At the beginning of January, 2021, the North Caribbean Conference (NCC) announced that, as the new owner of WGOD (97.9 FM), it will launch an enhanced radio ministry. After months of planning and negotiations the Conference partnered with Adventist World Radio (AWR) and arrived at an agreement for the purchase of the radio station. The Board of Trustees of the North Caribbean Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Broadcasting Corporation will facilitate transition matters and manage the station.
Pastor Desmond James, the NCC President, commented, “This acquisition could not have come at a more opportune time, when the Church in the North Caribbean Conference is remodeling its media ministry to be more diverse, more inclusive, and more relevant as we give urgency to the proclamation of our message and the powerful fulfillment of your mission. The radio ministry, in development since 2018, is meant to connect with a community where traditional outreach is now getting more difficult. We are committed to sharing the Word of God with people in all the regions of the North Caribbean Conference. This is a tremendous achievement for the Church in the North Caribbean Conference and worthy of our celebration. We are doing all we can to make this reality a success. It can go where others cannot go and, as such, we are moving forward with the guidance of God.”
WGOD-FM is a radio station licensed in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The station was owned by the Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN) and Mr. Reynold Charles. Programs are simulcast on WIGT, which serves as a repeater for WGOD-FM. WGOD-FM and WIGT feature a mix of teaching programs and Christian music. Per the station’s FCC license, its authorized transmitter power is 50,000 watts and AWR confirmed that should it be able to operate at full capacity, it will be the most powerful radio station in the AWR network.
The radio station will continue to serve a population of approximately 250,000 spread across the geographic region of the NCC, including a SDA audience of 16,000 members, and beyond. According to the NCC Communication Director, Pastor Royston Philbert, the station will offer local programs, 24 hours daily to the United States Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, St. Eustatius, Saba and Anguilla. Pastor Philbert added, “We believe this is God’s time for His Church to proclaim His Word through this radio station. The ministry plans to offer programs about the gospel, health, family and youth issues.”
Early in December, 2019, Mr. Ray Allen, of AWR Global Training, traveled with Mr. Kent Sharpe, AWR Vice President of Finance, to St. Croix and St. Thomas for final discussions with the NCC Administrators and the 3ABN Corporation representative of the station, Mr. Reynold Charles. They completed assessments and made final plans for a new relationship.
Mr. Ray Allen, said, “Listeners should not be deterred by the new relationship since it is intended to strengthen the voice of God in the region. Listeners will get the same great content, but we will strengthen and support the ministry so that the name of God will be glorified. Adventist World Radio is committed to continuing its support of radio projects and setting up new projects.” He highlighted the connection between radio broadcast and evangelism in the region, “AWR has a new slogan, From Broadcast to Baptism, as we integrate radio with our evangelistic efforts. AWR is here to partner with you; it is your initiative, but we are here to assist you in the work of spreading the gospel.”
Mr. Kent Sharpe shared, “Everything we are doing will enhance our ability to help us reach out to people who need connection, encouragement, spiritual care and hope in their daily lives. We introduce people to Jesus, answer their questions, and invite them to become engaged with us through intentional outreach initiatives. And we appreciate the opportunity to partner with area Seventh-day Adventist churches and ministries which initiate the next steps in spiritual growth.”
The radio ministry is one of the strategic initiatives of the North Caribbean Conference. Pastor Wilmoth James, the NCC Executive Secretary and Chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee, said, “People here really want to hear from the Word of God. If we use radio, we can reach them. It is a journey we are taking by faith and we believe that the members will support the idea and contribute to the project. The spiritual message to be transmitted through the radio is unheard of. I am excited about the Church continuing from where Brother Charles started. My mother was with him when he started years ago and, today, God is opening the opportunity for the Seventh-day Adventist Church to continue the legacy. The church is indispensable in the life of many people here in the territory.”
In preparation for the transition, studio equipment has already been acquired by the AWR team and leaders from the North Caribbean Conference (NCC). The antenna will be refurbished to maximize the reach of the station. Improvements are expected to begin on the existing building and personnel will be sourced to help accomplish the mission.
“It’s all about proclaiming Jesus’ last message of salvation,” said Pastor Philbert. “This radio station’s purpose is to communicate Jesus’ love for His people before He comes. The [Conference] always dreamed of having its own radio station but obtaining a broadcast license costs a fortune. Now, years after, God is making it a reality.”
The station will be heard on 97.9 FM and via the internet. Church members and volunteers are encouraged to continue offering their support to the radio ministry through donations in the local congregations or to the North Caribbean Conference Office.