Kinship Radio’s Story
All great ministries begin with a need and a dream for a solution. Planning, followed by hard work bring the dream into reality. If stewarded well, a legacy of service cultivated and grown.
Such was the case with Kinship Radio. In the late 1970’s, several groups in the Blue Earth, Minnesota region began praying for a Christian radio station to serve them, as existing stations in Minneapolis, Rochester and Sioux Falls, South Dakota were too distant to provide service. About the same time, Maurice “Maury” Schwen had two identical dreams in which he saw a radio tower with a lighted message on it, declaring, “Jesus is Lord.” After the second dream, Maury approached his pastor asking what he should do. His pastor replied, “Maybe the Lord wants you to build a radio station.”
A prayer meeting was formed in the basement of Salem Methodist Church, Blue Earth, with about twenty people present. From this group, a board of directors was created, seed money was collected and the pursuit of a license to broadcast was begun in earnest.
On November 29th, 1983, the new Blue Earth based Christian radio station with the call letters KJLY signed on. A dedication ceremony was first conducted and at sign-on, the Star-Spangled Banner was broadcast. General Manager Mike Heuberger then introduced KJLY to listeners, pronouncing it “on the air.” Portions of Handel’s Messiah played and several took to the airwaves to prayerfully dedicate the station.
True to Maury’s dream, the new KJLY-FM tower supported the lighted message, “Jesus is Lord.” The initial cost of the lettering was $30,000 and came as a result of monies donated from a soybean harvest. Many driving westward on 1-90 have seen the signage over the years, and contacted the ministry stating that it has spoken to them. Over the decades, KJLY’s illuminated “Jesus is Lord” message has become a landmark that many look for at night. Its broadcast signal has also pointed the way to Jesus as the light of nations and the hope for the lost through worship and the Word.
Four decades have passed since the KJLY-FM came into being. Since that time, the ministry has grown to be a network of eight stations and fourteen translators serving Northern Iowa and South-Central Minnesota. A recent move brought the offices and studios from its original location in Blue Earth to Madison Avenue in Mankato. Located in the former Lighthouse Christian Bookstore, the move has increased Kinship Radio’s visibility and made the ministry more accessible to area ministries. The transition also afforded the opportunity to upgrade the radio and computer technology creating work efficiencies for the staff.
Prayer and a growth mindset have always been a part of Kinship Radio’s DNA. We are committed to providing Christ-centered programming through our terrestrial stations and through our digital platforms while expanding our reach as the Lord allows, for as long as the Lord allows!