COLUMBIA — How often do you surf for new stations on your radio? If you rely on presets alone, you're probably missing KLJE/107.9 FM, which broadcasts from downtown Columbia.
KLJE, which stands for Kingdom of Lord Jesus Expansion, is owned and operated by the Columbia Chinese Christian Church. Right now, music, sermons and news are broadcast in Chinese only, but the church's pastor, Billy Ko, wants to broaden the listening audience.
“Our vision is to make it a community radio station,” Ko said. “We are open to any Christian who would want to produce Bible-related material.”
He and others involved hope to eventually broadcast programs for other minorities in the area, such as Spanish, Korean and Vietnamese-speaking people. They also hope to broadcast in English.
While most of the material is recorded by Chinese Christians in Columbia, the news on the station comes from Voice of America, an organization funded by the U.S. government that issues news in dozens of languages.
The church started the radio station “to reach people with Christ,” Ko said.
The station broadcasts through an antenna mounted atop the Christian Campus House, across South College Avenue from the Physics building. The church chose the location because the majority of the city's Chinese population lives close to campus, Ko said. Because it is a low-power station, it would not reach as many Chinese if it were broadcast from the church’s South Rock Quarry Road location.
The church also houses a computer and other electronic broadcast equipment in the basement of the campus house. Technology allows the broadcasting process to be easy and cost-effective, Ko said.
He and others can record church worship services, sermons, Bible studies and choir performances with a hand-held recorder, download the file at home and then e-mail it to the computer at the campus house for broadcast.
Although much of the time no one is present while the equipment runs, Ko checks it about once a week. The majority of the cost of operations is the $300 a month, spent on average for repair and replacement of the electronics, he said.
The church is searching for ways to increase the reception area, such as moving the antenna to a tower or taller building. They hope to eventually increase their range to three to five miles.