WGTS-FM in Washington, D.C., won two prestigious awards.
Published on: 12-29-2021
WGTS-FM in Washington, D.C., a radio station operated by Seventh-day Adventists, was recently named Religious Station of the Year at the 2021 National Association of Broadcasters’ (NAB) Marconi Radio Awards. The awards, which recognize excellence in radio, were announced during the virtual NAB Marconi Radio Awards program on November 10.
The ceremony looked “to celebrate America’s great broadcasters for their excellence in radio,” according to organizers.
At the same time, We Need to Talk, from the same station, was named Best Radio Podcast of the Year during the ceremony. WGTS’s We Need to Talk on-air hosts are Claude Jennings and Jerry Woods, who lead a weekly discussion about race that the station describes as “open, honest, and sometimes uncomfortable in an effort to foster growth and understanding between people of all races.” Each week the hosts take questions, share stories, and discuss where they’re seeing progress, inspiring people to be a part of change.
WGTS began broadcasting in 1957 as the first noncommercial radio station to operate in the Washington, D.C., area. According to the Columbia Union Visitor, it was launched in the basement of the men’s dormitory on the campus of then Washington Missionary College, with a 10-watt transmitter that covered a scant square mile in Takoma Park, Maryland. The call letters—WGTS—echoed the college’s motto “Gateway to Service.”
In 1982 the station began broadcasting 18 hours a day, and in 1996 it changed to an inspirational Christian format. In 2004 the broadcast tower was moved to Arlington, Virginia, which helped grow its coverage area significantly. In 2018 the station was sold to the nonprofit Atlantic Gateway Communications, Inc.
According to the WGTS website, the stated mission of the station is “to encourage everyone . . . to take one step closer to Christ.” The culture of the station is founded on a commitment to integrity, service, and excellence.
WGTS president and general manager Kevin Krueger has stated that “serving listeners through Christian music radio has been a career-long blessing. Serving listeners . . . in the nation’s capital is an incredible honor, one I don’t take lightly; one that strikes me at the beginning of every day,” he said.
Though some see his station as simply religious entertainment, Krueger sees more: “The reality is that it is life-changing, hundreds of thousand times over, as God works on the hearts of listeners . . . in D.C. and worldwide online,” he said. It is that calling to share God with others that keeps it all fresh and alive, according to him. “I like to daydream about a day in heaven when we will have a huge WGTS 91.9 listener reunion and we will each share stories of how God worked in our lives through a song, a word shared—through this media ministry.”
ABOUT THE NAB
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America’s broadcasters. NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses, and seize new opportunities in the digital age. According to NAB sources, Marconi finalists were selected by a taskforce of broadcasters, and the winners were voted on by the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Selection Academy. The votes were tabulated by an independent firm.