I am the only person featured on "Christian 54 Online" who never had the blessing of working for the original "Christian 54" so that means I don't have a retro photo to post... we'll work on that! You may wonder how I'm connected with WLIX. I'll explain below. I was born in Philadelphia, PA. I was raised and educated Roman Catholic. I guess I was about 10 when I decided radio was my first choice for a career. So at 17, after years of practice with a little setup in my bedroom, I was hired to do a weekend shift at a small station in Southern New Jersey... 90 minutes from my home. Over the years, I've worked AM Drive, Middays, and PM Drive in a variety of formats. If I may backtrack a little, one of my favorite pastimes growing up was listening to AM radio for stations far away at sunset. One day, I found "Christian 54 WLIX". I found this music they played sounding very contemporary, since being Catholic I thought Christian music was different artists doing their rendition of "Amazing Grace" and "How Great Thou Art". This little station (or so I thought) was very professional. I thought that someday I would like to work for them, but had no idea about ministry or salvation at the time. In 1992, I'd sit in the parking lot at college when I arrived early for class and the sun was just rising, I'd listen to Jerry Williams. At that time, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith and Kathy Troccoli were popular and getting airplay on secular stations. I thought this stuff is really good, and knowing some of the artists, it was cool. I listened when I could for a while. I called the station to get on their mailing list to receive the WLIXtra newspaper. I told the person on the other end of the phone (a very nice lady) how I listened in Philly and the signal was good most days. Heidi later told me I spoke to Janet, the receptionist, and upon hanging up with me, she probably excitedly got up from her desk and told Ops Mgr/Chief Eng John Bennett that there's a listener in Philly....Maybe she remembers my call! I remember one distinct day that God was definitely at work in me, although I was unaware at the time. It was October 1995, and I hadn't tuned in for a while, and the staff was saying goodbye for the very last time. I was saddened, this little station that seemed so good had fallen on hard times. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew this couldn't be the end of WLIX. Did I mention during all of this, I still had not been born-again? In early 1997, a couple of co-workers started presenting the Gospel to me... alright, "hounding me", so I thought. I wasn't sure why. Was I picked because I'd listen, or did they do this to everyone? In August 1997, my first marriage fell apart before my eyes. These coworkers continued to present The Word to me, although now it started to penetrate and make sense. It was around this time that a friend and mentor in radio called to say he'd purchased an AM in Scranton, PA and was going to program a Christian format. He asked me if I wanted to visit on weekends and help out. I soon found myself listening to Christian radio over secular music. During the first few weeks, I met Heidi. She was also on the team helping to get the station up and running. She told me that she had originally moved here for college, and was originally from Long Island. I found that she listened to CCM music, so I asked her if she listened to WLIX. Her response, "Listen??...I used to work there!" I'll admit, I was somewhat envious of her then. We talked about what a wonderful ministry WLIX was and how hard the last day she worked was for her (she was not there the last day, but left to return to college knowing there wouldn't be a WLIX at Christmas). I told her how I wanted to go to X-Fest '94, but couldn't find anyone to go with me. I suddenly realized as I was spending time with Heidi and getting to know her, God was revealing a new life before me, and I just had to recognize it and put it all together. Things were going well, and in the summer of 1998, I moved to NEPA. One of the artists that touched me in 1998 was Jaci Velasquez, and she was touring with 4 Him on the "Obvious" tour. I asked Heidi if she wanted to go since 4 Him is one of her favorites. We made the trip to Lancaster, PA for the concert. I was October 11, 1998, at the concert that I accepted Christ as my personal savior. It was a commitment I did not fully understand, however, at that moment I knew it was right for me and the rest of my life on earth. It had become evident that God had plans for my future that could not be fulfilled without Christ in my heart. A change in direction at the little station where Heidi and I met caused us to leave. However the dream of WLIX living on was still in our hearts. Your night guy extraordinaire, Pete Winchester, had given us the portion of the WLIX music library that was on tape. As a new Christian, I found myself looking high and low for documented history of CCM music, the artists, and how it's changed. Ten years later, I am still learning! On May 18, 2002, at a small ceremony on Long Island, Heidi and I were married. While we both worked in TV (still do), we continued to explore options to keep the legacy of WLIX alive (LPFM, Part 15AM, etc.), none seemed to progress. In 2005, I was in touch with Bob VanProoyen in Grand Rapids (Note to LIXers:He now has Cart 5 in a storefront studio set up...really cool!). I told him of our plans, and that we felt our most feasible option (Part 15 AM) could only literally reach around the corner. He recommended Internet broadcasting and told us how affordable it was. This was the answer we had been asking for. There is so much more to this and the progress up to putting "Christian 54 Online" on the internet. We're gonna develop a "miracles" page to go into further detail about these happenings and wonderful people we've been blessed with in this journey. When I think back on the last day of WLIX-AM, and how it affected me that day, it's awesome to see what Christ has done in my life, and where that thought that Heidi and I both had on that day has led us. Many days I am so humbled by the works of Our Lord... I don't know why we've been given this ministry to care for, but I know we're both honored to serve God in this way. I know I was supposed to keep this about WLIX, but I must also say I am so blessed to have Heidi as my wife, and co-founder. She keeps me focused and my eyes on Jesus. She's a blessing we all need. Thank you Lord! Welcome to "Christian 54 Online". I hope this wonderful music, ministry, and memories awakens your heart, brings back some memories and most of all draws you closer to your Savior, Jesus Christ.
A tribute to 16 great years of ministry and music on Long Island, Christian54 WLIX-AM