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Broadcasting faith to Woodbury

Local radio listeners will soon have a new station to consider on the FM dial.

The station, 88.1, has secured Federal Communications Commission rights to broadcast in the Twin Cities

Officials for the non-commercial station WAJC, backed by nonprofit Religious Information Network, said its programming will include local issues, local sports, local artists and its own Christian programming.

"Our main purpose is educational," said Jill Martin Rische, director of programming. "We're very much an old-fashioned community radio station."

The station would be constructed in Woodbury while an antenna would likely be erected in Inver Grove Heights.

Martin Rische said they are hoping to have the radio station live within six months. The station must be on the air by April 2013 or the FCC license expires.

The 1,200-watt station would be on the air 24-7.

A chance of a lifetime

Martin Rische said it was back in 2007 when they learned of the available frequency from the FCC.

"Most frequencies were snatched up 30 years ago," she said. "It's almost like hunting for buried treasure looking for those frequencies."

Martin Rische said her decision to apply for the available frequency stemmed from her life growing up in radio.

Martin Rische's father, Walter Martin, was a popular Christian radio personality.

"I've been in radio all my life," she said. "I've always had a love of radio."

Religious Information Network's concept is unique from other radio stations in that it will not pipe in any programming, but rather solicit community contributors.

"We're trying to put roots in the community," Martin Rische said. "We are totally focused on helping and becoming involved and supporting our local community.

"We're trying to reach out and do something different than what you currently see."

The only caveat for programming is that it cannot be programs that try to sell products.

"We're not about selling things," Martin Rische said. "We're about community and personality."

In addition to the community program, WAJC FM 88.1 will also broadcast its own Christian programming.

One program that Martin Rische is considering having includes a talk radio program where people from different faiths come on to discuss their beliefs, their differences and how to better work together.

"We're very open to discussion with people about who they are and why they believe what they believe," she said.

Currently Martin Rische is seeking local support to underwrite programming costs.

An informational session about WAJC FM 88.1 will be held Sept. 7 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Central Park, Room A. Coffee and pastries will be served.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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