Christian Broadcasting Company, the non-profit corporation which owns and operates KGNZ, has been incorporated in Texas since December, 1972. KGNZ went on the air March 9, 1981. The station currently operates at 91,000 watts, 24 hours a day. We cover a potential audience of about 600,000 people. The signal reaches from 80-100 miles around Abilene, and in addition transmits over San Angelo, Snyder, Graham and Lubbock by translator. KGNZ is available live worldwide via streams on KGNZ.com, TuneIn Radio, iTunes Radio on Apple TV, and via the KGNZ App for Apple and Android devices. Abilene native Jack Hill, a graduate of Abilene Christian University, founded Christian Broadcasting Company. He and his family served in Sao Paulo, Brazil as missionaries until 1965. In 1969, they moved to the New York-New Jersey area to minister. It was there they were first exposed to Christian radio and realized the blessing of regularly receiving Bible truths in music and teaching over the air waves.
In keeping with the vision to be a unifying force in the Body of Christ, board members have represented several different backgrounds: Baptist, Church of Christ, Methodist, Episcopalian, Bible Church and Non-Denominational.
Several years were spent preparing paper work and applying to the FCC. In the early 70's, only educational institutions were permitted to construct non-commercial/educational stations; therefore, the first application to the FCC was for the only remaining commercial frequency licensed to Abilene. While this application was being considered by the FCC, several other groups applied - and everyone had to wait until one was selected to receive the license. During this time, the FCC changed their position on non-commercial stations, allowing non-profit organizations to apply for these places on the dial. Since our motivation was not for profit anyway, we applied for 88.1 on the non-commercial band and quickly received a permit to construct. Since the Hills were totally unfamiliar with radio, the Lord sent skilled people at the right moment to complete the technical aspects. Charles Turner, another original board member and attorney, prepared the incorporation papers. Jack Yates, a local attorney who also served a term on the Board, prepared the necessary paperwork for CBC to receive tax-exempt status. A pharmacist in Munday, Texas "happened" to see a brochure we had prepared to mail (it was in the printer's car) and he took one, prayed about it, and felt the Lord wanted him to give $10,000 toward the project. That was our first sizable donation and bought enough used equipment to go on the air. Dick Griffith, an engineer from Big Spring suffering from kidney failure, prepared the initial application to FCC. Just as we received our permit to construct KGNZ, Dick passed away. Tom Dolan had been working with Dick and was ready to step in and complete construction. All of these people donated their time to a common goal and purpose - providing Christian radio for Abilene and eventually the Big Country area. Jack has said that the Lord chose him to build this station knowing that he could take no credit. When the Lord takes care of everything - sending important people, equipment and provisions just when needed, only He deserves the glory and praise!
Kevin Grady was the first station manager, and he worked closely with Jack to determine format and programming. Being familiar with current Christian music, Kevin was able to have programming ready when we signed on March 9, 1981 for Abilene's first full-time Christian radio station. It was an exciting moment when Gary Thomas, a local engineer who had modified some of our used equipment, spoke the first words over frequency. We have had announcers from ACU, Hardin-Simmons University, McMurry, and Dyess AFB as well as local Christians wishing to serve the Body of Christ in Abilene. All announcers started out as volunteers and in those days, it was certainly not glamorous. Our first studio was in a portable building (no bathroom) located at the foot of our tower in Potosi. We began broadcasting at 3000 watts, Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. with very limited coverage.
Over the years, the Lord has sent many talented people who love Him and are dedicated to good radio. We consider our announcers as much more than "disk jockeys." We work as ministers of God's word, using tools of music, scripture reading, and recorded teachings. As with any minister, their effectiveness can be hampered with too many tasks to accomplish while ministering. We continue to upgrade equipment to free them to more effectively minister while on-air.
This is only a brief history of KGNZ and the people involved with this ministry; we can't begin to mention all the special people - past and present who have helped us. Each person brings some needed abilities to KGNZ that no one else seems to have - the Lord sends us special people for particular areas of need. He has been faithful to bless and meet these needs. It is He who has begun and continues to work to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ through Christian radio. We continue to seek His will and desires for this ministry.