Fort Wayne, Ind. – – The sound of Fort Wayne airwaves is a little bit different now. Late summer’s transition to early fall brought with it the sound of Christian music that has not always been heard on easily accessible FM stations. The “Rhythm & Praise” sound of 94.1 offers true diversity in the sound of Fort Wayne radio.
The many sounds of 94.1
Fort Wayne radio audiences might be familiar with the changing format of 94.1. The radio frequency seemed unable to find a niche, and a corresponding core audience. In more than a decade, 94.1 spent time as an old school soul station, and various other genres. None of them seemed terribly different from stations that already existed.
The jaded listener might learn not to get attached to 94.1, as it was never clear when the format could change. Longer running stations gained audiences’ attention with stable formats and playlists. in short, it was easy to ignore 94.1.
New station 94.1 fulfills a need, a niche
Fort Wayne’s nickname, “The City of Churches,” is no exaggeration. An integral part of many Sunday worship traditions is music. Whether the songs are hymns, now-classic songs, or contemporary Christian, the music helps to inform and underscore the messages that believers receive.
Outside of worship experiences, and worshippers own music collections, there were few music options that represented urban expressions of faith. The new “Rhythm & Praise” format changes all that.
Before developing a presence on regular FM bands, black Gospel music, along with the then-burgeoning rap, and r&b, could be heard on KOOL-FM, a cable radio station in Fort Wayne.
Some will contest that because there are other stations, WBCL, Star 88.3, and a few others, that cater to Christian tastes, Fort Wayne does not need another Christian station. However, before 107.9 changed to an all hip-hop format, it featured programming that included black Gospel music on Sunday mornings, and blues on Saturday mornings.
In addition, public radio station 89.1 for years featured “Gospel Flight” that played for a few hours on Sunday mornings from 5 a.m. until 8 a.m., right before most people went to church. The audience exists for urban praise and worship music. Now, it seems that the format will have a more permanent home in the Summit City.
The new station plays a wide range of contemporary Gospel artists, and prayer is said at the top of every hour. In some ways 94.1 goes beyond music, and responds to the more holistic needs of contemporary Gospel fans.