Sonoma County Christian Rock Radio will end its music programming on June 1

After more than a decade of being on the air in Sonoma County, Christian Rock’s nonprofit radio station Broken FM will be going for good on June 1.

The station, which broadcasts music over FM airwaves at Santa Rosa 103.1, Calistoga 91.5, Ukiah 101.3 and Hopland at 88.7, was recently sold to KFAITH, which will begin broadcasting a comprehensive Christian radio format featuring local and national programming.

According to Broken FM founder Keith Leech, the decision to pull the plug on the radio station was a long time coming as his nonprofit, One Ministries, expanded into television with KQSL TV station, which broadcasts Christian programming in Sonoma County. and throughout the Gulf region.

“I didn’t want to break it up,” Leech said of the radio station. “But, this should have happened a long time ago, we’ve been in maintenance mode for several years.”

Broken FM’s volunteer staff included technicians and DJs Chris Conner, Tim Hopkins and Dustin Moore, who all helped the station take off in 2009, and who have continued to be involved with the station to varying degrees over the years.

“I loved every bit about Broken FM personally, had so much fun and was grateful to have the opportunity, and it was hard to leave that behind,” said Conner, who moved to Michigan in 2018. “It’s like losing a friend, I’m definitely sad that it won’t be on the air anymore.”

According to Conner, the station reached both local and global audiences through online broadcasts. In addition to around-the-clock music programming, Broken FM has interviewed some of the biggest Christian rock stars such as Switchfoot and KORN guitarist Brian “Head” Welch, often telecasting from live events.

“We had a massive community of people,” Conner said.

Educated at New Mexico State University, he spent two years as a consultant on FCC licensing acquisitions before moving to Sonoma County in 2000, working full time at Keysight Technologies in Santa Rosa.

Some free consulting work he did for a church in Bethel, Alaska, led to his application for three FCC permits at the Juneau market. “I applied for whatever I could get,” Leech said.

He eventually proposed trading Juneau permits for Rocklin-based K-LOVE’s Hopland station, the largest contemporary Christian music station in the country.

With that Hopland station, Leitch embarked on a personal mission to spread Christian values ​​to a young audience through rock music, promoting the signal to Sonoma County through a series of FM interpreters who rebroadcast the Hopland signal throughout the North Bay area.

Programming the music via a computer from his bedroom closet in Santa Rosa at first, Leach moved the station to the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, then called Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, in Santa Rosa, where the station broadcast for two years in a room rented by Santa Rosa Christian School. . Since then, the radio station has been stationed in an office building on Professional Drive in Santa Rosa.

Nine years ago, Leach transitioned to television. He bought a full-power television station licensed to Fort Bragg in 2018, called KQSL, which currently broadcasts from Sutro Tower in San Francisco and Mount Sonoma and is available via cable in northern Sonoma County from Windsor to Cloverdale, Mendocino County, Lake County, San Francisco and all over Northern California from Redding to San Jose.

KQSL broadcasts local church services to Promise Center Church in Santa Rosa on Saturdays at 4 p.m., and Sundays at 12:30 a.m. and 5 a.m.

“TV has been rewarding to grow,” Leech said. “We are reaching a large audience across the Gulf region.”

Leach says that while Broken FM has struggled to obtain funding and donors during its more than ten-year run, KQSL generated nearly $1 million in revenue last year.

Leitch adds that the decline in rock radio is a national trend for both secular and non-secular rock. “Interest in rock, unlike classic rock, has declined,” Leech said.

He also says that young people are adopting other technologies, not listening to the radio anymore.

“With Broken FM, we’ve been trying to reach young people,” Leitch said. “Our service has now flipped, as we now reach an audience of over 55 years old through Christian TV.”

Broken FM’s departure leaves K-LOVE and Air1 as the last two Christian music radio stations to serve Sonoma County. K-Love broadcasts on 91.9 FM and Air1 on 106.3 FM.

One Ministries will remain on the radio broadcast. “We received a new building permit for FM on 91.1 for Glenhaven Station in Lake County this year,” said Leach. It is not yet clear what the station will broadcast.

For more information, visit kqsl.org.

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