New studios will reach 250,000 people across the surrounding Caribbean islands.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church’s North Caribbean Conference (NCC), which oversees a cluster of islands in the British and United States Virgin Islands, recently announced the purchase of a radio station thanks to a partnership with Adventist World Radio.
As the new owner of WGOD 97.9 FM, the church will launch an enhanced radio ministry soon, church leaders said.
“This acquisition could not have come at a more opportune time,” Desmond James, NCC president, said. “The church in the North Caribbean Conference is remodeling its media ministry to be more diverse, more inclusive, and more relevant as we give urgency to the proclamation of our message and the powerful fulfillment of our mission. It is a tremendous achievement for the church, and we are doing all we can, moving forward with the guidance of God.”
WGOD-FM, the radio station licensed in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, was owned by the Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN) and Reynold Charles, a Seventh-day Adventist church member on the island. It features a mix of teaching programs and Christian music. The station will be heard on the airwaves and via the internet, church leaders said. According to Royston Philbert, NCC communication director, the radio station will continue to serve a population of approximately 250,000, including some 16,000 church members.
Part of the studio at the WGOD radio station in St. Thomas, recently purchased by the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s North Caribbean Conference. [Photo: Royston Philbert, Northern Caribbean Conference]
Desmond F. James (right), president of the Adventist Church’s North Caribbean Conference, meets with Sam Gregory (center), resource engineer for Adventist World Radio, and Reynold Charles (left) in the recording studio of WGOD, discussing the acquisition of the station on December 13, 2019. [Photo: Royston Philbert, Northern Caribbean Conference]
The plan is for the station to offer local programs 24 hours a day to the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius, Saba, and Anguilla islands, he said. “We believe this is God’s time for His church to proclaim His Word through this radio station,” Philbert said. “The ministry plans to offer programs on the gospel, health, family and youth issues.”
The acquisition has been in the works since 2019, when Adventist World Radio officials traveled to St. Croix and St. Thomas for assessments and final discussions on the venture, Philbert explained. “AWR leaders assured North Caribbean Conference leaders of their support of strengthening the radio ministry in spreading the gospel,” he added.
The radio ministry, which is positioned as one of NCC’s strategic initiatives, is expected to support the growing evangelism across the territory, Wilmoth James, NCC executive secretary and chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, said. “This is a journey we are taking by faith, and we believe that the members will support the idea and contribute to the project. I am excited about the church continuing from where Brother Charles started years ago and, today, God is opening the opportunity for the Seventh-day Adventist Church to continue the legacy. The church is indispensable in the life of many people here in the territory.”
Additional studio equipment has been acquired in preparation for the transition, and the antenna will be refurbished to maximize the reach of the station, Philbert said. Improvements are expected to begin on the existing building, and personnel will be sourced in the coming months.
“It’s all about proclaiming Jesus’ last message of salvation,” Philbert said.
The NCC oversees a church membership of more than 16,000 throughout 36 churches and congregations in Anguilla, British Virgin Islands (including Anegada, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, and Virgin Gorda), United States Virgin Islands (St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas), and the islands of Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten. The conference operates five primary and three secondary schools.