What began as a simple discussion over lunch, God has turned into a network of Christian radio stations serving Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and North Dakota! And, an international ministry which has provided medical care, food, tools for evangelism, and more in many places around the world!
History of Your Network of Praise
In 1979, oil executive Wayland Elenburg and insurance agent Marvin Calahan had a lunch meeting to discuss insurance. Realizing that they were both Christians, the conversation soon turned to their faith, and the need for a Christian radio station to serve Havre and the hi-line region of Montana.
In 1980, with the encouragement of many Christians in the Havre area, the two men, along with Havre CPA Jerry Waltari, established Hi-Line Radio Fellowship, Inc., a Montana non-profit, tax exempt, corporation and began the plans to build a Christian radio station in Havre!
July 28, 1983, KXEI 95.1 FM in Havre signed-on as “Your Channel of Praise”, broadcasting Christian music, teaching, and preaching programs 18 hours per day. KXEI was established as a non-commercial, listener supported radio ministry. Over the next eight years, three FM translators were added along the hi-line of Montana, and KXEI began broadcasting 24 hours per day!
June 3, 1991, Hi-Line’s second full-power radio station, KVCM, signed-on when a Helena radio station owner offered to loan an AM station in Helena to Hi-Line until it could obtain its own station there. The chance to begin broadcasting in Helena with no start-up costs enabled Hi-Line to significantly increase the number of people reached by its ministry, and its donor base and income also increased significantly almost overnight.
A major ministry opportunity began in 1994, when Hi-Line was given the opportunity to uplink its programming onto satellite, enabling “Your Channel of Praise” to feed radio stations and translators anywhere in the northwestern United States! Over the next several years new FM radio stations and translators were added serving cities and rural areas in Montana, and the organization’s name was changed to “Your Network of Praise”.
In 2001, Your Network of Praise acquired KALS 97.1FM, a commercial Christian station in Kalispell. In the years that followed, KALS continued airing its own Christian format, separate from YNOP.
In 2003, YNOP expanded its ministry to Wyoming with the purchase of KAXG, Gillette, from the American Family Association. A translator was soon added in Rock Springs, along with another full-power FM station, KOHR, in Sheridan.
In 2006, founding General Manager Ed Matter retired and Roger Lonnquist was named as his replacement. The current YNOP management team also includes Carlene Prince, Associate Network Manager, Brenda Boyum, Station Manager at KXEI and David Brown, Network Program Director.
2007 was a record year of signal expansion at Your Network of Praise as the ministry debuted 12 new FM translators, including YNOP's first two translators in the State of Idaho.
Also in 2007, the YNOP satellite uplink equipment was moved to Kalispell, and KALS & YNOP began airing the same programming much of the time, originating from the KALS studios in Kalispell. This major move not only streamlined the operations of YNOP, but enabled us to have announcers in both Kalispell and Havre on the air network-wide.
2008 saw the debut of a new full-power FM station in Butte, and one new translator. And, the Federal Communications Commission issued a number of new licenses to YNOP for new full-power stations in Montana and Wyoming, and YNOP's first station in North Dakota, KJND - Williston.
In 2009, YNOP's leadership began to feel that the Lord was directing the ministry to focus more attention on the deep spiritual and physical needs of people around the world, and how we could ask YNOP's listeners to partner with us in meeting those needs. This led to the first-ever Thanksgiving Week Outreach, a special broadcast aired throughout the morning on the Monday before Thanksgiving, 2009. This special broadcast, which is now an annual event on YNOP, focuses on providing desperately-needed funds to other ministries working around the world. Throughout 2010, the hope that YNOP International Ministries would become a reality became much more of a focus, and we continued praying for God's direction as to how YNOP could be used to reach people around the globe with His message.
God answered those prayers in early 2011, when members of a Helena-based medical missions team introduced YNOP to Bishop Eliudi Issangya, founder & President of the International Evangelism Outreach in Tanzania. Bishop Eliudi believed God was directing him to build a Christian radio station in Tanzania, but he did not have the know-how or the funds to go forward. Since YNOP has built lots of stations over the years, it seemed that this was a perfect fit, and a joyous partnership between Your Network of Praise and the International Evangelism Outreach began!
Much time has been spent from 2011 - 2014 preparing to build this missionary station...New Life Radio Tanzania... and we anticipate a sign-on in July, 2014. New Life Radio Tanzania, based in the city of Arusha, will broadcast music and programs in Swahili and English, with the radio station reaching approximately one million people, and a high-quality internet stream of the station reaching anyone in the world who can go online! We anxiously await the debut of New Life Radio Tanzania, and look forward to what God will do as YNOP and the IEO continue to partner to reach the people of Africa by radio!
As YNOP leadership continues to feel compelled to focus everything we have on ministry, the difficult decision was made to discontinue selling commercial advertising on KALS. This decision would ultimately enable KALS to devote all of its airtime, and all of its staff time, to ministry. But, it also would mean that all of the income from commercial advertising would be gone. It truly was a step of faith...and, God rewarded that faith! On January 11, 2013, less than 4 hours after announcing the decision to our staff, YNOP's management received word from the Gianforte Family Foundation that it would receive a major grant to help cover the financial losses KALS would incur as it transitioned to non-commercial operation! KALS became 100% commercial-free & listener-supported on January 1, 2014.
As Your Network of Praise looks back on more than 30 years of continuous ministry, we are deeply grateful to the Lord for His faithfulness to lead, bless, provide, and protect YNOP as we have sought to proclaim His precious message of hope and salvation!
We are also very grateful for the generosity of thousands of people who have been the means through which God has provided for the financial needs of YNOP from day one! What a joy it has been to partner with so many people and families in this ministry!
As we look at the future, we see a world that is in desperate need of hope...and, we are fully aware that the Hope they need is Jesus Christ! All of us at Your Network of Praise are committed to doing everything we can, as God directs, to meet this need.
With your prayers and support, it is our goal to proclaim...from Havre, Montana, to Arusha, Tanzania... the one Name under heaven by which men must be saved...Jesus Christ...until He returns!
To God alone be the glory, for the things He has done!