|City of license||Takoma Park, Maryland|
|Broadcast area||Washington, D.C.|
|Format||CCM and Talk|
|Callsign meaning||Washington's Gateway To Service|
|Owner||Washington Adventist University Broadcasting|
In 1946 Columbia Union College (now Washington Adventist University) started the station as an AM carrier broadcasting to the dormitories. In 1957 CUC received an FM broadcasting licence from the FCC, enabling a larger population to receive its signal. In 1997 the station dropped its classical music programming after approximately 20 years, in favor of contemporary Christian music (CCM), a format not offered in the Washington DC area. Since then, the station's listenership increased, and it became the second most-listened to non-commercial religious station in the country.
In 2004 WGTS expanded its coverage of the DC area when its application for a new tower located in Arlington, Virginia, was approved by the FCC. It almost doubled its previous coverage, reaching more of northern Virginia and northern and western Maryland.
When the FCC decided to set aside all F.M. band frequencies below 92.1 MHz to be used as public (i.e. listener-supported) educational stations that did not sell advertising, WGTS was the first in the DC area to be recognized. It was the first station in Washington to go stereo.
Gerry Fuller was the host of its long-running Saturday morning broadcast Breakaway (formerly Saturday Seminar). Fuller was a licensed DDS in the Washington area and hosted Breakaway for over 39 years, interviewing authors, speakers and musicians who talk about Christianity. Guests have included James Dobson and his wife Shirley, CeCe Winans, Ben Carson, Barry Black, Philip Yancey and Charles Stanley. Fuller also served as president of the board at the station. He died on July 1, 2012 at the age of 83.
Familiar names to listeners of the station include Jerry and Blanca, the morning show team from 5:30-10a. Becky, the midday host on weekdays, started with the station at its format change in 1997, when she helped start the new morning team. She also worked locally as a traffic reporter for WTOP and WMAL before returning to the station full-time. Brennan, the weeknight and Saturday night host, is the station's production director and has also worked in the Huntsville, Alabama, market at WOCG on the campus of Oakwood College. Rob Conway, the station's music director, is the overnight deejay. Angela Stevens, the host from 4pm to 8pm on Saturday, came to the station from Clear Channel's Washington cluster in fall 2006 to take over on-air and promotions duties. Ty McFarland joined the station in spring of 2006 from KTSY in Boise, Idaho, a sister Adventist station, to be senior program director.
In 1996 Don Wheeler was replaced as general manager by John Konrad, has worked at the station from the late 1980s, first as a high school student and then as a college intern. He died on January 2, at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, after suffering from bilateral pneumonia since mid-December.
WGTS features a limited rotation of Christian music for most of its programming, with a few locally produced religious talk programs at weekends. WGTS previously had a weekend night time show, Reflections, which played black Gospel music. However, when another station, WPRS-FM, began featuring that format full-time, WGTS dropped the show.
WGTS is a non-profit, listener-supported radio station. It has two fund raisers a year, and is a federally recognized charity. The station is licensed to WGTS/Washington Adventist University Broadcasting, Inc., a self-supporting subsidiary of Washington Adventist University. Both the station's owners and studio are located in Takoma Park, immediately next to Washington D.C..
According to a July 18, 2007, article in the Washington Times, sources close to the station said that the station would be sold to American Public Media (the parent company of Minnesota Public Radio) to produce a news/talk station similar to KPCC in Los Angeles. Several websites were set up to lobby for the Christian format of WGTS, which would probably be dropped should the station have been sold. It was believed that the offer by American Public Media was for approximately US$20–25 million, and that a $10 million initial offer by the WGTS board of directors to keep the station within Washington Adventist University was rejected. In a change of direction, on September 20, 2007, the college board voted to halt any current discussions of selling WGTS.
- WGTS Official Website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WGTS
- Radio-Locator information on WGTS
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WGTS
- SaveWGTS.net Website
- SaveWGTS.org Website