K-Love (stylized K-LOVE) is a contemporary Christian music radio programming service in the United States operated by the Educational Media Foundation. As of March 2013, the network's programming is simulcast on over 440 FM stations and translators in 47 states. K-LOVE has about 12 million listeners each week in cities including Chicago, Denver, Des Moines, Nashville, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, and Seattle. It is also the sixth-most online-streamed station in the world.
K-Love began in 1980 as a single radio station with the call letters KCLB. It was a full-time contemporary Christian music radio station, launched by radio personality Bob Anthony, in San Francisco. After several tries at purchasing a station in San Francisco, a small, non-commercial radio station was acquired just north of San Francisco in the city of Santa Rosa for $67,000. On October 15, 1982, 91.9 KCLB came on the air for the first time with Bob Anthony as announcer. The very first song played on KCLB was "Praise The Lord" by The Imperials, which was a hit on the Christian Music charts in 1979.
With the slogan "The Positive Alternative, Christian Music Radio KCLB 92FM", the station continued to grow in support and listeners, and in 1986. Dick Jenkins was hired as General Manager. That same year, Bob Anthony left the station and moved to Oregon, to start a new radio ministry.
On September 12, 1988, a 9,000-acre brush fire destroyed KCLB's main transmitter building on Geyser Peak. The radio station transmitter was relocated to 4,000-foot Mount Saint Helena. The new location improved signal strength, and listeners reported they could now hear the station as far as 125 miles away.
As KCLB continued to expand its signal reach, in 1987 the signal could be heard on transmitters in San Rafael, Salinas, and Monterey, California that would rebroadcast KCLB's signal. In 1988, KCLB changed its call letters to KLVR, and adopted its on-air brand name K-Love and the slogan "Encouraging Words, Positive Music, K-Love Radio".
K-Love expanded its reach during the 1990s by purchasing small stations and translators, and repeating its signal. In 1992, K-Love began using satellite technology to expand to locations further away than just northern California. The Educational Media Foundation continued to purchase small translators in California but also bought stations in Portland, Oregon (KLVP), San Diego (KLVJ), Phoenix, Arizona (KLVA), Oklahoma City (KYLV) and San Antonio (KZLV).
During the 1990s, K-Love also began to expand its on-air personalities. David Pierce joined in 1991. Also Mike Novak, JD Chandler and Larry Wayne started working air shifts in the late 1990s. In addition to expanding the on-air talent, K-Love expanded its facilities and moved its headquarters from Santa Rosa to Sacramento in 1993. In 1998 K-Love increased its reach online by streaming live on klove.com.
During the decade of the 2000s, K-Love went through a period of expansion through the purchase of stations and translators across the United States. On October 5, 2000, Colorado Christian University sold KWBI Morrison/Denver, KJOL Grand Junction and KDRH Glenwood Springs, Colorado as well as 18 translators to K-Love. The Colorado radio network was sold for a reported $16.6 million. A Colorado Christian University release said the board considered "many offers from Christian, as well as other suitors," but the priority was finding a buyer committed to "top-quality Christian programming." KWBI is now KLDV, and is one of K-Love's most listened to signals. K-Love picked up the KWBI calls for their radio station in Great Bend, Kansas.
In 2003, the EMF took advantage of a window of time where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allowed for the filing of new applications for FM translators, also known as the "2003 Auction 83 filing window" and labelled as the "Great Translator Invasion of 2003." During that time, the FCC received over 13,000 applications for original construction permits on translators. EMF filled over 800 applications, of which over 250 have been approved, and most of those now carry the K-Love network.
In January 2007, the EMF purchased 94.3 WJKL Elgin, Illinois, which broadcasts to the Chicago area, for $17 million. Shortly after the purchase, a flood hit the WJKL transmitter site that knocked the station off the air for more than a week. WJKL has since moved and now broadcasts from Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois to the Chicago market. On November 30, 2007, K-Love purchased 97.3 KCXM, which was an ESPN radio affiliate for Kansas City, for $16 million. The call letters were changed to KLRX shortly after and now broadcasts from Lee's Summit to the Kansas City area. As a result, these and other station purchases, plus the new translators approved during the 2003 filing window, the K-Love radio network grew to be the largest broadcaster of contemporary Christian music in the world. By 2010, K-Love had an estimated listenership of 6 million people, from both terrestrial stations and on-line streams.
In 2002, the EMF moved its headquarters from Sacramento, California, to Rocklin. The new headquarters now housed K-Love, Air1 and Christian Music Planet magazine. On July 15, 2009, K-Love bought 101.9 WKLU, which broadcasts to Indianapolis, for $4.75 million, plus $1.55 million for the studio. The studio then became the broadcast location for the K-Love Morning Show. In January 2004, K-LOVE partnered with Premier Christian Cruises and had its first annual "K-LOVE Friends & Family Music Cruise". Passage on the cruise sold out 13 weeks after sales began in April 2003.
In 2001, Christian radio personality John Rivers, along with his wife Sherry, became the K-Love Morning Show hosts, and broadcast from their ranch in Texas. The K-Love Morning Show became popular and continued with Jon and Sherry for seven years until March 28, 2009, when it was announced that Jon and Sherry Rivers would no longer be hosting the morning show, due to family issues. Host Lisa Williams assumed the duties of hosting the program, and was later joined by Eric Allen. Other DJs also joined the K-LOVE team during this time such as Scott Smith and Kelli Caldwell, which eventually became the afternoon show. On October 1, 2007, Mike Novak was named CEO and President of EMF, K-Love, and Air1, replacing Dick Jenkins, and as a result stopped having a regular on-air shift.
Into the new decade, K-Love began to purchase more full-power stations in medium and larger markets. Since 2010, K-Love has begun broadcasting, or upgraded signals in Dayton, Ohio (WKCD formerly WCDR), Jacksonville, Florida (WCRJ), Knoxville, Tennessee (WYLV, formerly WDLF), Salt Lake City (KKAT), Stockton and San Francisco, California (KLVS). In spring, 2014 they also bought their second station in the Philadelphia market, 50,000 watt WKVP, Camden, NJ. August 1, 2014 in Hartford, Connecticut, WCCC a Boston-based Marlin Broadcasting closed on the sale to a not-for-profit organization that operates radio networks specializing in adult contemporary Christian music.
In May 2011, K-Love came on the air on WKLV Port Chester, which covers New York City. The WKLV (formerly WCTZ) signal originates from a new transmitter site atop the Trump Plaza building in New Rochelle. This is now the largest market in which K-Love can be heard. In July 2012, EMF exchanged WLVM (formerly WABB Mobile, Alabama) with Cumulus Media, for Classic Hits WRQQ Nashville. EMF changed WRQQ's call sign to WLVU, which now broadcasts K-Love programming. This was an important station for K-Love because many of the artists that are played on K-LOVE live or work in Nashville.
In the 2010s K-Love's brand power expanded. In July 2010, the network a partnership with MacDonald Motorsports #81 car and Michael McDowell in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Then in March 2012, K-LOVE announced it will be the primary sponsor on two-time NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series champ Tony Pedregon's Funny Car for 12 of the final 20 races of the season. In February 2013, K-Love announced the inaugural K-Love Fan Awards—a listener-voted awards show for contemporary Christian musicians held in Nashville; the inaugural ceremony was held in June 2013, and hosted by Phil, Kay, Jasie, and Missy Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame.
In July 2011, K-Love made changes to its on-air staff: Amanda Carroll joined the team in the mid-morning time slot, and the network announced that Lisa Williams and Eric Allen would no longer be hosting the K-Love Morning Show. JD Chandler took their place until the K-Love Morning Show with Craig, Amy, and Kankelfritz acquired the spot in November 2011.
In December 2013, K-Love presented a Christmas music special for the cable network Up, K-Love Music City Christmas. The special was hosted by Candace Cameron Bure, and featured performances of Christmas-themed music by various contemporary Christian musicians.
K-LOVE also operates an online radio stream, K-LOVE France which broadcasts a mix of English and French Christian music.
List of stations
K-Love has a full-time ministry team that processes over 100 phone calls a day of listeners in need of guidance. The pastors and staff at K-Love pray for over 1,000 prayer requests every day, and on average, intervene in one suicide case per day. People can submit prayer requests online or over the phone.
K-Love also partners with other ministries and donates air time and web site space to these ministries. Some of the ministries have included International Cooperating Ministries, Compassion International, Food For The Hungry, Teen Challenge, Cure International and Faith Comes By Hearing.
Awards and nominations
Christian Music Broadcasters Echo Awards
|2007||Air Personality of the Year (Markets 1-25 & Networks)||David Pierce (K-LOVE)||Nominated|
|Jon & Sherry Rivers (K-LOVE)||Nominated|
|Industry Impact||EMF (K-LOVE & Air1)||Nominated|
|Music Director of the Year (Markets 1-25 & Networks)||Jon Rivers (K-LOVE)||Nominated|
|Program Director of the Year (Markets 1-25 & Networks)||David Pierce (K-LOVE)||Nominated|
|2011||Promotions Director of the Year||Mike Tedesco (K-LOVE & Air1)||Won|
|2013||Station of the Year - Major Market||K-LOVE||Won|
National Religious Broadcasters Awards
|2013||Billy Graham Award for Excellence in Christian Communications||K-LOVE & Air1||Won|
Best Christian Workplaces
|2004||Media||EMF (K-LOVE & Air1)||Won|
|2006||Media (100+ Employees)||EMF (K-LOVE & Air1)||Won|
|2007||Media (100+ Employees)||EMF (K-LOVE & Air1)||Won|
K-Love is governed by the Educational Media Foundation, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit ministry. No individual owns any stock in the corporation, which is held for charitable purposes. Members of the Board of Directors at large serve without compensation for rotating four-year terms, and a person with supervisory accounting experience holds one of the board positions.
K-Love stations are licensed as non-commercial educational stations; therefore, most of K-Love's funding is provided by donations. The majority of donations are made during seasonal pledge drives, usually held in the spring and in the fall.
In addition, KLA1 Foundation is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). Founded by Billy Graham, the ECFA oversees EMF's financial affairs, ethics and reporting standards.
KLA1 Foundation is recognized by Charity Navigator with a Four-Star rating, the highest given to charities. In addition, EMF is audited yearly by an independent accounting firm, ensuring accuracy and completeness of its books and records.
Charity Navigator reported K-LOVE's CEO Mike Novak makes $463,420, including bonuses, as of 2010.