One of the largest churches in the county has launched its own community FM radio station at 99.5 covering the mid-county on air and the world by webcast.
KHEA-FM offers contemporary Christian music and related programming from its studios at La Marque’s Abundant Life Christian Center.
As small, nonprofit operations go, this is a polished and professional effort, blending on-air volunteer DJs, packaged programming like a James Dobson moment and local adverts for Abundant’s day care program with a top 25 set of popular Christian music.
Gardy Garcia is one of the station’s on-air personalities. He offered a clear vision of his mission on the busy FM dial here in the greater Houston area.
“Being a DJ gives you an opportunity to communicate and interact, both over the air and also online, with listeners,” he said. “We offer a positive, relevant message and powerful, inspirational music.”
Some old media is fading in favor of social media. TV viewers may cut their cable cords these days and go with streaming services, but in their cars, Americans are still big on FM radio.
“Radio is a great way to reach young adults and people of all ages,” Garcia said. “People are so savvy to social technology today and radio is a proven method of connecting with people in an ongoing dialogue.”
And prayer is a big part of that interaction at KHEA, staffers agreed.
“During the day you have an opportunity to pray and encourage listeners about things that affect our everyday lives,” Garcia added. “There are a lot of voices that people listen to and we want to be one of the positive sounds they hear. There are so many ways God can speak to a person and I hope, in some small way, God will use my voice and our station’s message as a positive and encouraging sound. I like to think that every time I speak as a DJ, I make a new friend.”
The station boasts a 20-mile effective signal radius from it’s 200-foot tower off Hallam Drive in La Marque. Those outside this footprint can find the same feed at khearadio.com.
Musician, former newsman and current KHEA staffer Curt Casper is the designated creative behind the station’s programing focus.
“We’re here to show Jesus’ love to those who might not have heard about it,” Casper said.
At last count, the Federal Communications Commission counted some 32,975 radio outlets in the United States, but this one became one of a few local outlets for timely community updates after Hurricane Harvey.
“We were getting about five semitrailer trucks of relief supplies daily here at Abundant Life,” Casper said. “We constantly informed listeners about their arrival and what they brought. About 1,000 people came out each time for needs like diapers, formula and other essentials.”
The pair said that both donations and underwriters are welcome and essential to the station’s sustainability. Like all community stations, KHEA cannot sell advertising.
Its main studio contains multiple microphones, widescreen computer monitors and has the traditional picture window to allow others in the building to view the on-air activities.
Station call letters are generally assigned randomly for small stations, so the “k-hear” concept is a back-formation after the fact, but the staff say locals are listening to its blend of contemporary Christian music which tilts toward worship tunes.