Taylor University Broadcasting Inc. (TUBI) is serving the community through joyful noise.
Northeastern Indiana Broadcasting sold their 94.1 station to TUBI for $350,000 this summer. The station is now hosting TUBI’s with Rhythm & Praise programming. TUBI is a subsidiary of Taylor University.
The station started after TUBI underwent two years of research and interviews with leaders and pastors in the local Black community to find out what needs existed that weren’t currently being met. It was initially launched on a web streaming service in 2018.
The initial programming was a success, and TUBI continued to consult with community leaders on how to stay on mission.
Over time, they found the largest target demographic being missed were those that would benefit from an FM station.
“It's the first time that Fort Wayne has had a Black gospel station that is 24/7, and able to cover the entire county. So, it’s a historical thing,” said Ross McCampbell, executive director of TUBI. “We've heard a lot of great feedback from the community and they're excited about it.”
McCampbell is seeing the community impact in real-time. In early September, a press conference was held to announce the launch of the station. A local judge, various prominent community leaders and ministers were invited, drawing in a crowd. With the addition of local musicians, the event turned into an unofficial church service.
Program Director & DJ Monique Moss has been with Rhythm & Praise since the beginning, and has seen the impact the program has made. She regularly gets stories of people listening on their lunch break to get through their day or of parents listening with their children, and the generational range gospel music offers.
While their target demographic is 35–60 year old black women, or “seasoned saints” as Moss fondly calls them, she has become aware of their reach spreading beyond that. Recently, she had a 67-year-old white man call in, speaking of how he turned the station on when prompted by a billboard, and was moved to tears by the themes of the music.
“There is an overall theme of people calling in and just saying ‘we are so grateful’ to be able to just access a gospel station of the music that we grew up (with), and on the same sound and the same energy that represents our community,” Moss said. “Gospel music stemmed out of oppression and slavery. If you go back to the 1800s, it has a different feel. It's songs of oppression and joy. That's what makes our music different from your (Contemporary Christian Music) stations or other stations. So, it's a very niche genre of music, but to the people that grew up on that or to the people that love gospel music, it was very much needed”
Previously, the station served as a classical music station for the greater Fort Wayne area. The programming will now be available online and via 89.1 WBOI-HD2 Fort Wayne.
“Our Board of Trustees unanimously approved this sale because it allows us to continue to serve the community with 24/7 classical music while obtaining the funds to make essential digital equipment upgrades,” said Peter Dominowski, president and general manager of northeast Indiana Public Radio in a press release in June. “It is also important that 94.1 be maintained as a radio service provided by another organization with deep roots in the community.”
This will be TUBI’s second on-air programming, as they also own 90.3 WBCL. There, they run a Christian station for the Fort Wayne and tri-state region.
McCamble is reassured by the ability for the two organizations to work on mission, in addition to their support from Taylor, and serve the community together.
“We really were really pleased and encouraged by how committed Taylor is to this effort, and to the entire effort to reach multicultural communities,” said McCampell. “I think we're heading together in the right direction.”