What began as a simple discussion over lunch, God has turned into a network of Christian radio stations serving Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho!
History of Your Network of Praise
In 1979, oil executive Wayland Elenburg and insurance agent Marvin Calahan had a lunchtime 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 Montana’s hi-line region.
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” radio, 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.
In June, 1991, Hi-Line’s second full-power radio station 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 its cash flow, donor base, and number of people reached by its ministry, almost overnight.
In 1994, Hi-Line was given the opportunity to uplink its programming onto satellite, enabling “Your Channel of Praise” to feed its programming to 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 trade name changed to “Your Network of Praise”.
In 2001, Your Network of Praise acquired Distant Shores Media, a company which owned KALS 97.1 FM, a commercial Christian station in Kalispell, and a translator in Polson. Ultimately, KALS was transferred into a non-profit corporation though it continued to be operated as a commercial station, separate from the operations of Your Network of Praise.
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 Manage 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.
At the beginning of 2007, plans were made to update and improve the format of Your Network of Praise by making a substantial investment in new technology, and consolidating the operations of Your Network of Praise and KALS.
With the implementation of new technology, Your Network of Praise would be able to broadcast from its own studio locations in Kalispell or Havre.
In July, 2007, Your Network of Praise debuted its updated format which included the addition of a Kalispell-based morning team featuring Dave Brown, Montana and Wyoming news with Nick Tobiason and Dave Kirby covering afternoons. Also featured is 28-year YNOP veteran announcer Lois Ramberg.
2007 was also a record year of signal expansion at Your Network of Praise as the ministry debuted 12 new FM translators, including two translators in the State of Idaho.
2008 has seen the debut of a new full-power FM station in Butte, and one new translator. And, the Federal Communications Commission has issued a number of new licenses to YNOP for new full-power stations in Montana and North Dakota.
In July, 2008, Your Network of Praise commemorated the 25th anniversary of the debut of its first station with a special all-day broadcast hosted by Network Program Director David Brown and Network General Manager Roger Lonnquist. In thanksgiving to the Lord for 25 years of His provision, YNOP launched a unique evangelistic outreach through which it is working with its audience to see 25,000 people personally told about Jesus Christ by the end of 2008, through personal distribution of a special gospel brochure produced by YNOP.
During these first 25 years, the Lord has brought so many wonderful people together to accomplish His work here at YNOP! It’s been amazing…and we look to the Lord, in awe, as we prepare for the next era here at Your Network of Praise!
Thank you for being part of our YNOP family!