Air1 Worship enters 2019 with new sound, renewed focus

ELKINS – Air1 network, heard locally on WCDE 89.9 FM, entered 2019 with a new sound and new energy driven by its listeners. After 20-plus years of bringing contemporary Christian hits to its more than 4 million listeners, Air1 fine-tuned its playlist with a focus on worship music, delivering on the wishes of those who tune in to stations from coast to coast.

“During the past year, we’ve talked to the most important people we know, our listeners. We asked them what aspects of the station resonate with them and what was missing,” explained Randy Chase, vice president of radio at Air1. “The result is a high-concept station where every hour of music is custom mixed, with an emphasis on worship.”

The local 260-watt station broadcasts from the Davis & Elkins College campus as a gift to the community from the College, Educational Media Foundation and two generous local benefactors. The new Air1, Worship Now debuted Jan. 1 with 10,000 songs in a row, commercial free.

“To kind of capsulize what is happening here is that in addition to the Christian hit music that we have always played, we are adding in the very popular contemporary worship music that is being sung in many church services,” said Elkins Air1 General Manager Dick McGraw, a long-time leader in West Virginia broadcasting. “This is very popular and familiar to most church-goers.”

While the new playlist features current, familiar artists such as Jeremy Camp, Tauren Wells and NeedtoBreathe, the majority of the new line-up focuses on songs that have received little-to-no airplay, including Hillsong, Elevation Worship, Vertical Worship and more.

“The new Air1 has a one-of-a-kind design,” added Mandy Young, program director. “While supporting multiple contemporary Christian music styles, we heard what our listeners want. We deliver music variety with a focus on contemporary worship.”

The station features the following line-up: “Dan and Michelle in the Morning,” the husband-and-wife duo who joined the station in December 2018 from KYMX (Mix 96) in Sacramento, California; middays with 10-year veteran Mandy; afternoons with Mike Shaeffer, a voiceover actor who joins the station after stints at Bell Media radio and CTV television in Canada, and Lauren Lee; and nights with Ashton.

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