The story begins 25 years ago, when Henry “Hank” and Clara Voss came from Villa Park with their dream to start a Christian radio station in this area.
Henry had worked as chief engineer for WMBI-the Moody Bible Institute, from which he retired after 40 years. Thus, God had prepared him well for the realization of their dream, which resulted in WJLY Christian radio station in Ramsey.
Clara, as a sweet and faithful Christian mother and wife, was also Henry’s helper and a prayerful supporter of their dream.
Debbie, their daughter, and her husband, Dick Wheeler, and their children were soon a part of that dream, which had become the whole family’s goal – a way to reach people in their homes with God’s love, His Word, inspirational testimonies and uplifting Christian music.
The dream was named WJLY. When they were deciding on call letters for the station, the children suggested WJLY – the JLY stands for Jesus Loves You, a message in itself.
Henry was president and Dick served as general manager, a title he still holds.
On the Air
The dream was launched and blessed, and the family embarked on a journey that has lasted 25 years … and is still growing.
Their work for the Lord finished on earth, Henry and Clara, have both passed on, but their dream and legacy remains, and is growing stronger and more powerful as the broadcasts reach more towns, more people, and thus, more souls.
Dick and Debbie and children – Nathanael and Grace, Anna, Caleb and Elizabeth, Aubrie and Christyanne – continue on.
This year’s Annual Sharathon …
… is in celebration of WJLY’s 25th year of broadcasting God’s word. The Wheeler family invites all their listeners to come and share in their special anniversary celebration Sept. 24-26. The station will be on the air from 6:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Wayne Shepherd and Steve Hiller will host Sharathon. They are both well-known voices heard on Moody Broadcasting and Christian broadcasting.
An open house is Saturday, Sept. 26, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. It includes two free concerts and a free lunch of hot dogs, chili/soup and cookies for free or donations at 11:45.
Performing in concert are FourGiven at noon and The Wanda Mountain Boys at 1:30 p.m.
The open house also includes a craft fair with more than 18 crafters and demonstrators; kids’ activities, including a bounce house and face-painting; hay rides through the woods; cider; and free photos with a fall backdrop.
‘Come Join Us’
Dick Wheeler said in their recent newsletter, “It gives us great joy to let you know that within days of this newsletter going to press, we will have all five translators on the air.
“This is a huge dream come true as we carry Christian talk radio to five towns that circle the WJLY main coverage area. Our rental needs are starting to be covered by those listening in these areas.”
“The journey was longer than we thought, which is almost always the case”, he said. “We hope for the best and we have to work through turns in the road.”
In building these translators, they dealt with contracts, tower builders, city governments, equipment orders of the oddest kind, concrete trucks, construction permits, and so much, much more.
The Sharathon is an excellent opportunity to share blessings with WJLY, to help with operating expenses. The rental for four locations is about $1,900 a month, with one tower rent-free.
They are receiving about $400 a month now and are needing some listeners to help support this need until each listening area supports their own project … and have a free lunch, music and a fun time while offering support.