. Connie Weiber (1992-2006) and current executive board member) was also prominent at this time as the Operations Manager and voice talent. During the early years the staff worked hard to promote a quality sound and build a local loyal audience.

1999-2003

The period between 1995 and 2003 provided much growth for the station. A new building was purchased giving the staff much needed "room to grow." The station had dropped the slogan Piercing the Darkness and was just promoting itself as "Praise Radio" and later as "FM 101.7." The morning show “Daybreak” with Jeff Shultz was becoming popular, particularly with men 28-50. Additionally Jeff was becoming more known in the community and working with national groups such as Promise Keepers. Brian “Doc” Erwin was also continuing to enhance the music rotation of the station during live hours and working to sharpen the local feel of the station. Listeners often had no clue that the station was automated for the majority of the day. The station also hired a second Spring Arbor University graduate, Tom Davis (1999-2002) for operations and as an additional programmer.

It at this point that the management of the station began to look to the local university for production and air talent. Between 1995-2002 five students from Central Michigan University began to work at the station in promotions, talent and operations. Matt “Bigfoot” March (1993-1999) a broadcasting major, hosted evenings and was responsible for the creation of “Christian Skate Night” at the Midland Roll Arena and Spinning Wheels in Mt. Pleasant. Matt also provided help in studio operations and engineering. Patric Spence (1996-2000) joined the station as an on-air personalty and community promotions. He also hosted the Friday night all request jam, most of the on-location remotes, and the New Year's Eve special. James Oakley (1999-2001) a broadcasting major started as a station intern and moved up to graphic design and evening host. Finally, Brian Mackie (1999-2002) an Education major was hired to take over Christian Skate where he made popular the phrase "If You ain't skatin, you ain't livin'" in addition to working nights and weekends. Brian quickly became popular and moved into evenings.

By 2003 the four college students had graduated and left work at WPRJ. The station was slow to replace them and was looking to replace the energy and community presence the students provided. Additionally three of the four student employees went on to pursue graduate ministry studies, each obtaining a Master of Divinity and becoming full time ministers. The station during this time was unaware that it was a training ground for future ministers. The fourth student went on for graduate studies and obtained a PhD.

In 2003 Brian "Doc" Erwin and Tom Davis also moved on to other radio opportunities leaving the station with an uncertain future and looking for direction.

WPRJ Today

Due to the success of WPRJ, several commercial Christian stations began broadcasting in the Central Michigan area. With the increased competition and the fact that WPRJ was listener supported, management felt that the station would need a new niche to remain competitive. The station moved from a Contemporary Christian format to a Christian Hit Radio format and began to be known as "The Fuse," a popular slogan for Christian Hit Radio stations.

Jeff Shultz moved out of the position of host of "Daybreak." Eli and Dice in the morning replaced "Daybreak." Scott Moore was brought on for promotions and air-talent. John Engler and Josh Thompson were new board operators.

The station garnered some attention over the Fourth of July weekend in 2008 by playing "Veggie Radio," featuring nothing but VeggieTales skits and songs. The Fuse's loyal listeners feared the stunt was a herald of a format change, but the station returned to its normal Christian Hit Radio format after the weekend was over.

Translators

RadioTranslators
callsign = WPRJ
call1 = W244BS
freq1 = 96.7 FM
city1 = Alma, Michigan

Sources

* [http://www.michiguide.com/dials/rad-p/wprj.html Michiguide.com - WPRJ History]
* [http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://my.voyager.net/wprj/main.htm Old website at Archive.org]

External links

*FMQ|WPRJ


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